Are more than 50 pronghorn now locked in Jackson Hole for the winter?

If 53 are now trapped in “The Hole,” how many will survive?

The Jackson Hole News and Guide has reported that 53 pronghorn antelope have been spotted on the National Elk Refuge well after the herd normally migrates out of cold and snowy Jackson Hole, over the Gros Ventre Mountains, and then down southward to the Pinedale area to winter on the edge of the Green River Desert.

Much of this is now a developed natural gas field, but the herd has grown nonetheless.

They have been doing this migration for thousands of years, and recently the herd has grown to a near record (about 400). However, when some of the pronghorn don’t understand or heed the changing season, they often do not survive in Jackson Hole even in average winters.

People like to see these fast running animals, but not see them starve or freeze to death, but that might happen to about 13% of the herd.

Recently the herd benefited greatly by the construction of a wildlife overpass over the busy highway near Pinedale. This overpass has almost eliminated the pronghorn and other animals that were hit near the chokepoint at Trapper’s Point at the edge of their wintering range. We have done several stories on this.






  1. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    Does anyone think these animals can survive on their own without human intervention?

    1. Sid Avatar

      this has happened a couple times before with more pronghorns and the majority survived but, there have been times when most didn’t make it.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Ida Lupine,

      Sid is right.

      In addition, so far the winter has been mild except for an early sub-zero December cold breakout.

      If this continues, I think they have a pretty good chance. As far as I know, pronghorn are never fed, but they are on the elk refuge (or at least they were). I don’t know if they will eat the alfalfa pellets they feed the elk there.

      1. Jeff Avatar

        As long as the valley floor stays relatively snow free (as it currently is) most will survive. Many of the south facing hillsides offer low snowpack with available browse. They will eat alfalfa in a field, I’m not sure if they will or have eaten the pellets before.

        1. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          I was wondering, here’s hoping they’ll do well. The less human interference wildlife gets, the better off they’ll be.

  2. WyoWolfFan Avatar

    If they eat the pellets they should be fine.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Perhaps, but pronghorn don’t do well in deep snow even with food, and will they eat the pellets? Do alfalfa pellets nourish pronghorn?

      I don’t know the answer to either.


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Ralph Maughan