BLM Plans Gather at Range Creek HMA

No start date was given for the bait-trapping operation, announced in a news release dated 06/28/18.  Approximately 100 horses will be removed from lands in and around the Range Creek HMA, northeast of Sunnyside, UT on Hwy 123.

The gather was prompted by letters from private landowners and the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

Range_Creek_HMA_Map-1

The HMA covers 83,410 acres and has a target population of 125 (upper end of AML), for a population density of 1.5 animals per thousand acres.

Pryor Mountains: Celebrating Fifty Years

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range and celebrations have already started, as explained in a story dated 06/28/18 in the Lovell Chronicle.

Friday, June 29th is Wild Horse Watcher Day at the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

Events associated with Lovell Mustang Days will continue through the weekend.

Lawsuit: BLM Can’t Remove Horses in Favor of Livestock

See this headline at E&E News dated 06/27/18.  No other details known at this time, more info as story develops.

UPDATE 1: Refer to this story in Courthouse News Service dated 06/28/18.  Includes link to complaint filed in U.S. District Court.  Also this news release from Western Watersheds Project dated 06/27/18.

UPDATE 2: Added map.  Affected area is Caliente HA Complex, consisting of Applewhite, Blue Nose Peak, Clover Creek, Clover Mountains, Delamar Mountains, Little Mountain, Meadow Valley Mountains, Miller Flat and Mormon Mountains Herd Areas.  Between I-15 and Hwy 93 in eastern Nevada.

Caliente_HA_Complex_Map-1

No AMLs for these areas, not managed for WHB due to inadequate resources.  But the horses are there.  Go figure.

Oregon HMA Stocking Rates

The chart below shows the stocking rate in animals per thousand acres as a function of land area for HMAs in Oregon.  Stocking rates are based on the upper values of the AMLs (mostly horses, a few burros and mules).

Three observations from the chart:

  • Most of the stocking rates are smaller than 2.5 animals per thousand acres
  • Stocking rates vary inversely with HMA size
  • Stocking rates are more-or-less constant for HMAs larger than 250,000 acres

The Cold Springs HMA has the largest stocking rate.

The largest HMA is Coyote Lake / Alvord Tule Springs, the smallest is Hog Creek.

The average stocking rate for the state is 0.97 animals per thousand acres (1031 acres per animal).

The Kiger and Riddle Mountain HMAs, which produce the popular dun-factor horses, have stocking rates of 2.3 and 2.0 animals per thousand acres, respectively.  The next gather of these animals will probably be in the third quarter of 2019.

OR-SR-HMA-1

Given that the HMAs are fairly close to each other in the southeastern corner of the state, if a smaller parcel can sustain two or more animals per thousand acres, why can’t the larger ones?

The Beaty’s Butte HMA, one of the largest in the state, has a population density of just 0.57 animals per thousand acres.  Could it be the government serfs who run cattle on public rangelands put pressure on the BLM to reduce the number of horses in the area?  The same ranchers who pushed for the Beaty’s Butte Wild Horse Training Facility?

Burn More

The BLM has asked for public comment on a proposed ten-year special recreation permit for Burning Man, held each year at the end of August in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno, NV, according to a news release dated 06/20/18.

Sponsors of the event have asked for an increase in the number of people attending the event from 70,000 to 100,000, enlargement of Black Rock City to 1250 acres and installation of more large-scale art pieces, among other things.

If you go to Google Maps and zoom in to the area near Gerlach, NV, just to the east of the horseshoe bend in Hwy 34, you’ll find the C-shaped grid where the festival occurs.

Burning_Man_Location-1

The dry lake bed is surrounded by mountainous areas inhabited by horses and burros of the Lava Beds HMA, Granite Range HMA and Calico Mountains HMA.

Although you may find a few horse-themed sculptures and vehicles in and around BRC, you probably won’t see any horses coming out of the hills to check out ‘Decadence in the Desert.’