October 19/20, 2019
By Glen Dickens
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Contracts Branch conducted net-gunning pronghorn captures in game management unit’s 19A and 8 on October 19/20, 2019 led by Scott Sprague/Project Manager and Road Biologist. This was part of the ongoing connectivity work being conducted under the now “South of I-40 Pronghorn Project”. The AAF has been supporting this effort for the past 8 years by providing fence modification project camps and volunteers every August, as well as allocating $10K from the pronghorn Habitat Partnership account annually.
Assisting on the ground for both days was past president Bill Keebler, AAF Life Member Betty Dickens and myself. Volunteers were used to locate pronghorn and keep them in sight until the helicopter could arrive and conduct the net-gunning and radio collaring. Saturday was a hard day for us as we did not find a single pronghorn in the Putnam Flat zone of western unit 8. Sunday the 20th was a better day when we were assigned to Garland Prairie east of Williams; found a herd of 15 animals and the helicopter showed up in the afternoon and successfully caught and collared a buck and doe from the herd.
The collars permit daily monitoring and two full years of pronghorn movement data from summer range, where they fawn and breed to winter range and back again through 2022. The 2 key objectives of the collar data are to determine seasonal habitat use and to identify potential bottlenecks on their 20-30mile trek from summer to winter range and back again. A total of 20 pronghorn were collared over the 2 days and no reported animal injuries or mortalities occurred. This data directly affects where we will be modifying or removing fences at our upcoming August 8th fence project with the camp located again in beautiful Garland Prairie, we hope you can join us!