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Were there ever any antelope in the Antelope Valley?

Photograph courtesy flickr/drewavery

Lancaster and Palmdale were indeed where the deer and the antelope played. “When the settlers first came out here, it was teeming with antelope, elk, and deer,” says Laurie Solis, an archaeologist who’s on the staff at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. As late as 1883, cowboys counted 7,000 Antilocapra americana, but by the turn of the century, they were almost all gone, the victims of hunters, ranchers, and a brutal snowstorm in 1884. “Somebody always claims their father or their grandfather shot the last one in the 1950s,” says Solis. “It was probably a deer, but you don’t want to offend people.”