SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish captured 135 pronghorns on a private ranch near Cimarron this week and relocated 40 to Santa Ana Pueblo and 66 to Bureau of Land Management property northwest of the Capitan Mountains near Roswell.
The operation allowed the department to remove excess pronghorns from the Express UU Bar Ranch near Cimarron to augment herds in other parts of the state. Twenty-five of the captured pronghorns were bucks released back onto the ranch.
The department uses a helicopter to herd pronghorns into a funnel-shaped, fenced area where staff on foot then drive them into an enclosed corral. Individual animals are caught by hand and processed for transport or release. Veterinarians oversee and assist department biologists during the effort.
At least a third of the pronghorns sent to the Capitans were equipped with radio collars, which will allow department biologists to track their survival. Significant habitat improvements have been made in the area to support more pronghorns, said Orrin Duvuvuei, the department’s deer and pronghorn biologist.
Pronghorns released at Santa Ana Pueblo are part of an ongoing effort between the department and the pueblo to re-establish pronghorns on historic rangeland along the Interstate-25 corridor between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. If the herd grows substantially, the pueblo tribal council may in the future consider granting a limited number of public hunting permits.