1/10/2014 8:12:00 AM Relocation plan aims to help pronghorn
A helicopter pushes pronghorn toward temporary fencing and corrals during a January 2000 relocation effort on Fain Ranch. The media has not been allowed to view subsequent local captures.
Courier file photo
Pronghorn run from a helicopter during a January 2000 relocation effort on Fain Ranch.
Courier file photo
PRESCOTT VALLEY - An Arizona Game and Fish Department meeting about plans to capture and relocate local pronghorn drew about 60 citizens curious about how the animals are faring in both areas.
Officials hope to catch about 70 pronghorn from the Granite Dells Ranch just north of Highway 89A and Prescott on Jan. 27, then trailer them to two sites in southeast Arizona where pronghorn populations have dwindled so low that they could die out.
John Millican of the Arizona Antelope Foundation (AAF) said the proliferation of ranchettes and fences in the Elgin area - "much like what's happening here in Prescott" - took a toll on the pronghorn, which need large expanses to roam.
But over the last several years, with the help of a $230,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant, the AAF volunteers have worked with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and local landowners to improve the grasslands habitat around Elgin and the San Rafael Valley, he said. They modified fence, developed watering holes and burned back brush.
Game and Fish unsuccessfully tried to catch Prescott-area pronghorn in January 2012 to move them to the two southeast Arizona sites. An audience member asked what they'll do differently this time around.
The location of the temporary fencing that funnels antelope into a corral was likely the problem, said Erin Butler, game specialist with the Region 3 Game and Fish office in Kingman. They're going to try a different spot this year that was successful in 2006 and 2007.
"Maybe it was a godsend we didn't catch any two years ago," Millican said, because 35 more miles of fence has been modified to open up 22,000 more acres of grasslands since then.
The Sonoita/Elgin herd population has grown from about 28 to 65 over the last two years, he said. The San Rafael population is down to only 19 with just one aging buck.
Meanwhile, the pronghorn population in Game Management Unit 19A mostly north of Prescott has grown from about 580 in 2010 to 979 in 2013, Butler said.
"The populations have the potential to expand beyond the available habitat," Butler said. Reducing the population should actually increase fawn survival. "We think it's going to be good for the population," she concluded.
This is a good time to move the pronghorn because temperatures are cool, herds are together and females aren't too pregnant, officials said.
Grasslands in this region support 10-20 percent of the state's entire pronghorn population, but development and roads are squeezing them out, officials said.
"I hate to see our antelope disappear from here," one PV resident said. "They're a beautiful animal."
Jim McCasland, retired Prescott Parks and Rec director, noted that development killed off the entire Prescott Lakes herd in Prescott.
"They are gone...and you're going to have the same situation over in the herd on Glassford Hill," McCasland said. "If you live in Prescott Valley, you took antelope habitat away."
Another audience member noted that the Glassford Heights subdivision is planning another 3,587 homes on 1,245 acres of pronghorn habitat on the west side of Glassford Hill.
Those landowners have agreed to let Game and Fish move pronghorn before development starts, local Game and Fish Wildlife Manager Virginia Gouldsbury said.
A solar panel array in Chino Valley took away 300 acres of pronghorn fawning habitat, an audience member remarked.
"In the long term, you're looking at antelope being gone between here and Chino Valley," McCasland said. "You can love them to death, but we need to do things to try to save them."
Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Prescott Valley Antelopes
I am really sadden that every time I hear about the communities keep building more and more homes, departments and they seem dont care about that we have to balance it out for the wildlife. I moved here in 1982 and I remembered always seen alot of antelopes running beautifully across the Prescott Valley land and parts quad city area. I do not want them to go because they have been here before us. We should respect them by creating open land just for them but no people dont want that for they want them out because they want to keep building more and it saddens me that they cant see the beauty of those antelopes in the spring here. My daughter loves to see them and I hate to have to tell her sorry baby they moved them away from here so we wont see them anymore. To say that to her is going to break her heart. I teach her about wildlife and that it is important to respect and leave them where they are in their habitat. Taking away all the beautiful hills around here is going to effect us too. What happened to the open land idea that no land can not be used for buildings or other things but to save for our favorite antelopes. Any ideas how to make things better... Moving them is not always the answer to the solutions.
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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It seem like every time antelope are moved they are traumatized and some die. There has to be a better way to get better results without endangering the animals so much.