BLM Puts Crosshairs On Onaqui Mountain Horses

Helicopters, traps and contraceptives are needed to balance the wild horse population at Onaqui Mountain HMA with ‘other uses and values,’ according to a news release issued yesterday.

Sadly, they just can’t bring themselves around to admitting what those other uses are.

“Chronic wild horse overpopulation is damaging to the long-term health of wild horse herds, other wildlife and the land on which they all depend.”

An allotment map from 2011 suggests the HMA is subject to permitted livestock grazing.


Could it be that the horses are robbing too much forage from the public-lands ranchers?

Currently there are 586 horses on the 205,000 acre HMA, for a population density of 2.9 animals per thousand acres.  The herd is at 2.8X AML, with 376 ‘excess’ horses.

The agency that claims 2.9 horses per thousand acres is unsustainable allows 9.8 cow/calf pairs on public lands in the same state.

This is insane!  The land was set aside for wild horses.


The AML of 210 has nothing to do with the carrying capacity of the land.  It represents the forage loss the ranchers and their allies at the BLM are willing to tolerate.

Oddly enough, it usually works out to one animal per thousand acres.  Take the size of the HMA in acres and knock off the last three digits.  There’s your AML.

RELATED: Livestock Grazing in Utah, Population Densities on Western Rangelands.

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