Study: Antelope flourish in gas fields

Study: Antelope flourish in gas fields. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter.

The headline is contradicted by the very first paragraph of the story.  “JACKSON — Antelope do not appear to be unduly stressed so far on and around the Pinedale Anticline, but increased energy activity may change their use of the area, according to recent results of an ongoing study.”

“Unduly stressed so far” is not the same as “flourish.”

Nevertheless, this study raises hope that the gas developments might not wipe out the pronghorn in the area.  Snow depth and the presence of fences seem to be more important than gas development so far.

While most readers are probably aware of the impact of fences on pronghorn, it should be reiterated that pronghorn and fences do not mix. Pronghorn, though very swift, do not jump fences over 3 feet high. They try to crawl under them.  A relatively benign fence for pronghorn is a wire fence with no barbs on the bottom strand with that strand being at least 18 inches above the ground. Most of pronghorn killer fences are associated with sheep grazing, with coyote proof woven fences being the worst.

Additional info. Pronghorn Management Guide – 2006 (fences). Game and Fish Department of North Dakota. This has good illustrations.




  1. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf

    Hey Ralph,

    How about adding the email address to the editor of papers when articles like this, false, misleading, or otherwise erroneous are printed, so that those of us who desire to help right these wrongs, can do so.

    I’m sure a few letters to the editor complaining about misleading articles would put an end to the game these small-town papers play to sway public opinion.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The article said that the reporter could be reached at can be reached at (307) 734-0260 or at, but then she didn’t write the headline.

    You can comment directly on the story in the Casper Star Tribune. There is a box just below the story

  3. steve Avatar

    “It is funded by Ultra Resources and Shell Exploration & Production Co.” Sounds a lot like energy companies funding anti global warming research.

  4. Tony Avatar

    So, what you are saying is that a PhD level research scientist employed by a non-profit organization such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, who has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles on this subject, can’t be trusted because his funding was supplied by the oil companies that are seeking to reduce the impact of their drilling? You should think a little more about your allegations.

  5. steve Avatar

    When I see a positive report about an industry published that was funded by that industry I get a little suspicious. I don’t think that oil companies would necessarily want to publish something negative. Who knows if they found a severe impact on other species and chose to publish on the one species that was not severely impacted. I would love to read the original articles. I am sure the research groups were very capable and well experienced but like I said, the funding source sticks out like a sore thumb.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan