Pronghorn Running 50+ MPH (while I’m driving 25 and taking the shot)

This Pronghorn decided to show me what speed really was.

I spent part of yesterday morning looking for a Golden Eagle I’d seen on prey the day before in a particularly remote area of Montana’s Centennial Valley. As I was driving a rutted dirt road I noticed two Pronghorn grazing to my left but I didn’t pay them much attention and passed them by.

The next thing I knew they were blazing past me with a truly impressive demonstration of their well-known and incredible speed.

 

pronghorn 9332 ron dudley

1/4000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc

Their stretched out running leaps were so damned impressive that I instinctively reached for my lens and aimed it at one of them, knowing full well that my chances of success while driving the rutted dirt road at 25 mph (yes, I looked at my speedometer) and them running so fast were virtually nil. I was only able to get off two shots.

This is the Pronghorn in the lead, the second animal is out of frame to the left. When I got to my campsite this evening and looked at the images on my laptop I could hardly believe that this one was nearly tack sharp. I was very lucky to have such a high shutter speed because I sure didn’t have time to check my camera settings before I took the shots.

Pronghorn are a bit rough looking this time of year as they lose their winter coats but I loved getting this shot under these conditions and I enjoy the stretched out pose.

Ron

Note: I’ve had Pronghorn “race” me before, several times. I’m not sure of their motivation but they do seem to enjoy doing it.

21 comments to Pronghorn Running 50+ MPH (while I’m driving 25 and taking the shot)

  • Nicole Haller-Wilson

    Fantastic!

  • Janice Kelber

    Ron I love the shot, nice job. I’m going to google Pronghorn as I know nothing about them. It’s amazing you were able to capture the photo. How can you drive, point, and shoot. That had to be a hoot. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pam Skaar

    Isn’t this animal a doe or whatever you call the females?

  • Wow. What a beautiful, beautiful sight to see. And yay for your photographer’s instincts.

  • April Olson

    Nice shot, lucky too.

  • Marvin Miller

    I am looking forward to some photos of Golden Eagles. My brother told me an amazing golden eagle story that I would like to see you capture in photos some day. His friend was driving along a dirt road south of Dubois Id. when he saw a coyote chasing a jack rabbit, and the coyote was slowing gaining on the poor rabbit. Also, a golden eagle was flying just above the coyote. Just as the coyote was about to nab the rabbit, it gave a big jump into the air, and the eagle grabbed it in mid-air and few off. The coyote spun around several time looking for that rabbit but could never figure out where disappeared to.

  • Gary Dunning

    Your “Pronghorn Buck Putting on a Burst of Speed” = my discovery of your blog, Ron. Images and commentary you share invariably start the day on the right foot! Many thanks.

  • Patty Chadwick

    Love seeing this pronghorn stretched out running…just hope there’s no Devil’s wire between this beautiful critter and its destination…so many of them get hung up in the damned stuff and starve to death…the freedom of their movement, their grace and speed are so wonderful to see….they and sagebrush represent our western heritage to me…

  • Dennis Coleman

    The only thing that would have been more impressive is if you did it while galloping horseback. Amazing that it turned out to be such a great shot.

  • Trudy Brooks

    Very nice picture of a animal in motion. I would say a keeper.

  • Kathy Walters

    Excellent.

  • Susan Stone

    I’m glad you got such a good shot, and am also glad that I wasn’t riding with you… 😀 I’ve had a Pronghorn pose for my camera in Wyoming, but have never gotten to see them run.

  • Jo Ann Donnelly

    Well Ron – it’s NOT a bird photo BUT it is still AWESOME!! Reading the rest of the posts tells me this is something they enjoy doing – showing us humans how fast they are. I love that you caught this beauty with 3 of his 4 legs off the ground!! Just amazing to run at that speed and at the moment you captured this handsome Pronghorn, he carried all his body weight on that one leg. I love to go to Miami to watch the Thorobreds (sp?) race(since I’m a chicken better, I’m really there to watch the horses!!). So beautiful to watch them just fly over the ground like your Pronghorns were doing – they were both built to run like the wind!!

  • Beautiful shot, and he is keeping an eye on you!!

  • Kris Eberhard

    Molting, yes, but still you’ve captured their incredible grace–even in a still shot—thanks for this morning’s beauty !

  • Judy Gusick

    The DO race you for whatever reason – also been known to take a sharp turn alone or in mass as one group did in the Dakota’s a few years back – driver of the pick up truck took out about 15 of them! 🙁 When they start that I just stop until they make up their mind where they want to be! Good shot, Ron! 🙂

  • Laura Culley

    I’ve had them race me before in Wyoming. What a sight! But mine is just etched in my mind. Your capabilities of getting the shot, even picking up the camera, while driving is amazing! I’d have landed in the ditch 🙂
    Seems like everybody is molting now. LOL!

  • Elizabeth Sawin

    They race you because they can! Wonderful shot. Thank you.