The incident prompted the introduction of HR 6635, the helicopter ban, that would not affect the driver of wild horse removals, only the way they are carried out.
The road to improvement starts with Herd Management Area Plans, according to the writer.
“The effect of not having these plans is these outrageous and large helicopter roundups.”
The Draft EA for resource enforcement actions in the Bible Springs Complex indicates in Section 1.1 that HMAPs are not prerequisites to the BLM taking horses off the range.
On-site observation of wild horse roundups, discussed in the column, documents the problem but does not point to solutions.
Injuries, deaths and subsequent mistreatment of these animals, including the incident at Cañon City and the fallout from the adoption incentive program, are too late, too far downstream in the management process, yet they receive most of the attention.
Areas identified for wild horses are managed primarily—if not principally—for privately owned cattle and sheep.
The off-the-range philosophy of the wild horse and burro program follows naturally.
This explains why roundups, fertility control, sterilization, sex-ratio skewing, adoptions, training and warehousing of captured animals devour most of its budget.
It’s a pest control program, designed to minimize its impact on the grazing program.
Would HMAPs change any of that?
Of course not.
The EA suggests that HMAPs establish AMLs and objectives for managing the HMAs, consistent with pre-existing management plans and other decision documents, monitor conditions and evaluate whether management objectives are being met, and provide corrective actions if the goals are not being achieved.
Put simply, they ratify and reinforce the status quo!
What are the results where they’ve been applied?
- Paisley Desert HMA – Livestock receive 85% of authorized forage
- Frisco HMA – Livestock receive 80% of authorized forage
- Sulphur HMA – Livestock receive 77% of authorized forage
Livestock receive 88% of the authorized forage at the North Lander Complex, to be affirmed by an HMAP.
Livestock receive 89% of the authorized forage at the Warm Springs HMA in Oregon, to be locked in by an HMAP.
At Little Colorado HMA in Wyoming, livestock receive 97% of the authorized forage, awaiting ratification by an HMAP.
The writer’s thesis is off the mark. The folks at Wild Horse Education, widely regarded as experts in the field, should know that.
RELATED: HMAPs Are Not the Answer.