The American antelope that appear in Texas (Antilocapra americana and A. mexicana) are only two of the five subspecies of the pronghorn antelope that occur in North America. A mature buck of the Texas pronghorn stands about three feet tall at the shoulder and rarely exceeds 110 pounds. Adult females average about eighty-four pounds. The animals are generally tan. The bucks have a black patch at the corner of the jaw. All pronghorns have a white rump patch that is highly visible from a substantial distance. Both sexes have horns that they shed annually. They are the only hollow-horned ruminant in North America that sheds its horns every year. Before the European settlement of West Texas, antelope ranged over all of Texas west of the ninety-seventh meridian. At the beginning of the twentieth century they occurred as far north as the Wichita Falls area and as far east as Alice. They shared the same range as the buffalo, and numbers were estimated in the millions in the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle. Later, hunted for food and starved as the result of cattle overgrazing, populations were in danger of extinction. The first comprehensive survey of pronghorns, made in 1924, showed a population of only 2,407, with 692 occurring in the Trans-Pecos. At that time the hunting season was closed. The population subsequently improved, and controlled hunting was established in 1944. From 1977 to 1991, under managed conditions, the population averaged 18,500, 70 percent in the Trans-Pecos, 20 percent in the Panhandle, and 10 percent in the Lower Plains. With the dissemination of research findings regarding life history, range use, ecology, behavior, restocking, and proper harvest, the Texas pronghorn is thriving.
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Danny A. Swepston and Tommy L. Hailey, Texas Pronghorns (Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 1991).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 21, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 13, 2020