The Pronghorn Antelope Incident

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22629 – 937

Here’s the haps:

Almost exactly seventeen years ago I wrote about a thing that happened when my wife was traveling all over the county taking care of people as a CNA and, since she doesn’t drive, I was her driver. I’ve only ever witnessed this one time, even though we’ve driven that road many times since then. In those days we only had a landline and a flip phone so I never got a picture or video of it. It was one of the coolest yet strangest things I’ve ever seen. I didn’t look to see if there is any video out there but it seems likely that there is. I’m just not able to look at the moment.

Because we were late (a different story) I had the opportunity to see something I had never seen before.

Out on the eastern plains of Colorado are herds of Pronghorn Antelope. We would see them grazing many mornings, usually in the fields where the cattle are not. They are small animals compared to deer, a very large buck might weigh one hundred and twenty pounds, and they have a strange gait when they run. It is almost as though they hop in a zigzag pattern back and forth, but very, very fast. They can reach speeds of up to 60 mph. A cheetah can go a little over that but a pronghorn can maintain their speed longer. Their eyes are set high on their head and if you looked through them it would be like looking through 8 power binoculars.

In Wisconsin where I grew up, there are Whitetail deer which I would say are probably two to three times larger. It is spectacular on a frosty morning to see a white-tail buck running across the field at a high rate of speed leaping effortlessly over any obstacle. There is no fence high enough to slow him down.

Pronghorn Antelope don’t leap. They could, they just don’t. We saw a herd crossing Squirrel Creek road one evening, around 5:00 or 5:30. There must have been 40 or 50 of them and I slowed the car down and stopped so as not to make them want to stop crossing. It was one of the strangest things I ever saw. Not one of them jumped over the fence, they all crawled under! Someone had told me about this, but I had never seen it. It looked like a river of brown and white flowing under the fence! I stopped completely so as not to spook them and just watched. It was so strange, because, as I said, I am used to deer. The idea of jumping did not even seem to occur to them any more than you would expect a Whitetail to think about crawling under a fence. They looked like some sort of, I don’t know, maybe rodents or something the way they just wriggled under and kept going. They were moving very fast, however, and if I would have tried to come up to them they would have broken their line and scattered.

Remember The Good Book says, “Where were you when I made everything?”


  1. Is that an annual migration? I would love to witness that. When I watched animal planet or discovery channel, I saw wildebeests or caribou migration. They look so magnificent. There are strength, speed etc. like what you described. And even the noise sounds wonderful.

  2. They were probably skulking. Up to no good. Hooligans. Or a government secret you weren’t supposed to know about.

    …which may explain the visit you’re about to get for blogging about it…

  3. That would have been really interesting to see. Indiana is lousy with deer but there are no antelope here, so all you say about them is new to me. All I know about them comes from the old cowboy song “Home On The Range”. I’m guessing you heard no discouraging words?

    • That is a good one. They were crawling out of the fence on one side of the road, crossing and crawling under the fence under the other side.

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