How Many Wild Horses Can the Buckhorn HMA Support?

With the news of Campito’s passing, let’s take a look at resource management in his home range, which may explain why he and others were removed therefrom.

The Western Watersheds map indicates the Buckhorn and Coppersmith HMAs lie within the Tuledad Allotment.

The allotment represents food taken from the horses and given to livestock.

It likely predates the HMAs and should have been zeroed out to satisfy the “managed principally” requirement of the original statute.

Tuledad Allotment Map 12-11-22

The Buckhorn HMA covers 76,590 total acres, including 67,415 public acres, and the 85 horses allowed by plan require 1,020 AUMs per year.

Forage availability in this parcel works out to 15.1 AUMs per year per thousand public acres, enough to support 1.3 wild horses per thousand public acres.

The Coppersmith HMA covers 73,422 total acres, including 60,246 public acres, and the 75 horses allowed by plan require 900 AUMs per year.

The land in that parcel offers 14.9 AUMs per year per thousand public acres, enough to support 1.2 wild horses per thousand public acres.

The HA/HMA Report gives the estimated populations and acreage breakdowns as of March 1.

The weighted average forage availability across the two HMAs (sum of AUMs divided by sum of acres) is 15.0 AUMs per year per thousand public acres.

The Allotment Master Report provides information on the missing resources and answers questions about the actual carrying capacity of the HMAs.

The allotment covers 177,847 total acres, including 143,307 public acres, with ten pastures and eleven authorizations.

The Authorization Use Report shows the on and off dates.

With 7,406 active AUMs per year, forage availability in Tuledad is 51.7 AUMs per year per thousand public acres, enough to support 4.3 wild horses per thousand public acres.

So, Buckhorn should be able to sustain 1.3 + 4.3 = 5.6 wild horses per thousand public acres, for a True AML of 5.6 × 67,415 ÷ 1,000 = 377, 4.4 times higher than the current AML.

The current AML is small relative to the available resources because the HMA is managed primarily for livestock.

Even in the mid-90s, Campito and his herd were likely cheated by the bureaucrats in favor of the ranchers, as their progeny are today, leading to removal from their lawful home, probably by helicopter.

If the advocates were involved, they’d almost certainly demand removal by pesticide, making them complicit in the destruction.

Although the herd is currently at 3.2X AML, the last roundup in Buckhorn was in December 2009, suggesting the resources are adequate and the HMA can support many more horses than the BLM admits.

RELATED: The Carrying Capacity Puzzle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s