Class: Mammalia | Order: Artiodactyla | Family: Antilocapridae | Genus: Antilocapra
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) are the sole representatives of the family Antilocapridae and only found ranging across western and central North America. Historically, pronghorn are thought to have been the most abundant big game animal in California, inhabiting most of the state except for coastal areas and higher mountain ranges. Three subspecies of pronghorn once occupied California including American pronghorn (A.a. americana), Peninsular pronghorn (A.a. peninsularis), and Sonoran pronghorn (A.a. sonoriensis). Pronghorn experienced a dramatic decline in both numbers and distribution with the onset of the 1849 gold rush, which resulted in excessive unregulated market hunting. Post-gold rush land use changes, primarily for agricultural and urban development purposes, further contributed to pronghorn declines, including the extirpation of the Peninsular and Sonoran subspecies. By 1923, few pronghorn remained outside of the northeastern sagebrush country. By the early 1940s, pronghorn numbers in northeastern California rebounded, benefitting from improved game law enforcement, decreased winter livestock grazing, and science-based management practices. Today, the majority of California’s pronghorn populations (~90-95%) occupy northeastern California.
Pronghorn Management Program
The Pronghorn Management Program's objectives are to maintain healthy herds, provide a variety of recreational activities and to minimize conflicts with humans. Regulated hunting has been an annual element of pronghorn management in northeastern California since 1964. Efforts by the Department to restore pronghorn into historical range have taken place several times. In the late 1940s, pronghorn were relocated from Lassen County to Mono County where a small population persists today. Additional efforts from 1982-1990 have also resulted in establishment of small populations in Glenn/Colusa, San Luis Obispo, and Kern counties.
Life history and range map of pronghorn in California can be viewed on CWHR.
Shapefiles and KML files of pronghorn hunt zones(opens in new tab) and range(opens in new tab) are also available for download.