Advocates Lying About Virginia Range Darting Program?

The story earlier this week by KLAS News said the advocates have applied over 2,000 doses in the past two years and that the herd size “right now is pretty stable,” suggesting that they’ve achieved achieve zero population growth.

Do those numbers make sense?  How many horses would they have to eliminate each year to bring the birth rate in line with death rate?

Before they got involved in 2019, approximately 3,000 wild horses roamed on 300,000 acres.

The stocking rate was ten wild horses per thousand acres, well above the target rate of one wild horse per thousand acres that the BLM says is sustainable.

Trailcam photos posted on these pages over the last few years show the horses were in good condition (go to the Index and scroll down to Virginia Range).

The bureaucrats, eager to erase this outlier, said the area should have no more than 600 wild horses and, ideally, just 300, in line with the rancher-friendly management plans of the HMAs.

The advocates, agreeing with the narrative and happy to advance the ranching agenda, offered to help.  Better to get rid of them with PZP than helicopters or bait.

The growth rate of a herd depends on the birth rate and death rate:

Growth rate = Birth rate – Death rate

To keep the herd size constant, the advocates shoot some of the mares with PZP darts, so the birth rate is roughly equal to the death rate.

To reduce the herd size, the advocates dart as many mares as possible, driving the birth rate to zero.

This is what the Salt River Wild Horse Darting Group has done, and based on trailcam evidence this year, appears to be what the Virginia Range darting team is doing: Only one foal was photographed this year, not seen in the months hence.

Both groups receive support from the Campaign Against America’s Wild Horses.

If a herd grows at a rate of 15% per year and the death rate is 5% per year, the birth rate must be 20% per year.  In a herd of 3,000, 600 foals would be born and 150 horses would die.

If a herd grows at a rate of 20% per year and the death rate is 5% per year, the birth rate must be 25% per year.  In a herd of 3,000, 750 foals would be born and 150 horses would die.

To keep the herd size stable, the advocates would have to prevent 450 births at a 15% growth rate and 600 births at a 20% growth rate.

This is equivalent to a roundup every year.

Virginia Range Darting Calcs 11-26-21

Over a two year period, 900 doses would be needed if the herd was growing at a rate of 15% per year and 1,200 doses would be required if the herd was growing at a rate of 20% per year.

The treatment is not 100% effective so the actual number of doses will be higher, but not over 2,000 as stated in the story.

How do you explain the discrepancy?  The advocates weren’t hired to maintain the herd size, they were charged with drastic reduction.

Western Horse Watchers believes the herd was on its way to filling its niche and the growth rate was closer to 15% per year, maybe less, and not 20% per year, the rate used by land managers to predict herd sizes.

So the advocates should have been able to achieve ZPG with around 1,000 doses.

Given that they’ve used at least twice that many, wild horse numbers are probably going down, but they won’t admit it.

Worse, the story said that a mare can no longer reproduce after five to seven years of treatments (five are sufficient) so their goal may actually be sterilization, but they’re not going to acknowledge that either.

RELATED: AWHC Compromised?

Creator of ‘Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies’ Dead at 71

He’s known for the 15 metal horses galloping across a ridge near Vantage, WA, among other things.  The sculpture was never completed due to lack of funds.

The horses were supposed to spill out out of a 25,000-pound, 36-foot-diameter steel basket, according to a report by The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, WA.

RELATED: Artist Returns to Unfinished Sculpture Thirty Years Later.

Conversation Starters for Your Thanksgiving Get-Together

Assertions are best.  Rock your opponents back on their heels.

  • The bureaucrats assign most of the resources in areas set aside for wild horses to privately owned livestock.
  • AMLs are small relative to the available resources.
  • To solve the problem, the advocates want to end wild horse reproduction, not permitted grazing.
  • The off-range corrals and long-term pastures could be emptied three to five times over if the resources were shifted back to the horses.
  • The government manages HMAs primarily for cattle and sheep, HAs almost exclusively for cattle and sheep.
  • The advocates lead you astray, take your money and help the public-lands ranchers.
  • The advocates would have you believe that drilling and mining are the greatest threats to wild horses (but can’t produce any figures for the number of animals displaced thereby).
  • Next to the federal government, nobody’s getting rid of more wild hoses than the advocates.
  • Whenever the advocates get involved, wild horse numbers go down.
  • The government insulates public-lands ranchers from the realities of a free market.
  • Public-lands ranching is government dependency and redistribution of wealth.
  • Livestock belong in feedlots, not wild horses.  Confine the ranchers to their base properties and expect them to pay market rates to feed their animals.
  • The forage assigned to livestock would support hundreds or thousands of additional wild horses in each HMA, making roundups and darting programs unnecessary.
  • Wild horses are never allowed to seek their level, never allowed to fill their niche, leading to elevated growth rates.
  • The forage assigned to livestock on public lands managed by the BLM would support one million wild horses, enough to empty all of the off-range corrals and long-term pastures twenty times over.
  • The wild horse and burro program has devolved into a pest control program, with benefits accruing to the public-lands ranchers.
  • The WHB Act no longer affords the protections sought by Velma.

If you want to help America’s wild horses, don’t focus on the horses.  The advocates focus on the horses.  Look upstream in the management process.  Change the policies and plans that put ranching interests far above those of the horses.

RELATED: Rift in Wild Horse World, Origin of AMLs?

Rock Springs Roundup Day 47

The incident began on October 7.  Gather stats through November 22:

  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 2,038, up from 1,843 on Day 44
  • Average daily take: 43.4
  • Capture goal: 4,400
  • Removal goal: 3,500
  • Returned: 1, no change from Day 44
  • Deaths: 8, up from 7 on Day 44
  • Shipped: 1,970, up from 1,701 on Day 44

Helicopters did not fly on Day 47.  No explanation was given.

A mare ran into the corrals on Day 46 and broke her neck.

The advocates will claim that this and other such losses can be prevented by ending reproduction—not permitted grazing—in areas set aside for wild horses.

Foals represented 19.9% of the horses captured.  Of the adults, 49.2% were male and 50.8% were female.

Body condition scores were not reported.

The death rate is 0.4%.

Gather activity continued at Salt Wells Creek.  Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

Rock Springs HMAs 10-13-21

Day 44 ended with 59 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 2,165 (across five HMAs)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 25,980 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 5,105
  • Forage liberated to date: 24,444 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 20,370 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 191,791 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMAs by livestock: 15,982 (32% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 18,147

RELATED: Rock Springs Roundup Day 44.

AWHC Compromised?

They, and their army of volunteers, steadfastly cling to their anti-horse agenda, under the tagline ‘Stay Wild.’

A source told Western Horse Watchers that the group was invited to sign the letter to Haaland seeking the removal of livestock from HMAs but declined.

They may want to “change the way the ship is run” (3:32) but the destination remains the same: Protect the policies and plans that assign most of the resources in areas set aside for wild horses and burros to privately owned cattle and sheep.

RELATED: Advocates Show Off Virginia Range Darting Program.

Advocates Show Off Virginia Range Darting Program

They’ve achieved zero population growth in two years, according to a story by KLAS News of Las Vegas, and are now letting the herd die off.

Darting begins when a mare is as young as 10 months old, boosters continue every 8 to 12 months, and then after five to seven years, the mare can no longer reproduce.

The program is sponsored by the Campaign Against America’s Wild Horses.

Progression of Injuries VR 07-30-21

Rift in Wild Horse World

The policy change by the Sierra Club marks a widening gap among those who are trying to protect wild horse and burros.

On one side are the sellouts and charlatans—those who signed the rancher-friendly ‘Path Forward‘ and those who give tacit approval through their darting programs, which includes most of the advocates.

On the other side are the originalists—those who reject the ranching agenda and believe that areas set aside for wild horses and burros should be managed principally for wild horses and burros, as specified in the original statute.

Pine Nut Advocates Help Ranchers Not Horses

The real estate agent and PZP darter who wrote the article about euthanizing foals in the current edition of Horse Tales also wrote the condescending article in last month’s edition about the dangers to wild horses posed by local residents.

The Pine Nut HA, not shown in the Western Watersheds map, extends well to the south of the HMA.  It’s drawn with a brown border on page 15 of the BLM map.  The area was identified for wild horses in 1971 but has since been zeroed out.  It has no AML.

The HA contains some private land, denoted by white.

Like the HMA, the HA intersects several grazing allotments, notably Buckeye, Sunrise and Pine Nut.  All three are in the Improve category according to the Allotment Master report (click on map to open in new tab).

Pine Nut Allotments 11-19-21

The author’s listings appear on the last page of this month’s edition of Horse Tales.

Some of the parcels have cattle fencing.  Others are surrounded by BLM land and have no legal access.  The description at the top says “Look for owner name Bently.”

Curiously, the permittee holding most of the active AUMs on the Buckeye Allotment is the Bently Family Limited Partnership.

Interesting.

RELATED: Well for Fish Springs Mustangs Needs 640 Acres?

How Many Wild Horses Should Be Allowed on Public Lands?

Depends on how you weigh the value of horses, cattle, wildlife, economic growth and ecological sustainability, according to a column in the Herald Journal of Logan, UT.

The government already knows what resources are available and typically assigns most of them to privately owned livestock, as in this example from the Warm Springs HMA.

Warm Springs AUM Summary-1

The 202 horses allowed by plan receive just 11% of the authorized forage, supporting an observation made earlier this week that livestock, not horses, are are the highly valued animals on western rangelands.

This is not a consequence of the original WHB Act but a result of changes wrought by FLPMA and PRIA, which promoted the interests of ranchers, not wild horses as suggested by the writer.

RELATED: Origin of AMLs?

Rock Springs Roundup Day 44

The incident began on October 7.  Gather stats through November 19:

  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 1,843, up from 1,631 on Day 42
  • Average daily take: 41.9
  • Capture goal: 4,400
  • Removal goal: 3,500
  • Returned: 1, no change from Day 42
  • Deaths: 7, no change from Day 42
  • Shipped: 1,701, up from 1,410 on Day 42

The death rate in this roundup, described as cruel and inhumane by the advocates, is 0.4%.  If they are disappointed by any of this it’s that the government is getting rid of the horses, not them.

Foals represented 20.1% of the horses captured.  Of the adults, 48.4% were male and 51.6% were female.

Body condition scores were not reported.

Gather activity continued at Salt Wells Creek.  Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

Rock Springs HMAs 10-13-21

Day 44 ended with 134 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 2,165 (across five HMAs)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 25,980 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 5,105
  • Forage liberated to date: 22,104 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 18,420 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 191,791 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMAs by livestock: 15,982 (32% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 18,147

RELATED: Rock Springs Roundup Day 42.

Sierra Club Parts Ways with Public-Lands Ranchers?

A story by Tri-State Livestock News says the group now wants permitted grazing ended in areas set aside for wild horses.

That they had an alliance with the ranchers, or the appearance of one, casts a long shadow over the organization’s mission and intent.

In 1981, according to the report, the Sierra Club adopted a policy that referred to wild horses and burros as feral, to be eliminated from key wildlife habitat and carefully regulated to minimize conflict with wildlife, livestock and other range values.

But earlier this year, their Board of Directors adopted a new policy that likens wild horses and burros to wildlife, and calls for the elimination of livestock from herd management areas administered by the federal government.

The writer tries to downplay the presence of 3,000 domestic sheep in the Sand Wash Basin HMA two months after most of the horses were removed, noting that they were trailing to their winter range, but does not indicate if it was inside or outside the HMA.

The permittee has not been able use his authorized AUMs for over a decade because of overgrazing by wild horses.

The roundup likely fixed that, and the advocates are now working overtime to maintain the new status quo.

RELATED: Sand Wash Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Rock Springs Roundup Day 42

The incident began on October 7.  Gather stats through November 17:

  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Horses captured: 1,631, up from 1,254 on Day 39
  • Average daily take: 38.8
  • Capture goal: 4,400
  • Removal goal: 3,500
  • Returned: 1, no change from Day 39
  • Deaths: 7, no change from Day 39
  • Shipped: 1,410, up from 1,164 on Day 39

The death rate dropped to 0.4%.

Foals represented 20.4% of the horses captured.  Of the adults, 48.1% were male and 51.9% were female.

Body condition scores were not reported.

Gather activity continued at Salt Wells Creek.  Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

Rock Springs HMAs 10-13-21

Day 42 ended with 213 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 2,165 (across five HMAs)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 25,980 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 5,105
  • Forage liberated to date: 19,560 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 16,300 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 191,791 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMAs by livestock: 15,982 (32% of off-range holding)
  • True AML: 18,147

RELATED: Rock Springs Roundup Day 39.

FOA Seeks Overhaul of WHB Rules and Policies

The group submitted a rulemaking petition to new BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, according to a news release, asking for the impact of cattle and sheep to be included in rangeland assessments and to immediately reduce the number of those animals within HMAs when any management actions are planned because of rangeland deterioration, followed by a phaseout of all livestock as grazing permits expire.

If the BLM denies the petition, the group will likely take the agency to court.

Western Horse Watchers believes that scientific methods are used to assess resource availability and reliability but the apportionment of those resources is arbitrary and subject to influence by special interests.