How Many Wild Horses Can McCullough Peaks Support?

The HMA overlaps six allotments, as shown in this map from the National Data Viewer.

Although Peaks 1064 and Red Point extend beyond the HMA boundary, the forage assigned to livestock inside the HMA is easy to estimate on a per-acre basis.

The HMA covers 120,412 total acres, including 113,938 public acres, according to the BLM HMA Report, and the 140 horses allowed by plan require 1,680 AUMs per year.

The stocking rate allowed by plan is 1.2 wild horses per thousand public acres.

Click on image to open in new tab.

McCullough Allotment Map 01-13-23

The Allotment Master Report from RAS provides management status, acreage and active AUMs.

McCullough Allotment Calcs 01-13-23

All of the allotments are in the Improve category.

The weighted average forage availability across the six parcels is 56.7 AUMs per year per thousand public acres, enough to support 4.7 wild horses per thousand public acres.

The number of wild horses displaced from their lawful home by permitted grazing is 4.7 × 113,938 ÷ 1,000 = 535, putting the True AML at 675, to be achieved by confining the ranchers to their base properties in a year-long off-season.

The BLM spends around $1 million per year to care for the 535 refugees in short-term holding, while it collects about $9,000 per year in grazing fees from ranching activity inside the HMA.

Would you say that’s a wise use of the public lands?

The current population is thought to be 179, well within the carrying capacity of the HMA.

Given that the advocates are trying to suppress the herd with their favorite pesticide, they are voices for the bureaucrats and ranchers, not the horses.

RELATED: What the McCullough Advocates Are Trying to Protect.

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