BLM Plans Another 100% Gather at Beatys Butte HMA

Helicopters would be used to gather all wild horses on Beatys Butte HMA, followed by the return of 100 studs and mares to the range, according to a news release issued yesterday by the Lakeview office.  Mares would be treated with a contraceptive (such as PZP).  Public comments must be received by 09/28/18.

The HMA is in southern Oregon on the Nevada border.  It contains 437,120 acres and will have a population density of 0.23 animals per thousand acres at the end of the process, almost nothing.

The announcement did not indicate if the goal was to have the area horse-free within ten years, but it sure sounds like it.  Also omitted from the remarks was the innovative Beatys Butte Wild Horse Training Facility.


A 100% gather was completed in 2015, the result of a new cooperative program between ranchers and the BLM.

The proposed gather marks the next phase of a long-term strategy developed by ranchers, wild horse advocates, environmental groups, elected officials, and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies, according to the announcement.

How many advocates want to see horses removed from western rangelands, families broken up, breeding patterns determined by government?  Who benefits from this arrangement?

The wild horse population on Beatys Butte was over 1000 in 2015.  Today it’s around 250.  The number of livestock in and around the HMA was not provided.

Common Causes, Special Causes

The trailcam photo below shows an underweight horse on the Virginia Range.  A WHB specialist might give it a BCS of 3.  A wild horse critic (ahem, cough-cough, hater) might argue the horses are overpopulated and need to be removed from the range.

Would that be a fair statement?

A ‘common cause’ belongs to the system and affects all horses in an area.  The illness affecting the Waipio Valley horses would be an example.  It will probably be attributed to common causes, something in their environment.  Ditto for the Sand Wash horses, who are threatened by fencing and drought.

A ‘special cause’ is outside the system and affects only individual herd members.  An example would be the horse recently removed from Big Summit WHT.

If you saw many horses with low body condition scores, you’d be thinking common causes, such as excess animals / not enough land / insufficient forage.

In this example you only see one such horse, so you’re looking for a special cause, like illness, injury or loss of teeth.

Two mistakes are possible: (1) attributing a problem to a special cause when it was produced by common causes and (2) attributing a problem to common causes when it was produced by a special cause.

Calling a horse ‘stupid’ because he wandered onto a road and was hit by a car is an example of Mistake #1.  Any of the horses in his band could have done that, because a new subdivision is chewing up their land and now they must find food elsewhere.

The critic above is wrong.  He has made Mistake #2.


BLM Ends Roundup at Nevada Wild Horse Range

Bait trapping ended 08/29/18, according to a news release issued today, with 801 horses removed from the Nevada Wild Horse Range, the largest HMA in Nevada.

Thirty one deaths were reported (3.9%) and the number of horses returned to the range was not stated.  Captured animals were taken to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, NV and the Ridgecrest Regional Corrals in Ridgecrest, CA.

Gather stats and daily reports can be found on this page.

RELATED: BLM Starts Emergency Gather at Nevada Wild Horse Range.

It’s ‘Go Along to Get Along’ at Little Bookcliffs WH Range

A report posted today at The Daily Sentinel, titled ‘Volunteers understand why horses have to go,’ explains how the so-called advocates at Friends of the Mustangs are working with the BLM to remove 60 of the 190 horses in the Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Range.

“Gathers involving the Little Book Cliffs herd have tended to be less controversial…

[BLM’s Jim] Dollerschell said he thinks one of the reasons there is less contention in the case of Little Book Cliffs gathers is because of the longtime partnership the BLM has had with the Friends of the Mustangs in managing the herd.”

Maybe those ‘Friends’ are drunk on PZP fumes.

At the Pryor Mountains, advocates took legal action to stop a planned roundup.

At Sand Wash Basin, advocates brought in water to help the horses cope with drought.

But at Little Bookcliffs, advocates help set the traps.

What the hell is wrong with these people?  Couldn’t they figure out a way to keep the horses on the range by bringing in food and water?  Drought is a temporary condition, why are they making permanent changes?

The author of the report, possibly aligned with ranching interests, couldn’t resist taking a shot at the horses:

“The pressure the horses are currently putting on their habitat is made evident as travelers leave it and cross into a livestock grazing area that’s still replete with grass.”

Yeah, we should get rid of the horses and replace them with cattle.  Go pound sand, dude.

RELATED: BLM Plans Roundup at Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Range.