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?

Desatoya Roundup Day 6

The incident began on January 16.  Gather stats through January 21:

  • Target: Horses
  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Captured: 147, up from 93 on Day 3
  • Average daily take: 24.5
  • Capture goal: 233
  • Removal goal: 150
  • Returned: 2, up from zero on Day 3
  • Deaths: 2, up from 1 on Day 3
  • Shipped: 83, up from 9 on Day 3

A stallion was euthanized on Day 5, lifting the death rate to 1.4%.

The cumulative total includes 67 stallions, 61 mares and 19 foals.

Youngsters represented 12.9% of the horses captured, consistent with a herd growth rate of 8% per year, assuming a 5% death rate.

Of the adults, 52.3% were stallions and 47.7% were mares.

Body condition scores were not reported.

The location of the trap site within the HMA was not provided.

Desatoya HMA Map 01-19-22

Two stallions, each blind in one eye, were returned to the HMA on Day 4.  Blindness is usually a fatal flaw for captured horses.

The number of animals shipped includes nine privately owned horses returned to their owner on Day 3.

Day 6 ended with 60 unaccounted-for animals.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 180
  • Forage assigned to horses: 2,160 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 277
  • Forage liberated to date: 1,740 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 1,450 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 9,608 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMA by permitted grazing: 801
  • True AML: 981
  • Stocking rate at new AML: 6.1 wild horses per thousand acres
  • Horses displaced from HMA by drilling and mining: Ask the advocates

RELATED: Desatoya Roundup Day 3.

HMAPs Are Not the Answer

The statute, altered at the behest of ranching interests, protects wild horses and burros to some degree, but not their land.  It does not protect them from the advocates.

Roughly half of the land, if you include the proposed Rock Springs RMP Amendments, has been taken away and is now devoted almost exclusively to permitted grazing.

Areas with non-zero AMLs are managed primarily for livestock.

The resource management plans assign anywhere from 80% to 95% of the authorized forage to privately owned cattle and sheep.

The pest control programs follow naturally: Roundups, sterilizations, fertility control programs, sex ratio adjustments, adoption and training programs, off-range holding and sanctuaries.

Animals in off-range corrals (feedlots) are protected.

Animals in long-term holding are protected.  Most won’t be adopted.  They are sent there to die.

Animals in the adoption pipeline are protected, in theory, until they are titled.

If you only care about protection, you’re in good shape.

If you want to see them wild and free on their home range, and this does not include gradual extermination by the Montana Solution, as the advocates prefer, you have to focus on the RMPs and the bureaucrats who write them.

They never have to face you, the taxpayers and voters.

RELATED: Group Calls for End of Pancake Roundup, Demands Investigation.

Pancake Gather Plan

Pancake Roundup Day 10

The incident began on January 11.  Gather stats through January 20:

  • Target: Horses
  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Captured: 852, up from 713 on Day 7
  • Average daily take: 85.2
  • Capture goal: 2,060
  • Removal goal: 2,030
  • Returned: 4, no change from Day 7
  • Deaths: 10, up from 9 on Day 7
  • Shipped: 797, up from 588 on Day 7

One horse was euthanized on Day 8.  The death rate is 1.2%.

The cumulative total includes 357 stallions, 383 mares and 112 foals.

Youngsters represented 13.1% of the horses captured, consistent with a herd growth rate of 8% per year, assuming a 5% death rate.

Of the adults, 48.2% were stallions and 51.8% were mares.

Body condition scores were not reported.

The location of the trap site within the Complex was not provided.

Pancake Complex Map 01-07-22

Day 10 ended with 41 unaccounted-for animals.

The number of horses removed to date is 848.  Mares returned to the Complex will be treated with population suppression of unspecified type.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 638 (across two HMAs, one WHT and one HA)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 7,656 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 3,244
  • Forage liberated to date: 10,176 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 8,480 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 43,344 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from Complex by permitted grazing: 3,612
  • True AML: 4,250
  • Stocking rate at new AML: 3.5 wild horses per thousand acres
  • Horses displaced from Complex by drilling and mining: Ask the advocates

RELATED: Pancake Roundup Day 7.

Group Calls for End of Pancake Roundup, Demands Investigation

The loss of a colt on Day 1 of the roundup sparked outrage among some advocates, according to a news release on EIN, but nobody’s asking why it’s occurring.

What about the foal that was put down on Day 4 of the Jackson Mountains roundup because it was an orphan?  Where’s the indignation?

Regarding HMAPs, if the resource management plan assigns 85% of the authorized forage to privately owned livestock, do you think you can write a new plan that assigns 98% of the resource to the horses with 2% to wildlife and make it stick?

Maybe they’re OK with the current allocations and just want to make sure the horses don’t suffer as they are enforced.

At least they didn’t use the death to justify a darting program for the Complex.

RELATED: Advocate Blames Roundups on Pipelines, Mines!

Preliminary EA for North Lander Complex Out for Public Review?

An announcement appeared yesterday on the BLM news site but now it’s gone.

The project can be accessed at ePlanning, which includes the news release.

The Proposed Action, discussed on page 9 of the EA (page 10 in the pdf), features helicopter roundups, sterilization of up to 95% of captured stallions and returning them to the Complex, IUDs for mares returned to the Complex, treatment of captured mares with GonaCon Equine including those receiving IUDs and skewing the sex ratios to 60% males and 40% females.

Four HMAs would be targeted over a ten-year period: Conant Creek, Rock Creek, Dishpan Butte and Muskrat Basin.  Data for the HMAs are presented in Figure 1.

North Lander Complex Map 01-21-22

The Western Watersheds map shows the project area.  All four HMAs are subject to permitted grazing.  Refer to data in Table 2 of the EA.

The news release described the combined AML as “the point at which the wild horse population is consistent with the land’s capacity to support it and other mandated uses of those lands,” code words for privately owned livestock, so the unstated purpose of the project is resource enforcement—get rid of the horses so the ranchers can access all of the AUMs on their permits.

Comments can be submitted online and will be accepted until February 18.

Changes to forage allocations in the Complex cannot be accomplished through a pest control program.  Don’t ask a highway patrol officer to change the speed limit.

The management plan must be amended, which is outside the scope of the project.

RELATED: Scoping for North Lander Gather Plan Begins.

UPDATE: January 20 news release restored.

Rock Springs Aftermath

The roundup was an overwhelming success, according to a BLM spokesman interviewed for a story published today by Cowboy State Daily.

Predictably, Suzanne Roy of the Campaign Against America’s Wild Horses said it was a waste of taxpayer money and that the government should be getting rid of the horses with “humane, scientific management,” which she referred to a few weeks ago as the Montana Solution.

The death rate was 0.9%, not 0.009% as stated in the article.

RELATED: Rock Springs Roundup Over?

New Public Lands Foundation to Tackle ‘Challenge’ of Wild Horses

The Foundation for America’s Public Lands, a congressionally-chartered, non-profit institution authorized by Congress in 2017, launched yesterday, according to a BLM news release.

The Foundation will leverage public and private dollars to conserve, protect and restore lands managed by the federal agency.

How long before it’s co-opted by ranching interests?

Maybe that’s already baked into the charter.

Rock Springs Roundup Over?

The gather page says operations concluded on January 17, with 4,161 horses captured, 580 returned and 37 dead.  No activity has been reported since.

An announcement has not appeared at the BLM news site.

The number of animals shipped was not provided.  The total, based on the daily reports, was 3,605.

The number of animals returned cannot be correlated with figures in the daily reports.

The results don’t balance:

4,161 – 580 – 37 – 3,605 = –61

More horses were processed than captured.

The number of horses removed was

4,161 – 580 = 3,581

The capture goal was 4,400 and the removal goal was 3,500.

The pre-gather population was thought to be 5,105, compared to a combined AML of 2,145 for the five HMAs involved—which are managed primarily for livestock.

Rock Springs HMAs 10-13-21

The advocates wanted the government to cancel the roundup and get rid of the horses with PZP, oblivious to the lopsided resource allocations that put ranching interests far above those of the horses.

The incident was a likely precursor to the Rock Springs RMP Amendments, which will close three of the HMAs and downsize a fourth.

Little Colorado, the fifth HMA subject to the roundup, was not included in the proposed amendments, as it has already been, in effect, zeroed out.

RELATED: Rock Springs Roundup Starts in Two Weeks.

Desatoya Roundup Day 3

The incident began on January 16.  Gather stats through January 18:

  • Target: Horses
  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Captured: 93, up from 24 on Day 1
  • Average daily take: 31.0
  • Capture goal: 233
  • Removal goal: 150
  • Returned: None
  • Deaths: 1, none reported on Day 1
  • Shipped: 9, none reported on Day 1

A mare was euthanized on Day 3.  The death rate is 1.1%.

The cumulative total includes 42 stallions, 38 mares and 13 foals.

Youngsters represented 14.0% of the horses captured, consistent with a herd growth rate of 9% per year, assuming a 5% death rate.

Of the adults, 52.5% were stallions and 47.5% were mares.

Body condition scores were not reported.

The location of the trap site within the HMA was not provided.

Desatoya HMA Map 01-19-22

Day 3 ended with 83 unaccounted-for animals.

The nine privately owned horses returned to their owner on Day 3 were placed into the Shipped category.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 180
  • Forage assigned to horses: 2,160 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 277
  • Forage liberated to date: 1,116 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 930 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 9,608 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from HMA by permitted grazing: 801
  • True AML: 981
  • Stocking rate at new AML: 6.1 wild horses per thousand acres
  • Horses displaced from HMA by drilling and mining: Ask the advocates

RELATED: Desatoya Roundup in Progress.

Independence Valley Farm and Ranch Sells for $30 Million

The Pequop Conservancy sold the property, which straddles I-80 about 60 miles east of Elko, NV, to Ruby IVFR Holdings in the fall of 2021, according to a report posted yesterday by the Elko Daily Free Press.

The deeded acres may consist of checkerboard lands in the highway corridor, similar to the Rock Springs HMAs in Wyoming.  Refer to the image at 1:30 in the following video.

The ranch is north of the Spruce-Pequop HMA, site of the wild horse shootings in 2018 and part of Madeleine Pickens’ Mustang Monument.  Click on map to open in new tab.

The story did not indicate if free-roaming horses are found in and around the ranch.

Independence Valley Farm and Ranch Map 01-19-22

The privately held acres may qualify as a base property that secures grazing preference to the West Big Springs Allotment.  The permittee is 333 Ranch, which may be a third-party producer of hay and range-fed beef.

Although much of this post is speculation, the price tag tells you that the entrance fee to the world of public-lands ranching is not cheap.

NOTE: The markings on the door and tailgate of the truck at 3:19 indicate 333 Ranch.

Pancake Roundup Day 7

The incident began on January 11.  Gather stats through January 17:

  • Target: Horses
  • Type: Planned
  • Method: Helicopter
  • Animals captured: 713, up from 514 on Day 4
  • Average daily take: 101.9
  • Capture goal: 2,060
  • Removal goal: 2,030
  • Returned: 4, up from zero on Day 4
  • Deaths: 9, no change from Day 4
  • Shipped: 588, up from 309 on Day 4

No animals were captured on Day 5.

The death rate is 1.3%.

The cumulative total includes 296 stallions, 320 mares and 97 foals.

Youngsters represented 13.6% of the horses captured, consistent with a herd growth rate of 8% per year, assuming a 5% death rate.

Of the adults, 48.1% were stallions and 51.9% were mares.

Body condition scores were not reported.

The location of the trap site within the Complex was not provided.

Pancake Complex Map 01-07-22

Day 7 ended with 112 unaccounted-for animals.

The number of horses removed to date is 709.  Mares returned to the Complex will be treated with population suppression of unspecified type.

Other statistics:

  • AML: 638 (across two HMAs, one WHT and one HA)
  • Forage assigned to horses: 7,656 AUMs per year
  • Pre-gather population: 3,244
  • Forage liberated to date: 8,508 AUMs per year
  • Water liberated to date: 7,090 gallons per day
  • Forage assigned to livestock: 43,344 AUMs per year (estimated)
  • Horses displaced from Complex by permitted grazing: 3,612
  • True AML: 4,250
  • Stocking rate at new AML: 3.5 wild horses per thousand acres
  • Horses displaced from Complex by drilling and mining: Ask the advocates

RELATED: Pancake Roundup Day 4.

Youngsters Hard to Find at FOAL

This group applies the Montana Solution to the McCullough Peaks herd.

They may not be able to convert an AML to AUMs or tell you the percentage of forage assigned to livestock in the HMA, but they know exactly how much adjuvant to add to the PZP and how long to mix them.

FOAL Mixing PZP 01-18-22

They say they’re protecting the horses but they’re actually protecting the public-lands ranchers.

Maybe they are public-lands ranchers.

RELATED: Ranchers and Advocates Snub McCullough Peaks Wild Horses.