Pronghorn in the Flint HillsContributors to this thread:
On the way to Emporia Kody saw about 30 Pronghorn. Does anybody know the herd strength currently in the Flint hills?
Been through there many times. Never saw a pronghorn.
They should certainly be "herded up" this time of year, at least out West they are. However, 30 would be 25 more than I've ever seen there, and I've driven that stretch 100's of times. I've seen a single or a pair several times but no "herd". Maybe MP will have some insight on this...or you could contact Matt Peek(KDWP), betting he'd have the most accurate data.
I can't ever remember seeing them there. Dale there is always a group straight north of Thelma's and west over by the original Blakeley farmstead.
I see them occasionally as I live in the area. I would say that there have been about that number for a number of years. They seem to increase a little and then go backwards. To my knowledge they are all North of the turnpike. The most I have ever seen was around 20 in one bunch.
I frequently see a small herd (10-15) where the red “X” is located northeast of Matfield Green and north of turnpike just before you go thru the double “S” curves east of that location. They will usually be up near the back of that north sloping pasture near skyline.
Numbers aren’t where they need to be in order to create a designated hunting unit.
Have seen them out there for years, but never that many at once
I used to see some occasionally south of the Bazaar cattle pens on I 35 when I would drive through on my way from Oklahoma back to Iowa. That was way back in the early ‘80s. I still drive down through that area a few times each year and haven’t seen a single speed goat in that area in probably the past 25 years. Sure looks like antelope country, though.
Population seems to hang 20-30. Jerrod got a good count on 33? ten or so years ago, one winter. The time I went on the aerial survey we counted more than 50, but it’s thought the pilot got off course and some were counted twice. Around 200 were released through the years. SCI paid for a lot of it. They released smaller numbers in the Smoky Hills and they didn’t last long. There used to be a few scattered small herds in the Red Hills. Think I saw 5-6 in the middle of Ted Turner’s ranch 8-9 years ago. They had two seasons back around 1990 on the herd north of Ashland. I heard most of them got wiped out in the huge fire in 2017. Jake and I got to watch a decent buck pushing a doe in the Flint Hills five years ago, in September.
Matte, I’ve seen that herd quite a few times. And last spring, I saw four just south of the Walnut Creek in an alfalfa field. Had never seen them south of the hiway before.
I commuted to KC and Emporia for ER work many times over the course of a few years and only saw 1 big buck. Back in the 80's, Dad saw one that wandered into west part of Greenwood County and hung out a while. If I go up in my sister's plane this spring I may wander over there to see. My buddy saw them just east of the Cattle Pens a few months ago and he also saw s huge bull elk crossing the turnpike the year before that
Been probably 5-6 years ago I saw around 20 east of Coldwater on hwy 160. They were laying and standing in the road ditch. Haven't been down there much since the big fire. So don't know how bad it hurt them. But as big and bad as the fire was, I can see it getting a lot of wildlife.
Antelope near Coldwater would be something really special to see. I just drove that road yesterday. I asked my friend who owns a ranch near there what he's seen in his 73 years on the Cimarron and all he mentioned was a few mule deer and cow elk that came through.
Don’t think the area around Coldwater burned. Anderson Creek was mostly Barber County. Starbuck mostly Clark County. Both burned quite a bit of Oklahoma.
I saw the herd around Ashland maybe 15 years ago on the big WIHA ranch there. I saw maybe 20 of them. Haven't been over there lately. We had a nice 275 bull elk on trail camera for a few days east of Coldwater this past deer season. Haven't seen any mulies in the area for a few years.
Mile marker 108 N bound today at 10:24 on our way up to the Big XII Championship game. Herd of about 10 or so.
Kscowboy....the red “X” from my post above marks approx. the exact spot you saw them! Bazaar Cattle Pens are at mile marker 111 which is a few miles NE of there near middle of the double “S” curve in my image above. Glad you saw them.
The cattle pens is the area they are most often seen. I have seen them on occasion as far North as the South side of the Cottonwood River. Several years ago a small group was in the area five miles west of Matfield Green. They have not been seen in that area for a few years. I doubt that there will ever be a season in the Flint Hills. They just do not seem to do well here. We have too many coyotes and some of the ranchers hate the as they are hard on fences.
TwoDogs, we’ve communicated in the past and know some of the same Chase County folks. You’re right, there are a few ranchers out there who have no problem trying to reduce the population, per my conversations with them. Sad deal, as I was really young and accompanied my dad to a Safari Club meeting at the Candle Club in Wichita that was on the relocation of that herd. There is no reason that herd hasn’t flourished. People can say coyotes but they’ve always been there. There used to be a letter from the 1800s in the courthouse and the author mentions the antelope. They were there before and I’d think they’d be over 100+ strong now, at the very least.
The Flint Hills has always been the eastern limit to the pronghorn’s natural range. When the workers were building the top of the courthouse in Cottonwood Falls, they noted they could see pronghorns. Introducing a few prey animals into an established population of predators is never an easy task, and often not successful.
It's a fact those ranchers have been part of their demise. They and their employees have been poaching them since their reintroduction. When I hunt NM or Colorado for antelope, it's not uncommon to see many coyotes everyday filtering through the antelope herds. I don't believe they are completely to blame for the failure of the Flint Hills herd
I do not know whether or not any of the ranchers have shot any of the antelope. I have never heard one say they did. I simply know they do not like them because they find a place to go under a fence and eventually the fence needs repaired.
I live in the middle of the area I see and spend many hours every year in the Flinthills west of Emporia either in a vehicle or my bike. The herd has never been supper strong but seems recently I see less and less. It as not uncommon to see small herds, but in the past two or three years I can't remember the last time I saw one. Always thought they would thrive in Flinthills based on some of the areas you see them in west of Kansas. There does some seem to be a lot more fences for them to navigate in this part of the country.
As I recall some said at the time that the higher rainfall here in the spring did not favor offspring.
The last animal of the original wild herd was killed by ranchers near Rosalia in the early 1900's. They put snow shoes on their horses and chased him down and shot him after an ice storm