Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is It Male or Female?

More and more antelope are moving into town and the surrounding plains as the heat and winds suck all the moisture from the plants and ground. Soon the animals will be in everyone's yards munching on flower beds, gardens, and treasured bushes.
Like the whole west, we too are fighting fires that erupt on a reguler basis. Several right next to town like this one that my husband help to fight with our lone shovel from the corrals. We had just passed this spot by the road and had arrived at the pens to let the does out to be milked when my husband looked up and saw flames racing across the prairie, chase by the wind. The wind that almost always blows. A blessing as it tempers the heat but a curse as it creates a kiln baking the countryside along with my garden that now has to be watered every other day.

I stayed to milk since I could only observe yet I occasionally peeked outside our milking parlor to check on the guys progress for others had joined the battle before the town's volunteer fire department could rally.

On the high plains dessert, where we live, fire trucks are tucked inside barns here and there on ranches, everyone pitching in to keep things under control for towns are few and far between. With over an hour between fire departments and winds that commonly push forty miles and hour or more, a fire can cover a large area in a hurry.

 I knew of one personally where fire fighters were bouncing across the prairie at 60 miles an hour unsuccessfully trying to get ahead of the racing flames. Wind driven fires like that can't stick around long enough to properly burn fence post to the ground but hay stacks and houses, well, they are just too delicious to pass up.

 I feel for those in the western states whose homes are threatened or worse have lost theirs. I pray for their safety as it could  just as easily be us next.

But if you are one of those lucky ones who are on their way to visit our fine state, Wyoming, I want to give you a heads up. Though these Pronghorn Antelope are behind fences, they are not like cattle and being raised. They are not contained but will slip under fences and if they must, jump them. These unique animals roam wild across the prairie and our town.

So you will be really smart, this is a buck. Note the black cheek markings. There is usually a black strip down the forehead to the nose but how much is unique to each animal with the buck's strip being more dominate and darker than the doe's.

In May and June the bucks gather together in bands of approximately 12 males while the does are off
having their fawns in early June. Since the does stay far away from humans during this time, you don't see many fawns until late in the month, about now. While this doe ate, another doe was laying down with her twins and this doe's twins also. They do lots of babysitting for each other.

I've a picture of the doe and fawns but can't make it large enough in this blog so you can see them hiding amongst the grass. I'll keep trying to capture a photo of them when I go to the corrals morning and night so stay tuned.

This website will give you a basic run down about this unique animal.

As for that puffy white hair on her butt, well, it is raised in alarm signifying danger is near. The buck wasn't any further away than this doe when I snapped the picture but he is quite a bit older than  and I'd guess wiser  to the habits of humans. I'm no threat with my camera lens.  

Dairy goat owners, note that udder on her. LOL Sometimes a little does a lot.

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