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Rocky Mountain Pronghorn Forecast
Intermountain pronghorn populations respond quickly to favorable weather, the right amounts of moisture at the right times, and quality habitat. Check this annual preview to find out where you should hunt this year. (July 2006)
By Daniel D. Lamoreux

Mitch Lamoreux in 2005
Mitch Lamoreux's 2005 Wyoming pronghorn was his first ever. He should see more of the prairie speedsters this year.
Photo by Daniel D. Lamoreux.

On the whole, pronghorn populations throughout the Intermountain Region are stable to improving. A little water can do wonders where these critters are concerned!
Here's our forecast for this fall season.
"If you are fortunate enough to draw an Arizona permit, any unit has the potential for producing a trophy-class animal," said Brian Wakeling, big-game supervisor for Arizona Game and Fish. "We had good rainfalls for the last one to two years, but it was quite dry for several years prior to that. Many herds have begun to respond to favorable conditions."

Dedicated efforts on the ground have been added to this bit of precipitation, and that investment has paid dividends.

"There has been a great deal of habitat renovation by a consortium of ranchers, sportsmen's groups, land managers, and wildlife managers on the Anderson Mesa near Flagstaff, and this population is responding quite favorably," said Wakeling. "Arizona's pronghorn population is below our strategic objective, but statewide they have been improving for about two years."

When put on the spot and asked to gaze into his crystal ball, Wakeling was honest and straightforward.

"I dropped mine when they first issued it to me, so my crystal ball isn't nearly as clear as it once was," he said. "I am less impressed with the likelihood for good conditions during summer fawning periods if precipitation doesn't increase. Fires and competition for forage with other wild and domestic ungulates increases when there is little production. The real crystal-ball-gazers are the weather forecasters and they continue to predict bleak rainfall outlooks for the Southwestern deserts and grasslands. This isn't a favorable forecast for Arizona's pronghorn herds."

All of that aside, his original statement still holds true: Draw a permit, and your potential for tagging a trophy is good.

"Units north of the Mogollon Rim are traditionally good producers, as are units north of the Colorado Plateau," Wakeling explained. "The Prescott area remains robust biologically. Access and habitat fragmentation are increasingly an issue in that area, but it routinely produces good bucks."

Hunter success rates generally run better than 80 percent for general-season hunters, and archers routinely fill their tags at a rate in the mid-20s. There is no reason to believe this kind of quality experience will change for this season.

The Arizona Game and Fish Web site, at, contains regulations, applications, draw results, hunting-unit reports and other information valuable for planning a hunt. The main telephone number is (602) 942-3000.
Rocky Mountain Game & Fish




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