Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 19

The incident started on September 9.  Gather stats through September 27:

  • Horses captured: 393
  • Escaped: 4
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 5
  • Shipped: Not reported

No deaths occurred on Days 17, 18 and 19.  Another horse escaped the trap on Day 19, bringing the total to four.  The Forest Service is reporting 396 horses gathered but the sum of the daily results is 393.  Escapees are on the other side of the equation.

Animals gathered = Animals returned (escaped) + Animal deaths + Animals shipped

The daily reports can be found here.

The WHT is to be managed principally for wild horses.  Resources not assigned to horses go to wildlife.  No livestock.

RELATED: Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 16.

Diamond Roundup Day 18

The incident started on September 10.  Gather stats through September 27:

  • Horses captured: 1,111
  • Goal: 1,225
  • Deaths: 25
  • Shipped: 1,020

No deaths occurred on Days 16, 17 and 18.  The death rate is 2.3%.  Foals accounted for 18.2% of the horses gathered to date.

Body condition scores were not provided.  BLM reports 990 horses shipped but the sum of the daily transfers is 1,020.

The contractor is holding 66 horses on site.  Sixty will be returned to the Complex, including 30 mares treated with contraceptives.

The operation will likely conclude this week.  The Complex is managed primarily for livestock and Herd Management Area Plans aren’t going to fix that.

RELATED: Diamond Roundup Day 15Diamond Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Frisco Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick

The pre-gather population in the Frisco HMA, currently subject to a roundup, was thought to be around 250 wild horses.  The HMA covers 60,367 acres in western Utah and has an AML of 60.

The horses allowed by plan require 720 AUMs per year.  The stocking rate allowed by plan is one wild horse per thousand acres.

The pre-gather population, corresponding roughly to 4X AML, required 3,000 AUMs per year with a stocking rate that’s four times higher than the standard.

There were 190 excess horses on the HMA when the gather started.  The need for this and other management actions, such as the application of PZP, is obvious.

The HMA intersects four grazing allotments.  The table in Section 3.2 of the Final EA for wild horse roundups in the Conger and Frisco HMAs provides allotment sizes, grazing seasons and permitted AUMs.  A map showing the allotments relative to the HMA was not provided.

Although cattle and sheep are allowed by permit, the calculations are based on cow/calf pairs only, for a direct comparison to wild horses.  The resource requirements of wild horses and cow/calf pairs are said to be equivalent.

Frisco HMA Calcs-1

The amount of Red Rock land falling inside the HMA is 20,769 × .08 = 1,662 acres.

The estimated forage available to Red Rock cattle inside the HMA is 801 × .08 = 64 AUMs per year, assuming the resource is evenly distributed across the parcel.

The total estimated land and forage available to livestock inside the HMA, computed as the sum of four components, are 54,483 acres and 2,959 AUMs per year, respectively.

Roughly ten percent of the HMA is free of privately owned livestock.

The Red Rock permittee would have to place 32 cow/calf pairs inside the HMA to graze off 64 AUMs in two months.  The stocking rate allowed by plan is 19.3 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres on that allotment.  It’s a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) on public lands.

The stocking rates (densities) on the other three allotments are six to seven times higher than that allowed for wild horses in the HMA.

The total estimated number of cow/calf pairs inside the HMA, computed as the sum of four components, is 394.  The estimated stocking rate allowed by plan inside the HMA is 394 ÷ 54,483 × 1,000 = 7.2 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres.  The weighted average grazing season is 2,959 ÷ 394 = 7.5 months.

These management indicators are compared in the following charts.

Frisco HMA Charts-1

The HMA is managed primarily for livestock, with the horses receiving just 20% of the total authorized forage (excluding wildlife).  Sixty wild horses compared to 394 cow/calf pairs, on land set aside for wild horses.

Curiously, the HMA has a Herd Management Area Plan, developed in 2012.

The forage allocated to livestock would support an additional 247 wild horses, for a true AML of 307 (2,959 ÷ 12).  There were no excess horses on the HMA when the roundup started and there is no justification for a fertility control program.

RELATED: Frisco Wild Horse Roundup Starts Next Week, Rationale for AMLs?

South Steens Roundup: Looks Like Assateague Only Worse

Gather stats, through September 24:

  • Studs: 14
  • Mares: 35
  • Foals: 13
  • Deaths: 0
  • Shipped: 62

Foals accounted for 21% of the horses gathered.  No horses are being held on site.

Note that mares outnumber studs 2.5 to 1.  Do those numbers look like they came from a herd that’s 50% males and 50% females?  Limits computed from basic statistical formulas, with n = 49 and p-bar = .5, are 14 and 35.

The observed values are not outside the limits so it’s possible but not likely.  Additional data may bring the results in line with expectations.

In the latest census at Assateague Island, from March 2020, mares outnumbered studs 2.4 to 1.  The area was cited during public comments at this week’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting as a model of wild horse management, which it is if you ignore the declining herd size and abnormal sex ratio, with effects continuing years after the fertility control program was shut off.

The census had been conducted five or six times a year but the reports have dried up.

RELATED: South Steens Roundup Day 3.

Rationale for AMLs?

Several commenters at this week’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting claimed that the rationale for setting AMLs wasn’t clear.  These figures are specified in Resource Management Plans, which are usually cited in NEPA projects for wild horse and burro roundups.

If you look at the numbers, the rationale is obvious: Areas designated for wild horses and burros shall be managed primarily for cattle and sheep.

The typical AML works out to about one wild horse or burro per thousand acres, with seventy to ninety percent of the forage allocated to privately owned livestock.

One person—only one—mentioned this on Day 1.

Western Horse Watchers doesn’t see the value in creating Herd Management Area Plans, also mentioned by several commenters, when the RMPs are biased in favor of public-lands ranchers.  The government must first be compelled to manage these areas primarily for wild horses and burros and change the RMPs accordingly.

As for contraceptives, the subject of many comments on the first day of the meeting, the PZP zealots won’t look at the data because they’d have to admit they’re wrong.  Better to push the overpopulation narrative, it’s good for business.

Once you compute the true AMLs you realize most areas aren’t overpopulated and there’s no justification for fertility control.  These people are as much of a threat to America’s wild horses and burros as the public-lands ranchers.

Wild Horse Management

Frisco Roundup in Progress

The operation started September 21.  Gather stats through September 24:

  • Horses captured: 116
  • Goal: 200
  • Deaths: 1
  • Shipped: 107

One death occurred on Day 2 but no details were given.  Foals accounted for 19% of the horses captured.  Body condition scores ranged from 4 to 5 with a few 3s.

The contractor is holding eight horses on site.  The reports did not indicate if the 21 mares fitted with radio/GPS collars had been recovered.

RELATED: Frisco Wild Horse Roundup Starts Next Week.

Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 16

The incident started on September 9.  Gather stats through September 24:

  • Horses captured: 309
  • Escaped: 3
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 5
  • Shipped: Not reported

No horses were captured on Days 14 and 15 due to helicopter maintenance.

Foals accounted for 15.9% of the horses gathered.  The number of horses held on site is not known.

Body condition scores were not provided.

The death rate is 1.6%.  One stud was put down after hitting a gate and four studs died as a result of castration, according to this week’s summary.

The daily reports can be found here.

RELATED: Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 13.

Diamond Roundup Day 15

The incident started on September 10.  Gather stats through September 24:

  • Horses captured: 1,041
  • Goal: 1,225
  • Deaths: 25
  • Shipped: 941

No deaths occurred on Days 14 and 15.  Foals accounted for 18.2% of the total.

Body condition scores were not provided.  BLM reports 904 horses shipped but the sum of the daily transfers is 941.

The contractor is holding 75 horses on site.  Sixty will be returned to the Complex, including 30 mares treated with contraceptives.

The death rate is 2.4%.

RELATED: Diamond Roundup Day 13Diamond Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

South Steens Roundup Day 3

The incident started September 21.  Gather stats through September 23:

  • Horses captured: 41
  • Goal: 200
  • Deaths: 0
  • Shipped: 41

To date, four studs have been captured, along with 28 mares and nine foals.  Foals accounted for 22% of the total and mares outnumber studs seven to one.

Low-information advocates will not see any problems in these data.

Body condition scores were not provided.  No horses are being held on site.

RELATED: South Steens Roundup Starts Next Week.

WHBAB Day 1: Get Rid of the Horses with PZP not Helicopters!

Accordingly,

  • Continue managing HMAs primarily for livestock
  • Keep AMLs low to keep excess horses high, fueling the overpopulation myth
  • Forget about Velma Johnston and the original WHB Act
  • Don’t talk about public-lands ranching
  • Don’t look at the numbers

In the public comments, a representative of AWHC violated the fourth and fifth bullet points by suggesting that tens of thousands of wild horses could be returned to the range by removing a small percentage of privately owned livestock from public lands.

She was right.  Western Horse Watchers estimates that 108,000 wild horses and burros could be returned to their home range by removing livestock from lands that can only support 27,000 of them, enough to empty all of the off-range corrals and pastures twice.

RELATED: WHBAB Meeting Tomorrow.

Community College to Foster Jicarilla Wild Horses

Mesalands Community College of Tucumcari, NM will enter into a partnership with the Forest Service to foster Jicarilla wild horses for adoption and use them to bolster the college’s farrier and animal science programs, according to a report posted this morning by the Quay County Sun.

A rancher and board member interviewed for the story supported the idea, noting that wild horses tend to overgraze the land if their numbers grow too large, but did not indicate if his livestock compete with the horses for food and water.

Diamond Roundup Day 13

Gather stats through September 22:

  • Horses captured: 963
  • Goal: 1,225
  • Deaths: 25
  • Shipped: 899

Four deaths occurred on Day 11, due to pre-existing conditions, and none since.

The incident started on September 10.

Foals represented 18.4% of the total.  Body condition scores were not provided.

The contractor is holding 39 horses on site.  Sixty will be returned to the Complex, including 30 mares treated with contraceptives.

You could argue that all of the deaths are related to the roundup because none of them would have happened if the roundup didn’t occur.  That puts the death rate at 2.6%.

RELATED: Diamond Roundup Day 10Diamond Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Red Desert Horses Get Short End of Stick?

Probably, but it’s going to be hard to show because the data in Table 5 of the Final EA for wild horse management actions in the Complex are incomplete.  The five HMAs intersect seven allotments, according to Table 5, but the percentages of the allotments falling inside the HMAs were not given.

For example, the Cyclone Rim allotment covers almost all of the Lost Creek HMA and part of the Antelope Hills HMA, but how much of it falls inside Lost Creek?  What would you guess?  Maybe 80 percent?

Red Desert Allotments-1

Looks like the Stewart Creek HMA is 100% inside the Stewart Creek allotment (shown in white) but how much of the allotment falls inside the HMA?  Maybe 95%?

Reports involving forage allocations within the Complex will have to be based on eyeball estimates like these.

Bonus Question: Can you spot the five HMAs on the Wyoming allotment map?  Be sure to zoom in, it has excellent detail.

RELATED: Red Desert Gather, Part 2, Starts Next Month.

Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 13

Gather stats through September 21:

  • Horses captured: 276
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: Not reported
  • Shipped: Not reported

Twenty one horses were captured on Day 12 and 25 on Day 13.  The total number of foals gathered and the number of horses held on site are not known.

Body condition scores were not provided.

The incident started on September 9.

Helicopters will be grounded today for maintenance.

Daily reports are posted here.

RELATED: Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 11.