BLM to Gather Silver King Horses After Thanksgiving

Helicopters will be used to remove 980 ‘excess’ wild horses from the Silver King HMA, beginning 11/26/18, according to a BLM news release issued today.  The roundup will be open to public observation.

Captured animals will be taken to the Indian Lakes off-range corrals in Fallon, NV, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and prepared for adoption.  Given that the system has been flooded with 12,000 wild horses and burros removed from western rangelands in 2018, most will end up in segregated long-term holding.  No family, no foals, no legacy.

The HMA covers 575,460 acres and has an AML of 128, for an aimed-at population density of 0.22 horses per thousand acres, almost nothing.  The post-gather population will be 244 horses, according to the announcement.  The HMA is in eastern Nevada.

Silver_King_HMA_Map-1

The stated reason for the gather is overpopulation.  The real reason may forage losses.

This map, which appears at the BLM page for livestock grazing in Nevada, indicates the HMA is subject to several grazing allotments.

Silver_King_Allotment_Map-2

The Eagle HMA, immediately east of Silver King, was gathered in September.  This roundup will finish the job and clear the way for more livestock in 2019?

Anything for the public-lands ranchers.™

Forest Service Ends Devil’s Garden Roundup

Helicopters were grounded on 11/08/18, with 932 wild horses shipped from the Devil’s Garden Plateau WHT.  Refer to this USFS news release.  Gather stats were not provided:

  • Number of horses removed from the range
  • Number of horses returned to the range
  • Number of horses injured or killed in the traps
  • Number of horses euthanized and reasons therefor
  • Number of livestock harmed by the operation

Approximately 250 horses will be offered for adoption this weekend, according to a story posted yesterday by the Herald and News of Klamath Falls, OR.  They have probably been hand-picked for the event.

An advocacy group argued that the adoption should be cancelled due to an outbreak of pigeon fever that could spread to domestic horses.

Another 650 horses were taken to the BLM Litchfield Corrals where they will be placed into an adoption program that has been flooded by roughly 12,000 horses and burros already gathered from western rangelands in 2018.

A roundup of similar size is planned for 2019.

RELATED: CBS Covers Roundup at Devil’s Garden WHT.

Rangelands in Southeast Oregon

This map, sourced from the WHB maps page, shows Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas in southeast Oregon.  The HMAs, which are managed for wild horse and burros, have blue borders.  The HAs, which may or may not contain HMAs, have red borders.

Jackies Butte HA includes Jackies Butte HMA plus some additional land to the north that is not managed for WHB.  The Warm Springs HA has the same boundaries as the HMA.  The Diamond Craters HA has no land managed for WHB, although horses and burros were found there when the WHB Act became law (that’s the definition of a HA).

SE_Oregon_HMAs-1

Herd Areas are not managed for horses and burros because they don’t have adequate resources, according to the BLM.  Go to 08:30 in this video.

This map, sourced from Data Basin, shows grazing allotments in the same area.  HMAs from the map above have been added in red.  Allotments are shaded green.

SE_Oregon_Allotments-1

Most of the land in this part of the state is subject to BLM grazing permits.  Same for the HMAs.  Some HMA boundaries coincide with allotment boundaries.  Which came first?

Note that lands outside the HMAs also fall within permitted grazing allotments—lands that can’t support horses and burros.  But they can support cattle and sheep?

Would the situation be any different in Nevada?  Utah?  Wyoming?

If the Wild Horse and Burro Program is not run by ranching interests for the benefit of ranching interests, what would be done differently it was?

RELATED: Population Densities on Western Rangelands.