Pronghorn populations in Texas have seen better days. Their distribution once ranged as far east as Interstate 35 but are now restricted to the Trans-Pecos, Panhandle, western Edwards Plateau, and southern Rolling Plains regions. The Trans-Pecos region alone supported 60-70% of the state’s pronghorn, with numbers reaching a high of 17,000 animals during the mid-1980s. With few exceptions, the pronghorn population in the Trans-Pecos has been in a steady decline since the 1980s and experienced a 30-year low of 3,745 animals in 2011.
Trends in pronghorn numbers in the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas.
Although pronghorn herds have been affected by drought, precipitation alone can not explain the continued decline. Following the drought of the 1990s, pronghorn populations showed initial recovery, but their populations continued to decline despite average to above-average rainfall and habitat conditions.
Realizing the urgency of the pronghorn decline, the Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group was formed comprised of area ranchers, biologists, hunting guides, veterinarians, and scientists. The Working Group has helped direct restoration and research priorities for pronghorn in the Trans-Pecos. The Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group has been an effective organization for leveraging money for conservation and research, communicating with landowners, and for devising and implementing strategies for the recovery of pronghorn.
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