Montana Grazing Fees

A draft environmental assessment for livestock grazing on the Pumpkin Creek allotment shows average grazing fees of $12.92 per AUM on state-owned lands and $26.50 per AUM on private lands.  See page 26 in the EA (page 30 in the pdf).

The fee on BLM lands is $1.35 per AUM, about 5% of the going rate on private lands.

The government pays about $60 per AUM for wild horses in long-term holding.

The allotment is about 15 miles south of Miles City in the eastern part of the state, according to a news release issued yesterday.

Review of New WH Population Control Plan Almost Complete?

The plan was issued on May 8.  Congress had sixty days to review it.  That period ends tomorrow.  Legislators authorized $21 million in FY 2020 to implement the first part of the rancher-friendly ‘Path Forward’ but only after the BLM “submits a comprehensive and detailed plan for an aggressive, non-lethal population control strategy.”

RELATED: Strategy for Implementing ‘Path Forward’ Sent to Congress.

Stop the [Causes of] Roundups!

If you read environmental assessments for management actions on HMAs, you may have seen statements like this:

The elimination of livestock grazing in an area would require an amendment to the RMP.  Changes to grazing cannot be made through a wild horse gather decision.

Roundups, fertility control, sex ratio skewing and sterilization are products of a decision making process that determines the use of public lands.

Those decisions are influenced by other standards, such as the No Rancher Left Behind Act of 1976, as well as the beliefs and loyalties of those involved.

Adoptions, training programs and sanctuaries are too far downstream in the process to be of any use to the horses and burros still on the range.

They are symptoms, not causes.

How far upstream in the process would you have to go to bring about the desired change?  How often do Resource Management Plans come up for review?  What type of safeguards are protecting them?

RELATED: Stop the Roundups, Fertility Control is Better!

Thriving Ecological Balance-3

Public Meeting This Week for Aerial Roundups in Nevada

BLM said yesterday that the annual hearing for the use of aircraft and motor vehicles in managing wild horses and burros would be held in Battle Mountain June 25.

What if those attending said “We object.”  What would that accomplish?

Roundups are effects, not causes.  They are symptoms of the way public lands are managed.  If you want change, you have to go after the causes.

The announcement said the state’s wild horse and burro population currently exceeds 51,500 animals, with 12,811 animals allowed by plan.  Is that a problem?

The meeting should not be about what type of equipment is most effective in removing these animals from their home range, but why they are being removed from their home range and what can be done to stop it.

Thriving Ecological Balance-3

Major Threat to Wild Horses?

Public-lands ranchers don’t hide their disdain for wild horses.  The Public Lands Council, a cheerleader group attached to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, makes their position known on this page.

The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group for the energy industry, must have a similar page on its site.  After all, oil and gas companies are major threats to wild horses according to some advocacy groups.

See if you can find it.

After that, please indicate

  • How much forage has been lost to oil and gas exploration and production
  • How many horses have been displaced from public lands by those operations
  • How much AMLs can be increased by ending oil and gas production on those lands

What’s that?  Still haven’t found that policy statement on the API web site?

RELATED: Where Are Your Figures?

New Darting System: How Would It Really Work?

Operation of the machine can’t be all that bad, as the video shows a horse coming back to eat after ‘treatment.’  Most of them probably did the same thing, so it was hard to choose the right clip for the video.

Darting Machine-1

Do you think the user of this equipment will want darted mares eating more of the bait, when there is so much need out in the pasture?  Do you think said user will be willing to feed the studs when they come in for a bite?

Hell no!

There must be another feature in the machine that drives the animals out after they’ve been treated or deemed unnecessary, such as an electric shock.

POW!  Hit ’em with a dart.  Then ZAP!  So long sucka!

RELATED: They Forgot to Mention Privately Owned Livestock.

They Forgot to Mention Privately Owned Livestock

The following video, posted in 2017, shows a prototype of a machine that automatically darts wild horses in the field.  The company now seeks investors to commercialize the technology.

The device targets the forequarters of the animals, contrary to the conventional wisdom in the darting world.  It is not clear how the PZP zealots, whose purpose in life is now at risk, will respond.

Oil and mining companies, the greatest threat to wild horses and burros according to some ‘advocacy’ groups, have shown little interest in the contraption.

RELATED: New Machine Darts Wild Horses Automatically.

Wild Horse Population Control Plan Still in the News

You can’t have a conversation about wild horses without having a conversation about public-lands ranching, but a story published yesterday by KSL News of Salt Lake City does exactly that.

Why don’t the horses have any natural predators?  Public-lands ranching.

Why can’t the land support more than 27,000 wild horses?  Public-lands ranching.

Why do they leave their HMAs in search of food and water?  Public-lands ranching.

Nature determines resource availability but resource allocations—and the problems arising therefrom—are man made.

When you carve out 80% or more of the forage for privately owned livestock, wild horse numbers must go down.  The programs are not independent, but intertwined.

The PZP zealots want to see the horses wild and free on their home range, they just don’t want them conceived and born on their home range.  Makes perfect sense.

RELATED: Lies of Omission in New WHB Management Strategy.

Confined to Government Boxes

Adoptions Are the Answer?

They’re not, but if you’re a shill for the public-lands ranchers, anything that gets wild horses and burros off the range is good.

Being a wild horse on western rangelands is like moving into a five bedroom home and then being told that you can only use one bedroom.  The four remaining bedrooms are reserved for other authorized users, which you’re not allowed to talk about, just like the writer of this opinion piece appearing today in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Lies of Omission in New WHB Management Strategy

The introductory material in the new WHB management plan, beginning on page 2, is not complete.  You might get the impression that wild horses are the problem.

Mustangers were not ordered to harvest them for commercial purposes, such as the production of dog food.  That’s how they got rid of the carcasses.  They were hired by ranchers to clear the range of anything that robbed forage from their livestock.

Yes, the WHB Act has been amended by Congress on four different occasions—at the behest of ranching interests.  That part was not stated.  The original Act protected the horses from ranchers, not drillers, loggers and miners.

Velma understood the issues.  Today, most wild horse ‘advocates’ do not.  In their zeal for contraceptives, they’ve sided with the ranchers.

Yes, the number of wild horses on western rangelands has grown, while the amount of land reserved for them has gone down.  That part was carefully omitted.  When the Rock Springs RMP amendments are implemented, the loss will be roughly 50% (of the land inhabited by these animals in 1971).

Lands no longer managed for wild horses and burros don’t have enough resources to support them, but somehow, privately owned livestock seem to do just fine.

If nothing is done to reduce growth rates, the on-range population of wild horses and burros could reach 2.8 million by 2040.  OK, why is that a problem?  Because it will lead to catastrophic harm to the land and to other species—meaning it will put the livestock operators out of business.

This plan is nothing but a shameless defense of the public-lands ranchers, who hide in the shadows while the government does their dirty work.  It’s one of the best examples of crony capitalism you’d ever want to investigate.

RELATED: WHB Strategy in the News.

WHB Strategy in the News

A syndicated report by AP News is making its way across major news outlets.

The plan calls for the removal of 20,000 wild horses and burros per year from western rangelands until the population target of 27,000—known as ‘AML’—is achieved.

The current population is 88,000 animals, with herd sizes doubling every five years.

The plan also requires more contraceptives and sterilizations, more adoptions and more off-range warehousing.

All of this to prop up an industry that’s outlived its usefulness.

The 33-page strategy is not necessary, just two sentences:

  • End public-lands ranching
  • Restore the WHB Act to its original form

RELATED: Strategy for Implementing ‘Path Forward’ Sent to Congress.


Strategy for Implementing ‘Path Forward’ Sent to Congress

The $21 million authorized in December for the disastrous management plan is another step closer to obligation, according to a news release by Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group in Washington, DC.

Congress withheld funding until the BLM developed a comprehensive and detailed plan for controlling wild horse and burro populations on public lands in the western U.S.

The plan was issued last week and Congress has 60 days to review it.

The news release did not indicate if it was a draft, subject to revision, or if it would be posted for public comments.

A simple way to assess the validity of the plan is to search it for terms such as ‘AUM,’ ‘livestock,’ ‘forage allocation,’ ‘permit’ and ‘grazing season.’

They’re not in there, as if the grazing program was independent of the WHB program, not intertwined.  Everybody knows that AMLs must go down if permitted AUMs go up!

The plan puts the crosshairs on America’s wild horses and burros while shielding the ranchers from public scrutiny.

HMAs were supposed to be safe havens for wild horses and burros but the government has turned them into breeding grounds for privately owned livestock.

Meanwhile, the BLM is ‘modernizing’ the grazing program, to streamline the permitting process, provide greater flexibility for managing resources and further enrich the public-lands ranchers.

Consequences of Rock Springs RMP Amendments?

The closure of three HMAs in the Wyoming checkerboard, and downsizing of a fourth, represent theft of economic resources, according to an opinion piece posted today by WyoFile, a member-supported public-interest news service.

These changes, prompted by a court order, will benefit public-lands ranchers, as stated in the column.

But they’re really just a formality.  Under the current management plans, the HMAs are already managed primarily for livestock.

Rock Springs Summary-4

In the revised management plans, crumbs allocated to the horses will likely be assigned to the ranchers—on land set aside for the horses.

But look at the bright side.  Losses from declining tourism may be offset, at least partially, by a high-density horse feeding operation on the other side of the state.

Instead of spending the afternoon and half a tank of gas driving the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop, you can go straight to Burns and see as many as 5,000 wild horses crammed onto 80 acres.

RELATED: New Twist in Rock Springs RMP Amendments?

PSA 12-24-19


It should be obvious to even the casual reader of these pages that the problem on western rangelands is not too many wild horses and burros but too many cattle and sheep, privately owned, of course.

Advocacy groups that push for contraceptives are allies of the ranchers.  Get away from them as fast as you can.  The ranchers already receive eighty percent of the forage on lands set aside for the horses and these people want to drive the ratio higher!

You don’t need an eleven-point plan, such as this PZP Manifesto from 2018, to save America’s wild horses and burros.

Only two actions are required:

  • End public-lands ranching
  • Restore the WHB Act to its original form

It’s a problem of public awareness and support.  That’s how Velma did it.

Too Many Horses in Elko County?

Two of the five HMAs located within the county are below their AMLs, according to an opinion piece posted yesterday by the Elko Daily Free Press, but three are way above their government-mandated limits.

The overpopulated HMAs belong to the Antelope Complex, reviewed on these pages back in August, where the management plan assigns 89% of the forage to livestock.

That tells you that the available resources are far greater than those required by the AMLs.  In other words, AMLs represent the number of wild horses the land can support after most of the resources have been diverted to privately owned cattle and sheep.

That’s what makes the writer grumpy: He can’t stand the thought of horses roaming freely on lands designated for them, enjoying resources that were set aside for them.

Such a waste!

The Spruce-Pequop HMA, one of the offending areas, was the scene of a wild horse shooting at the beginning of a gather in 2018.  Multiple rounds to the abdomens.

BLM knows who did it but to my knowledge there have been no arrests in the case.

The HMA intersects the massive Spruce Allotment, to which Madeleine Pickens has grazing preference.  Not for cattle but for wild horses.  Initially the BLM agreed with the plan but has since blocked every attempt to effect it.  Because of the crybaby ranchers.

The AML for Spruce-Pequop yields a stocking rate of 0.3 wild horses per thousand acres, almost nothing, which is what you’d expect for an area where most of the food has been allocated to public-lands ranchers.

Horses on the Goshute HMA, which is 1,184% over AML (not 1,284% as stated in the article) must be skin and bone.

Same for the Antelope Valley horses, which are 272% over the limit (not 372%).

Except they’re not.  Resources are more than adequate.  They’re just not being distributed in a manner that satisfies the ranchers.