Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge was created in 1936 as a refuge for America’s Pronghorn; a species of ungulate that looks like antelope despite the fact that it is not closely related to this African mammal.
Pronghorn are one of the world’s fastest mammals, and scientific thought is now that the Cheetah evolved here in the America’s, chasing Pronghorn. They are a beautiful animal that has unfortunately seen its population drop dramatically from historical figures. Today, they have largely recovered but are facing renewed threats largely due to their poor ability at migrating past fences.
Hart Mountain is the summer range of a herd in the northern Great Basin. Hart Mountain is a ridge line rising abruptly out of the desert of the northern Great Basin here in Southeastern Oregon. It’s elevation leads to greater rainfall than the surrounding desert and thus better browse for the Pronghorn.
These conditions are also favorable to many other species of wildlife and you can hope to photograph many other species, as well as the Pronghorn. Hart Mountain is a remote location, so either camp at the refuge or be prepared for a long drive from your room in Lakeview. Other than the remote location, the other biggest obstacle to photographing there is the extreme weather. On one summer day I arrived at sunrise when the temperature was 24F and by 10:00am it was into the 90s.
Hart Mountain is a wonderful place to photograph, but be prepared.