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Idaho Fish and Game

pronghorn buck antelope laying in snow medium shot November 2004

Update Feb. 14: Train collides with herd of pronghorns for the second time north of Hamer


Initial Story: On the morning of Feb. 3 the Fish and Game office in Idaho Falls received a report from railroad employees regarding a train collision with a herd of pronghorn north of Hamer. About 45 pronghorn were reported killed by the collision and another 19 were severely injured and had to be dispatched by F&G staff. There are no reports of any human injury.

Conservation Officers and other staff have responded to the scene to salvage any edible meat and dispatch the injured animals. Any edible meat will be distributed to needy families and food banks throughout the region.

“We have had these sad situations happen before during big snow events,” says Curtis Hendricks Wildlife Manager for the region. “These pronghorn are unable to cross the freeway fence as they migrate west and unfortunately they ended up on the tracks where the snow isn’t as deep.”

Animals unwilling to cross Interstate 15 in the area often congregate on the plowed railroad tracks that are in close proximity and parallel the freeway. Fish and Game identifies Interstate 15 as a likely impediment to east-west big game migration between traditional winter and summer ranges.

Pronghorn are built for speed and often choose to duck under fences rather than jumping over them.

Note: this story has been updated and numbers revised after initial reports. 

Update 02/14/20: On the morning of Feb. 14, Fish and Game discovered an additional 32 pronghorn had been struck by a train in a second incident north of Hamer. Staff were in the area on a continued search for a pronghorn that was reported to be hung up in a fence the evening prior when they made the discovery.
Five pronghorn had severe injuries and were dispatched by an officer. Another 27 appeared to have been killed instantaneously by the collision. All salvageable meat was donated to needy families around the region.
“We are committed to continue working with the railroad and others to mitigate the situation and find solutions going forward,” says James Brower spokesman for the department.