Saylor Creek HMA Tells Story of America’s Wild Horses

The WHB Act charges the BLM with “maintain(ing) a thriving ecological balance among wild horse populations, wildlife, livestock and vegetation to protect the range from the deterioration associated with overpopulation,” according to a story published this morning by the Idaho Statesman.

The article was developed around recent events at the Saylor Creek HMA.

The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture have primary responsibility for the WHB Act, now referred to as 16 USC 30, not the BLM.

Search the statute (CTRL+F) for keywords such as ‘balance’ or ‘livestock.’  See if you can find the statement above.

Try searching for ‘thriving ecological balance among wild horse populations, wildlife, livestock.’  It’s not in there.

The idea of managing HMAs and WHTs primarily for livestock comes from federal regulations, created by unelected bureaucrats, not the people’s representatives, presumably at the behest of the public-lands ranchers.

An estimated 95% of the authorized forage at Saylor Creek, neglecting wildlife, has been consigned to the ranchers.  They pay around five cents on the dollar for the resource, compared to the going rate on rented pastures.

Not much of an offset to the tens of millions of dollars the government spends each year to make life better for the ranchers, especially on land set aside for the horses.

As for the rest of the western U.S., the land can only support 27,000 wild horses and burros because most of the resources have been diverted to public-lands ranchers.

You only need to read a few of the ‘Short End of Stick’ reports to see that.

Velma understood the problem, but sadly, many of today’s ‘advocacy’ groups do not.

They want to shrink the herds by shooting the mares with contraceptive darts, instead of pushing back against the ranchers.

The ranchers like the idea of cutting herd sizes, but in a more timely fashion.

That’s where the ‘Path Forward’ comes in.

RELATED: IRRC Expands Propaganda.

Thriving Ecological Balance-3

Pinging the Eagle Wild Horses

Personnel from the United States Geological Survey will braid radio transmitters into the tails of wild horses captured during the 2021 Eagle roundup, according to NEPA project DOI-BLM-NV-L030-2021-0008-CX.

The project was approved as a categorical exclusion with no supporting documentation.

Presumably, the horses will be returned to their home range, along with those treated with contraceptives.  As of today, no such activity has been reported at the gather page.

Allotment Categories Explained

Refer to this undated BLM document, an attachment to IM2009-018, Process for Setting Priorities for Issuing Grazing Permits and Leases.

Improve (I) – Not achieving rangeland health standards

Maintain (M) – Achieving rangeland health standards

Custodial (C) – Public lands produce less than 10% of forage

Category I allotments have the highest priority for processing authorizations, managing uses and monitoring rangeland health, according to IM2009-018.

These categories appear in some of reports from RAS.

RELATED: Rangeland Conditions in Horse-Free Areas.

Any BLM Land in Virginia Range?

Most of it is private but there is some BLM land on the east side, which coincides with the Horse Spring HA, and on the west side, between Virginia City and Washoe Lake.

Map taken from an information packet provided in 2018 by the Nevada Department of Agriculture during the proposed transfer of ownership of the Virginia Range mustangs.

Vriginia Range Land Ownership Map Large 01-25-21

The Horse Spring HA can be found on page 21 of this BLM map.

RELATED: Where is the Virginia Range?

Eagle Roundup Day 19

The incident began on January 6.  Gather stats through January 24:

  • Horses captured: 612, up from 558 on Day 17
  • Goal: 1,131
  • Returned: 0
  • Deaths: 11, up from 9 on Day 17
  • Shipped: 502, up from 458 on Day 17

Two deaths were reported on Day 18, one acute and one chronic.

One foal has been caught to date.  Roughly 45% of captured adults are male and 55% are female.  Some of the mares are probably within a few weeks of foaling.  Some may have foaled in the off-range corrals.

Body condition scores are not known.

The HMA of origin was not reported.  Three HMAs are involved in the roundup.

The number of unaccounted-for animals is 99.

Some of the mares are to be treated with contraceptives and returned to the range but no such activity has been reported.

RELATED: Eagle Roundup Day 17.

Assessing Stocking Rates

The absence of grass in the corral below tells you the stocking rate is too high, from a sustainability viewpoint.  It holds two horses on approximately 5,000 square feet.

That’s two horses on 0.115 acre, equivalent to 17.4 horses per acre, which is the same as 17,400 horses per thousand acres.

Rick Gore has two horses on ten acres (equivalent to 200 horses per thousand acres) and his pastures look good.  Of course, that’s Texas, not Nevada.

The target stocking rate on western rangelands is 27,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 1.0 one wild horse per thousand acres, neglecting burros for simplicity.

The current stocking rate is 95,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 3.5 wild horses per thousand acres.

The stocking rate allowed by plan for privately owned cattle is usually several times than the rate for horses, even on land set aside for the horses.

Assessing Stocking Rates 01-24-21

Eagle Roundup Day 17

The incident began on January 6.  Gather stats through January 22:

  • Horses captured: 558, up from 509 on Day 15
  • Goal: 1,131
  • Returned: 0
  • Deaths: 9, up from 8 on Day 15
  • Shipped: 458, no change from Day 15

One death was reported on Day 16, the result of a pre-existing condition.

Only one foal has been caught to date.  Roughly 44% of captured adults are male and 56% are female.  Some of the mares are probably within a few weeks of foaling.

Body condition scores are not known.

The HMA of origin was not reported.  Three HMAs are involved in the roundup.

The number of unaccounted-for animals is 91.

Some of the mares are to be treated with contraceptives and returned to the range but no such activity has been reported.

RELATED: Eagle Roundup Day 15.

Quick Note on ‘Path Forward’

The plan is designed to achieve and maintain AMLs.  That is, it will enforce resource allocations and management priorities already on the books—27,000 wild horses and burros on 27 million acres.

Those numbers will go down, and continue to go down, if projects such as the Rock Springs RMP amendments are approved.

In 1971, when America’s wild horse and burro population had dwindled to 20,000, President Nixon referred to them as 99% extinct.

Today, the population is around 95,000.

Do you think that any of the executive orders signed recently by the one-horse pony initiated a review of those allocations and hit ‘pause’ on the roundups?  Do you think that he or his likely successor will do that in the future?

They’re already starting to paint him as unfit for office.

Success on the Salt River

The PZP zealots got rid of 80 or more wild horses last year, according to a story by The Fountain Hills Times.  Only 16 foals were born in 2020, down from over 100 in 2019.

Beat that ExxonMobil!

This is great news because the horses are not allowed to outgrow their boundaries.

What’s on the other side of the fence?

In typical fashion, they tell you the ‘vaccine’ is safe and does not change herd behavior, but they never supply any data to allow you to make an assessment for yourself.

  • Herd size
  • Stocking rate
  • Percentage of males and females
  • Percentage of foals
  • Average lifespan
  • Number of deaths
  • Changes year over year

Same thing for the Virginia Range.  The darting program is a success but we’re not going to give you any demographics.

Like Assateague Island, the full effect of the programs may not be revealed for another twenty years.

RELATED: Oil and Mining Companies Can’t Match Impact of PZP Zealots.