Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

New Mexico pronghorn buck is world record

HUNTING — A pronghorn killed by New Mexico trophy hunter Mike Gallo’s has been certified  this month by the Boone and Crockett Club as the new world record.

Gallo shot the animal, often called an antelope, in Socorro County, New Mexico, in September 2013. It's official score is 96 4/8 Boone and Crockett points

The buck surpassed the existing record — which was a tie of 95 points held for more than a decade ago by two pronghorns taken in Arizona — by 1 1/2 inches. That's a huge margin. In fact, it's the widest margin between any of B&C’s 3,400 entries for trophy pronghorn.

The left horn of the new record antelope measures 18 4/8 inches, and the right horn measures 18 3/8 inches. The prongs measure 7 inches on the right and 6 5/8 inches on the left.

“Records reflect success in big game conservation,” said Richard Hale, chairman of the Club’s Records of North American Big Game Committee, in a press release. “Remember, the pronghorn was once nearly lost, much like the bison, until sportsmen led an era of wildlife recovery. Now the species is flourishing. And the fact that such incredible specimens exist today says a lot about how far we have come, and how bright the future might be.”

Gallo isn't a stranger to the record books. In addition to the world record, he has killed the top three pronghorns in New Mexico.

New Mexico is second in pronghorn entries in Boone and Crockett records, with 627. Wyoming is first, with 1,154.

Photos: Bucks and bulls in prime condition this week

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Big-game headwear is in the spotlight this week as Montana outdoor photographer Jaimie Johnson

gives us a look at what's been developing all summer.  The photos (above) of a bull elk plus pronghorn, mule deer and whitetail bucks were snapped this week.

Most hunters know the difference, but in casual conversation it's not uncommon to hear reference to something like a bull elk with “horns” that raked the sky. An elk has antlers, but the colloquial term “horns” rolls easier off the tongue.

Nevertheless, even sportsmen have misperceptions about what it takes to grow antlers and why not every deer and elk that reaches maturity will sport massive headgear, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists.

Here are some basics.

Antlers grow on male members of the deer family, including deer, elk and moose. They fall off each year during winter and grow back during spring and summer.

Horns are permanent growing features on the heads of mountain goats, bighorn sheep and bison.

Exceptions include:

  • Male and female caribou, which are in the deer family, both have antlers.
  • Antelope have horns but they shed the outer covering or sheath each year.

Genetics and nutrition play major roles in horn growth. Generally, genetics determine the form of antlers while nutrition dictates their size. Some deer or elk simply lack the bloodlines to grow trophy-class racks of multiple points and width no matter what they're fed.

A study of white-tailed deer compared the offspring of yearling bucks with relatively large branched antlers versus yearlings with only spikes. Because both sets of deer were captive in the controlled experiment they were fed identical diets. The yearlings with larger antlers sired only 5 percent spikes, while the spike yearlings produced 44 percent spike antlered yearlings.

However, one study of mule deer has shown that in wet years, which mean increased availability of food, there are fewer spike bucks and larger number of yearlings with forked antlers.

Bottom line:  The highest scoring trophy big-game usually are produced from a combination of good genetics and nutrition.

Pronghorns give North America distinction

WILDLIFE — I go home to my hunting roots in Montana every year at this time, and the photo below (click continue reading) by Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson illustrates one of the reasons why.

A photo I made from my annual Montana hunting trip, above, illustrates several more reasons.

Read on for a few biological pointers on why the pronghorn (also called antelope) is so special.

Montana game takes hit; economy will feel pain of bad winter

HUNTING — Last winter took a serious toll on deer and pronghorns in parts of Eastern Montana. 

The ripple effect has translated into a sharp decline in sales of big-game tags in some areas.   The next hit will be to local economies that rely on the traditional spike in business hunters normally bring to small Montana towns.

Read the story from the Billings Gazette.