How Many Wild Horses Can the Conant Creek HMA Support?

The advocates will never ask that question.  The rationale for their darting programs would fall to the ground.  They don’t want you asking either.

Table 2 of the Draft EA for resource enforcement actions in the North Lander Complex indicates the HMA intersects one grazing allotment.

The HMA boundary coincides roughly with the boundary of the Conant Creek Common Allotment, as shown in the Western Watersheds map.

Conant Creek HMA Map with Allotment 01-22-22

For a quick estimate, convert the forage assigned to livestock (AUMs) to wild horses and add the result to the AML, which is currently 100.

The three permittees receive 7,832 AUMs per year according to Table 2 and 7,987 AUMs per year according to the Allotment Master Report.  Let’s use the figure in the EA.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 7,832 ÷ 12 = 652 wild horses, for a True AML of 752.

The current population of 263 is well within this range, so there are no excess horses in the HMA and there is no need for a roundup or fertility control program.

The stocking rate at the new AML would be about 15 wild horses per thousand acres.

The 652 horses displaced from the HMA by privately owned livestock represent about 1.3% of the 50,000 animals in off-range holding.

The current AML corresponds to about 13% of the total authorized forage, neglecting wildlife, meaning the HMA is managed primarily for livestock.

RELATED: Preliminary EA for North Lander Complex Out for Public Review?

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