There have been increased sightings of pronghorn antelope in the Weyburn area, which has some curious as to the reasons why.

Leanne Heisler, Pronghorn Manager for the Province with the Ministry of Environment's Fish and Wildlife Branch, said that there are more pronghorn around because their populations are growing.

Heisler explained, "We do ground surveys every year for pronghorn, where we go out and drive the same routes every year. So far, over the last 10 years, there's been pretty strong increases in their population, across the whole range in Saskatchewan."

You do find most of them in southwestern Saskatchewan she said, but as their population grows, they will expand into new areas. "They used to occur all the way up to the forest fringe, they used to occur all across the agriculture zone, and they were sort of hunted out earlier on to lower numbers, and now they've come back to pretty decent numbers." 

The pronghorn are a sagebrush species, she shared, so their natural habitat is open grasslands with the sagebrush in it.

As well, Heisler explained the difference between pronghorn and deer.

"Pronghorn are usually a little bit shorter, they've got sort of barrel bodies, pretty round bodies, short little legs. The males have dark cheek spots, so if you're looking at them side-view, you'll be able to see those dark cheek spots, and the coloring is a little bit different." 

She added that they're white on the bottom and beigy on the top, but the coloration pattern is a little bit different than deer. The pronghorn have black horns instead of antlers, and they have two prongs on them, and they kind of curve upwards from the sides.

"Whereas white-tail and mule deer have antlers with several tines on them. That's pretty much how you tell them apart."

Heisler added to watch out for them on the road, especially when there's snowy conditions, as they tend to congregate on the roads, and their short legs have a hard time getting through the deep snow.

For any questions or public safety concerns about pronghorns, individuals can call the environment general inquiry line at 1-800-567-4224.