Federal contract wranglers plan to round up 4,300 wild horses in southwest Wyoming — permanently removing about 70% of them — starting Thursday in an undertaking that culminates years of conflicts among land and wildlife managers, ranchers and horse advocates.

The roundup across 3.4 million acres of “checkerboard” land ownership could last more than a month, said Brad Purdy, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman. The agency will permanently remove — for adoption, training and domestic use — about 3,500 horses. About 800 would be set free again after treating mares in that group with temporary fertility control.

The goal is to maintain rangeland health, reduce trespass onto 899,308 acres of private land — much owned by the Rock Springs Grazing Association — and maintain an “appropriate management level” of between 1,550 and 2,415 wild horses, the BLM says. Today an estimated 5,105 wild horses, some known as mustangs but all technically “feral” horses because of their domestic ancestry, populate the BLM’s five “horse management areas” around Rock Springs.

Rock Springs Grazing Association Land Operations Manager Don Schramm called the operation “long overdue.” Blaming ranchers for wild horse roundups is “totally inaccurate,” he said, citing BLM plans that set population levels.

“The current roundup is to reduce the numbers down to that,” he said.

This month’s roundup will address immediate wild horse management aims as the BLM studies whether to remove all wild horses from some of the troublesome “checkerboard” lands along the Union Pacific Railroad where every other square mile is private.

Wyoming lawmakers are considering a measure that would bill the federal government for horse trespass and heard testimony last month that wild horses damage greater sage grouse habitat. One member of the Joint Agriculture State and Public Lands & Water Resources Interim Committee discussed opening a dog-food plant on the Wind River Indian Reservation, where horses are said to damage wildlife habitat.

In Rock Springs, some say the roundup threatens recent economic diversification efforts. Meantime wild horse advocates contest many of the BLM’s justifications for the upcoming roundup and question the balance the agency proposes between horses and ranchers’ grazing stock.

The BLM has set the population levels in the five horse-management areas far below a benchmark known as the “thriving natural ecological balance” threshold, Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, wrote in an email. The proposed population level is based on allocating 91% of available forage to domestic stock, he wrote.

“This appears to be a serious violation of the federal statute on wild horses, invalidating the legality of this enormous roundup,” Molvar said. Nevertheless, the BLM will forge ahead with its gather this week, agency spokesman Richard Packer said Friday.

Tribal dog food factory?

Grazing association representative Schramm said worries by wildlife advocates illustrate that the BLM roundup is not simply a conflict with stock grazers. Delays in holding roundups have kept the BLM from meeting its population goals and compounded the problem.

“Unfortunately, due to one reason or another, they’ve been unable to maintain horses at that level,” he said. Yet horse numbers can increase by 20% a year, he said.

“The longer they wait, the harder the job,” Schramm said.

This fall’s wild horse roundup will take place across five BLM Horse Management Areas covering 3.4 million acres around Rock Springs. (BLM)

As arrangements for the roundup proceed, the BLM is finalizing its long-range plan and the Legislature’s interim agriculture committee is set to consider two wild horse and burro bills Oct. 21. The panel in September worked on a precursor draft measure that would essentially bill the federal government for the grazing costs of trespassing horses.

Lawmakers don’t believe the government would pay up, but the draft legislation would require the Office of State Lands and Investments to calculate the “grazing cost” of trespassing horses and submit that to appropriate U.S. agencies.

The bill also would allow the Wyoming Attorney General to file a writ of mandamus seeking to compel the federal government “to take action to remove excess wild horses as required under federal law from affected nonfederal lands.” Finally, the bill would authorize the governor to negotiate with federal and tribal officials to manage wild horses.

Horses are “starting to outnumber our wildlife,” Arthur Lawson, director of the Shoshone and Arapaho Fish and Game, told the committee, and are causing serious environmental damage. Some of that is occurring on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department 35,000-acre Spence-Moriarity habitat unit near Dubois that’s set aside for elk winter range, said 

Pat Hnilicka, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who is an advisor to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. Horses can be viewed “as invasives, as weeds in a sense, because they … spread,” he said.

Committee member Rep. Bill Fortner (R-Gillette) saw an opportunity for another way to deal with wild horses outside adoption.

“Would you be open for slaughter for a dog-food factory or something like that on the reservation … a dog-food factory and slaughter of the horses that’s not on federal land?” he asked tribal representatives. “You guys can get away with things — being an independent nation — that we can’t get away with.”

Approval for such an endeavor would have to come from both Shoshone and Arapaho tribal councils, Lawson said.

Meanwhile, wild horses are a threat to greater sage grouse, a species struggling to persist in the sagebrush sea, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says. “There’s also a growing body of evidence to even suggest that too many wild horses on the landscape may affect our sage grouse populations,” Angi Bruce, Wyoming Game and Fish Deputy Director for external operations told the committee. “If we continue at a rate of increase [among wild horses of] about 20% a year, we can see as much as 70% decline in the sage grouse population,” she said, referring to a U.S. Geological Survey study in Nevada.

She cautioned that the Nevada study might not be directly applicable to Wyoming. “But if it’s anywhere reflective of what may [happen] in Wyoming, it’s very alarming,” she said.

Ranchers, too, back the BLM, RSGA’s Schramm said of the coming roundup. “We appreciate BLM trying to do it.”

We’ll ride them someday?

The BLM gather will be “the largest roundup in history,” Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign, said in a statement. She, also, questioned whether there was balance in the roundup plan, saying the BLM land belongs to all Americans, “not just the livestock operators who receive steep tax subsidies to graze their cattle and sheep here.”

The BLM’s Purdy questioned the assertion that the roundup would be record-setting. “I don’t think that is 100% accurate,” he wrote in an email. The Red Desert gather between 2018 and 2020 collected about the same number of horses as this year’s target, albeit over three years, he said.

Wild horses near Rock Springs (BLM)

In Rock Springs, the BLM’s imminent roundup and pending long-term plan will diminish one of the town’s premiere visitor attractions just as the area is seeking to diversify its economy as the fossil fuel economy falters, a city council member told WyoFile. When he worked the information booth at a high school rodeo, Councilman Tim Savage said, “the main thing these rodeo people wanted to do was see wild horses out on the plains.

“That’s going to change,” he said. “Why are we spending all this money attempting to diversify our economy when we are going to do this?” he asked of the roundups and reductions.

Rock Springs is a way-stop for tourists enroute to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, Savage said. “We try to get them to stay an extra day,” he said, and the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop north of town is an important attraction toward that end.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are concerned,” he said, citing emails, phone calls and letters he’s seen. “I definitely think there’s going to be an impact.”

Wild horse photographer Carol Walker called the BLM roundup “a race to remove as many of these animals from our public lands as possible with no consideration for the very uncertain fate that faces them.” She was referencing reports that some horse adopters, who can receive money from the government to feed adopted horses for a period, ultimately resell them.

Those resale auctions are “frequented by slaughterhouse brokers known as kill buyers,” the New York Times wrote in May.

“Our wild horses belong on our public lands,” Walker said in a statement, “wild and free with their families, not in long-term feedlots or dumped at kill auctions by greedy and heedless adopters.”

A group representing public employees also challenged the BLM’s grazing allocation, saying wild horses are being blamed for overgrazing by domestic stock. The roundup threatens faith in the agency’s science, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility wrote Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

The BLM’s own data “show that more than 15 million acres of priority sage grouse habitat fail to meet BLM’s own minimum standards for quality of water, vegetation, and soils, as well as the ability to support wildlife, due to overgrazing,” Tim Whitehouse, the group’s executive director, wrote Haaland on Sept. 20. He called BLM’s approach “the antithesis of sound science.”

“While wild horses certainly impact sage grouse habitat,” his letter reads, “to focus conservation efforts for this habitat on addressing impacts made by thousands of wild horses, while ignoring troves of data on the impacts from millions of cattle, undermines your efforts to create a culture of scientific integrity at [the Department of the Interior].”

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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  1. We should use the horses for our tourist to see and really publicize. Would bring more tourists. We the people in Wyoming want wildlife. And they are and can be a great asset.

  2. Wild horses forced into these areas, displaced. Whose Responsibility is it to Fence to keep out horses. Destroying so many wild horses is inhumane & abuse of taxpayer’s money paying to kill horses is inhumane. Taxpayers already pay reimbursement for alleged losses which is just another name for welfare which is a form of abuse of taxpayer’s money that is Not being well spent. Destroying wild horses for a profitable Dog food factory is not the solution especially if using sickly horses. Why don’t these groups that want horses destroyed be responsible to pay BLM since its their livestock/responsibilty; dog food plants are for profit. Taxpayers shouldn’t pay for these Groups to profit by destroying horses. Defund BLM; reimbursents/welfare should be reduced significantly for alleged losses. BLM could profit privately by Placing young horses in care of teen/adult correction facilities to rehabilitate or assist with mental illness BLM paid by all profitable groups not by taxpayers. Create a solution because this systematic circle of death is a sign of a broken system. Solutions to include avoiding to destroy everything in site for profit, self serving greed scams.

  3. I think it is truly a sad shame that these beautiful horses whose ancestors date back from hundreds of years ago. proof is in stone carvings that One can see. Why is the land not suitable for the horses and burros, but is for cattle and sheep? would that NOT also be a threat to sage grouse? here it says horses are trespassing on private land? what about the livestock going back to the same government land, that was just emptied by capturing the horses? These horses deserve Our respect and deserve it. They are not like weeds and to be killed off. NO way should there be any thoughts of a ‘slaughter plant’, in the U.S. They already did away with that. We are fighting now, to stop the transport of horses and burros across the north and south border, for slaughter for meat.To kill a horse is so cruel and awful. They are not like a cow or pig with the bolt gun, They try and use? There is no humane way to kill a hore, unless it is euthanized. To try and kill Them, I have watched videos of shooting the horse in the head more than once, and it is still alive when They slit Their throat, thrashing about, hung from one hind leg. You call that respect.and humane? They are NOT live stock.These beautiful free wild spirited animals are what this Country represents. FREEDOM! Are you going to imprison Them all and sell Them for horse meat. if so there needs to be some accountability and We deserve to know who is responsible? Because the tax payers are paying for this. We do NOT want the horses penned up and fed. leave Them free on the allotted land They were given so many years ago. DO NOT GO BACK ON THE PROMISE OF PROTECTION FOR THESE HORSES AND BURROS. until last year. Then all of a sudden. an unidentified big issue came up?? I would like to know what really happened? please and thank you.

  4. As retired certified wildlife biologist for approx. 45 years who has lived in Wyoming for 25 years I am in full agreement with WGFD article published in Dec. 2021 Wyoming Wildlife magazine. There needs to be a significant removal of feral horses from Wyoming rangelands, they are way above BLM identified carrying capacity and are negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat.

  5. My heart is broken, bloody & raging!
    I spent my youth doing everything (time & money) I was capable of to help Wild Horse Annie fight for the laws that were needed to protect the Wild Mustangs from the abuse, cruelty & slaughter they were experiencing, only to live long enough to see these laws not respected & enforced countless times in resent history & here they go again!

    I spent many years on a family ranch in Wyoming that ran cattle as the main income. Second income was raising/selling purebred horses. This same ranch also supported & protected by choice, a herd of Wild Mustangs.
    No they were not excessively wealthy but they also were not remotely poor. They did not come from money nor inherit. It was started by one young man with one horse who worked hard & grew as time went on to become one of the largest & definitely most respected ranches in the area. This same man also worked closely with Fish & Game to protect & maintain all wildlife. He was also a hunter & hunting guide.

    Most people, even those that are horse owners, do not know or realize that horses, Wild as well as domestic, form families just like we humans do & just like us they grieve when they loose or are separated from their families. They feel & express all range of emotion. Our tax dollars have been spent to scientifically prove this.

    I ask if one man can make this all work without wealth or government financial benefit why are not more people able to do this ?? Especially those with the benefit of wealth??
    Why are laws not being enforced??
    When others much more intelligent then myself have come up with workable ways for the controlled breeding of Wild Horses & offered these ideas to the government does no one listen?? Which if put into practice would have & still could save countless horses & countless tax dollars. Everyone would win!!

    It most definitely comes down to self interest, greed & lack of care on all sides of this coin!! Then I sadly have to ask myself how can I expect these people to care about horses when they continually show no care or respect for their fellow human being.

    I’m very lucky to have lived the majority of my life through the years in history that I have. I was blessed to see the best of humanity in many ways but sadly have lived long enough to see this country torn apart & too many become uncaring & unfeeling towards each other let alone the fate of our beloved Wild Horse.
    I’m thankful I’m at the end of my time here which is a thought & feeling I never thought I would have.

    1. I really appreciate very much what You wrote. You said it very well. regarding horses. horses do have a full range of emotions, just like Us humans. They feel pain, feel sadness when They lose One of Their Own, like socialization, do well with others, not solo. They know fear and when something is amiss. ‘horse sense’. They know They are most happy, content, and at peace when They are left on the open land with no humans around. They are a very special sentient being that deserves all the respect every one should be giving Them. I just can NOT get over the way They are treating these majestic animals. it is so heart breaking for so many of Us wild horse and burrors advocates. it is inexcusable to no end. I am getting on in age too. I never thought I would have to see this evil negative issue, with these beautiful innocent horses. it is all for greed. cattle and sheep trump wild horses. money rules this Country from the start, it has always been this way. But when You start rounding up horses that have been on the land for many, many decades, You are literally messing with the ecosystem. They are a positive resource for the land and help to control wild fires. I agree with You truly. Thank You for what You wrote. I am waiting to see if My comment will be allowed, to be posted. SH.

  6. I am deeply concerned about the insistence of removing wildlife from the country. It seems that money and greed is more important than preserving the wildlife and ecology in the United States. I am 80 and have seen this gradual change for the worse. I hope I don’t see the end of wildlife before I leave this earth.

  7. Do you even watch them at all? Find out what mares goes with which stallion? No! You’re splitting up families, evidently none of you care. A lot of those horses were here before any of you! Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you always should.

  8. My recommendations for high desert wild horse management:
    1.) Horses in the high desert HMAs should be branded or otherwise marked for ownership determination and genetic control,
    2.) During yearly roundups, true feral/estray horses that have joined the herd of genetically desirable horses would be culled ( escaped from private ownership or abandoned by private ownership ), They would not have the US brand,
    3.) Wild horses/ horses with the US brand would not be allowed to enter Canada as a mechanism to avoid sale for slaughter,
    4.) Each wild horse herd in the high desert of Wyoming would have a specific lineage/strain/ genetic goal and be managed to achieve over 95% genetic purity,
    5.) Stallions of high genetic purity would be encouraged or even released in each herd in order to achieve the herds genetic goal,
    6.) At least one of the high desert herds would be managed exclusively for
    a strain/lineage for Native Americans ( Indian ponies ),
    7.) During the NEPA/EIA/RMP revision process at least one National Wild Horse High Desert Refuge, patterned after the National Elk Refuge would be established wherein a herd of controlled genetic lineage, would be wintered ( fed and given Vet care and maybe fertility drugs ), genetically different herds would not be allowed to co-mingle in the refuge,
    8.) Horses in each HMA would be rounded up using non-motorized methods ( cowboys on horses ) with slow movement required,
    9.) Realizing that horses with genetic papers proving lineage can be auctioned and bring respectable sums, the high desert herds would be managed for slightly fewer horses, but horses of exceptional quality for which homes can be found,
    10.) Horses in the high desert HMAs would receive supplemental feed during the winter with emphasis on extremely harsh winters ( the government is already paying to feed horses in feedlots ),
    11.) Management techniques similar to the Pryor Mt. herd and the Custer State Park buffalo herd would be employed,
    12.) Birth control would be utilized as a priority over allowing herds to expand until roundups/shipping and feedlots are required,
    13.) Horse lineages of rare, historical significance, Native American affiliation, of exceptional genetic purity would be prioritized over more common horses of mixed breeding and genetic impurity or genetically contaminated by feral/estray horses,
    14.) During the yearly roundup in each high desert HMA, the horses would be slowly moved to designated areas where they can be sorted, receive vet care, branded, weaned, genetically identified and shipped/auctioned of excess animals only – this identified location would be fenced to create a small horse feeding grounds during winter months ( 1000 to 3000 acres ), in the spring, they would be released to the extremely large open range to roam free ( this wintering grounds would be selected for shelter and water ),

    1. I’d like to openly invite others to openly offer their suggestions for how to best manage the high desert wild horses. Lets have some constructive ideas instead of emotionally charged rhetoric. I’d like to see 2-4 other comprehensive plans suggested. Lee

      1. Clarification: Birth control would not be administered to all of the mares in a herd – only to an estimated 25-35% of the mares. Each and every horse would need to be tracked on a yearly basis similar to ranchers using ear tags with critter numbers on the plastic tags. I would never recommend using ear tags for horses for purposes of following their genetics and sterility- how about micro chips. They still would need a US brand though.

    2. Lee there are some significant issues with some of the things you propose.
      1) The Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act applies specifically to free roaming UNBRANDED equines. The law would have to change before branding could being-the US brand is commonly used on horses and mules belonging to the United States Army or Marine Corps ( yep still using them and not only for ceremonial purposes.
      2) requires an agency that only has resources to gather a portion of HMAs annually to do a 100 percent gather of every HMA yearly-not going to happen
      3) wild horses are by definition and legal requirement unbranded
      4) how are you going to define this? With the exception of the Pryor horses who have a large portion of Spanish Barb Genetics and the Curlies in Salt Wells the rest of Wyoming horses are an amagalmation of draft, ranch and cavarly horses with out a distinct lineage to preserve.
      5)This was common practice before the WFRHBA-ranchers put blooded stallions out with wild mares, often shooting the wild stallions, to improve genetics. It is no longer legal under provision of the WFRHBA although stallions can be moved from other HMAs to improve genetic viability
      6) there basically is no such thing except in the mind of Yvette Running Horse Collin and in a small population of horses decended from Viking horses in Canada. The predominant ‘Indian pony” were small horses decended from Spanish Barb stock. those bloodlines exist in relative frequency in 4 HMAs=Pryor in Wyoming, Little Book Cliffs in Colorado , Silver in Nevada and Kiger in Oregon. For the most part the Army shot indian ponies wholesale in the 1860s as a means of controling and keeping tribes on the reservations.
      7) Because they are all decended from stock that was domesticated for a couple of millinium wild horses domesticate easily. Feeding makes them dependant quickly . Horses that are fed and vetted are no longer wild
      8) sounds good but the reality is that its dangerous to both domestic and wild horses and riders. The hated rotary wing aircraft are in fact one of the safer solutions as they do not invite attacks from stallions defending their bands which humans on horse back or atvs do. the Resulting fights or chases lead to injured horses and injured riders.
      9) issuing papers on a horse means you know the pedigree-i.e the breeding occured in a control situation where one stallion had access to the mare. In the wild stallions will breed hundreds of mares and mares are receptive to more than one stallion. When foals are born in the wild only the maternal side of the pedigree is assured. and DNA testing on every horse again requires a 100 percent annual gather-no feasible.
      10) see number 7
      11) Pryor are managed by PZP and small bait trap gather-workable on 200 horses on 40,000 acres-unreasonable on 2000 horses on a million acres.
      12) you willing to dart on roadless harsh HMAs in Feb? the BLM does not have staff to do it and relies on volunteers
      13)See 4,5,6 and 9
      14) so make them domestic ranch horses. Ok

    3. I am deeply affected by this and think your ideas would be effective and manageable. Who would be in power to implement these strategies? I feel that with enough public awareness and political support we can make these changes that would preserve these beautiful creatures and keep them from being slaughtered.

  9. Thank you Angus, for talking a journalistic approach and presenting both sides (all sides?) for critical consideration.

    Your focus on and attention to this is much appreciated.

    At a minimum humane treatment of the culled would horses and burros is requested by their advocates.

    There is nothing humane about the Catoors helicopter round ups and the rumored back door the wild names are rounded into that lead directly to slaughter with no transparency or accountability by BLM contracted herd management teams.

  10. “Wild horses “ in the Red Desert
    are feral animals almost entirely descendants from unwanted horses turned. Any of the original wild horses has been bred out long ago. They graze down to bare earth. Worse yet they dominate water holes to the detriment of native species. In dry years native species die because horses will not let drink. If you still think that rounding up the surplus of horses is wrong go for a few days without any liquids like the native species are forced to do so by feral horses

  11. The conversation and disagreement over the wild horse issue will be ongoing until common sense and facts, not emotion prevails. Those not wanting to see the horses managed in a responsible manner are basically promoting abuse of the wild horses. It sounds good to say let them run wild and free so all can enjoy them. That fits the narrative and image that has been perpetuated about the wild horses.
    In reality, life is tough for those horses. They range where feed and water are never great in non-drought years. What gives the horses more right to be on that range than livestock, more than other wildlife? As an introduced species, they are no more native to the range than the cattle and sheep are.
    I am a horse owner. I hate seeing any horse being poorly cared for. By not responsibly managing the wild horses they are not being properly cared for.

    1. Yes I agree to properly manage. What is concerning is the deception of the BLM. There are several ways to humanely help them that appeals to all parties. I do not agree with a dog food factory or auctions to slaughter houses. There is so much land all over the country with bountiful resources that can be shared. I just think that yes, as emotional as it is, there are better ways to manage the situation.

  12. I live in MN & have been traveling out West since I was a child. I loved seeing the wild horses my dad would seek out for us to see. And as an adult I do the same. I have never been fond of the BLM. Because they do cater to ranchers, and other industries. I have seen with my own eyes what cattle & sheep do to the environment & the decrease of wildlife. All I see now when I travel are cattle & sheep where there should be mule deer, antelope, elk, bears, wild horses, & birds. You really have to get into the backcountry or a National Park to see some of those species. One of my trips was to Rock Springs to see the holding pens which by the way was very sad & disturbing. Then on to the loop to look for the wild ones. I love going out west but I might have to re-think about future trips. I am a taxpayer. Wild horses & Burros are protected. But yet this is happening. One family getting filthy rich with their contracts with the BLM all the way back to the 70’s for rounding up OUR horses,, the American peoples horses. Public lands belong to all Americans. DOES NOT belong to the BLM, DOES NOT belong to the ranchers,, it belongs to ALL OF US. The round-ups need to stop. The brutal helicopter round-ups need to stop. The BLM NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED AND DISMANTLED!! ALL ROUNDUPS IN ALL WESTERN STATES NEED TO STOP!!

  13. I’m afraid I don’t believe a word the BLM says. They are systematically destroying our country’s ” living history!!!!!!!!In WW2 Gen Patton saved the Lippenzaner mares to keep that bloodline alive. those horses are a National Treasure to Austria. What does America do to the desendents of the wild herds of the 1800’s=The BLM collectes them, pretends to let people adopt them, then sells them to the “KIllers” for pay off!!!!! i , FOR ONE HAS NEVER GIVEN MY PERMISSION TO KILL THOSE HORSES-WE THE PEOPLE OWN THEM. LETS STOP THE CARNAGE!!!!!!!

  14. Chuck: The State of Wyoming tried to buy about 1,000,000 acres of mostly checker board land last year from Occidental Petroleum – I wonder what would have happened had the State succeeded – their position on wild horse management surely would have mirrored Game and Fish’s position and strongly favored wildlife and migrating antelope, deer and elk – a balanced position at least. Game and Fish doesn’t get any income from horses – no hunting season.

  15. The checkerboard is a mess, no question but it is because of trying to artificially inflate the value of the ‘private’ lands in the block by allowing generations of livestock owners to feel as if they also ‘owned’ adjacent public lands along with the permits for surface use. It is a great injustice to limit the use of vast acreages of public lands by a species (wild horses) that significantly predate domestic livestock in places like the Adobe Town HMA which has only a few checkerboard acres and many individuals that will be removed will have never set foot on one of these privately owned acres that ‘justify’ the entire action. The BLM proved the possibility of managing the horses on the range in it’s work in the Pryor Mountain Area in southern Montana and a little bit of Wyoming. The key was to focus on what to keep, not what to take off. There is a big difference (DNA) between truly feral horses and descendants of the New World Iberian horses that came in the 1500 and 1600’s . Horses need to be managed but not abused.

    1. Chuck: Thank you – first comments about the BLM utilizing better management procedures in the Pryor Mountains. Could you provide more detailed information such as did they use roundups, was birth control administered, was herd size limited to the size established by RMP revisions, are the horses fed in the winter, is there good bottom land shelter for them in the winter, the elevation, were excess horses shipped or auctioned, just anything that might indicate a better management system. Light at the end of the tunnel????

      1. Chuck: No need to reply. Everyone, Wikipedia has an incredible discussion about the Pryor Mountains wild horse – it includes lots of genetic information and management techniques. Its a much smaller herd and easier to manage I didn’t see reference to how they are rounded up but in that country it must be by horse not helicopter.

    2. Chuck: Based on your knowledge of the Pryor Mt. herd and other herds – could you recommend to all of the commentors a wild horse management system which you think best addresses everyone’s concerns. Lee

    3. Chuck: Would I be correct in assuming that DNA testing is the only way to separate truly feral horses from descendants of the New World Iberian horses you refer to?? Was DNA sorting used on the Pryor herd?? What if a horse was part feral and part New World Iberian?? Are there 100% pure Iberians out there ???? I believe there are private horse owners who are preserving the 100% Iberian bloodline – are you aware of them?? Should we strive for 100% Iberians in our wild herds???

      1. Chuck: Would it be possible to remove feral stallions during roundup and replace them with 100% pure DNA, New World Iberian stallions, in order to better duplicate the New World Iberian bloodline you refer to????

  16. IF they were rounding up (using horses for the round up – not helicopters) to treat mares (when they should be gelding), sending some out for training to be sold as saddle horses, and returning some, that would be one issue that would likely be acceptable. The problems likely arise due to the way they are rounded up and that the horse market is already way overflooded with horses that are being sent to slaughter. Now you are adding to that group, because there are just not enough “homes” for these animals. They are over grazing areas, and this cannot be left unchecked. It appears that groups can just not come together for a reasonable resolution.

  17. Stop all these cruel and highly expensive helicopter round ups.These mustangs are run to the point of exhaustion and are terrorized by these helicopters .

    1. Janice: Wild horses can be rounded up without helicopters using the same techniques used during the general roundups of 1880-1905. At that time, a whole entire drainage was searched for cattle and brought in for sorting. The Cheyenne River roundup met at the Hat Creek stage station where 200 cowboys and 2,000 horses assembled. Each day the horses would need to be driven to the next source of water, but always towards water – it might take a week. Only young 17-23 year old cowboys and cowgirls should participate and some WILL get hurt. The roundup would need to be carefully planned by the most experiences cowboys we have in Wyoming and looked over by a “trail boss”. Our large HMA units might get by with 50-75 cowboys/cowgirls and 200 horses. They need to ride at least 12 hours every day and need to change out horses every 3-4 hours. It would be truly recreating a true old time Wyoming roundup and would draw worldwide attention. We have the experienced cowboys in Wyoming to pull this off. No helicopters please and move nice and easy without running and stampeding. But always, always move towards water and bed down at night at the water hole. Lee

      1. Janice: There is a technique I’ve heard about for moving large herds of horses without stress and complications. If I remember right, the cowboys break an older dominant, well respected stallion and use him to lead the herd. When the other horses see the leader remaining cool, calm and collected they too calm down and follow his lead. Only our most experienced EXPERT wild horse managers would know how to do this and there are probably less than 6 of them in the whole State of Wyoming. This is where old time experienced cowboys come in – and the BLM needs to step back and let these EXPERTS run the show. If the BLM interfers, and they start thinking they know how to pull off a general roundup, it could all fall apart. Let the real cowboys run the show. The BLM does have some good experienced cowboys on their staff but probably not experienced enough to pull off a general roundup. Only an experienced horse man would know exactly which stallion out there on the open range should be selected for this crucial role – no mistake can be made in the selection process – the best stallion must lead and the best cowboy needs to identify him.

    2. I see a cowboy response that appears to want a training camp for young riders, rodeo style.

      How fun! Let’s teach cruelty and disrespect for biodiversity to the next generation as play.?!
      Crazy mindsets abound.

  18. The zeal to kill all that isn’t a sheep or cow is stunning, though not surprising for Wyoming. It’s disgusting. There are more humane ways, and yes cheaper ways to manage populations. My question to all slaughter advocates is, just who is making money off this and other wildlife slaughter??

  19. INHUMANE TREATMENT OF FERAL/ESTRAY HORSES: We recently had a man convicted in Park County for failure to feed and care for his horses. That’s exactly what you wild horse advocates do when you fail to feed and care for our wild horses in the harshest climate in the lower 48. If you truly care for the horses, you would be out there feeding them good alfalfa hay, oats and mineral – abandonment of horses I’d call it – do your job – feed them!!!! And they need horse blankets too.

    1. ELK: The State of Wyoming has about 23 elk feed grounds where elk are pampered – and in addition, the National Elk Refuge feeds something like 7,000 elk per winter. In addition to all of this, hundreds of Wyoming ranches winter elk on their bottom land at no cost to the public. So what do the feral/estray horses get??? Nothing!! They are abandoned to the harsh elements at 6500-7000 feet elevation. Unbelievable.

    2. Why not pattern a National Wild Horse Refuge or refuges after the National Elk Refuge in Jackson and start feeding and caring for these animals??

    3. The wild horses do not need feeding. It is survival of the fittest. They have lived on this land long before any other people,with exception of the American Indian.The horses are allotted very little land in comparison to cattle and sheep. They have lived beside the sage grouse for centuries. The true damage to the sage grouse is cattle. There are places that horses have been zeroed out,but cattle are still there. Also,why allow hunting of the sage grouse if they’re in danger? There is enough land out there to leave the horses alone. This is about greed. The ranchers want it all. The BLM has catered to them since it’s beginning.Wyoming is going to lose much of its tourism. The population of horses allowed is low. These are federally protected wild horses,not feral. They have lived there for hundreds of years. The majority of Americans want them free. Unfortunately,greedy people,seeing no profit,want them gone.Ranchers,oil,fracking,mining,it’s all about the money. We do not all have blinders on.Many of us see the truth.

  20. DEADLY BRUTAL: The high desert of Wyoming is extremely brutal in the winter – the county’s don’t even plow the roads out there – you can’t easily get feed to the feral/estray horses unless its an open winter. If we have a killer winter coming immediately after a severe drought year its all about death. These horses are at risk and the advocacy groups need to start feeding and caring for them – not abandoning them in extremely harsh conditions. Its called death.

  21. Wild horses “weeds”. That just shows the disdain the BLM has for the horses they are supposed to be protecting. With the tens of thousands or horses captured just in the last year – someone should be watching the north and south borders. The government is shipping them to slaughter.

  22. I follow and read any source of formation i can find . This is all about big $ and cattle grazing. I own horses and I see film clips of helicopters chasing these terrified horses for roundup,.cruelty and death in every aspect of the roundup.
    Foals are born in mud lots where they die, broken necks where horse panicked horses try to escape the pens, and others . trampled in the turmoil. If these things are untrue, why aren’t these gathers allowed to be viewed by the public. As for the horses rounded up its easy to find kill buyers publicly offer horses for sale online saying that they will go on a slaughter truck within hours if not bought and saved.. Also I would like to see it made public how many head of cattle and sheep are grazing on these lands that the horses are accused of over grazing.

    1. Wish I would have read my post more carefully. I wrote that I own horses,which I do but I meant I was familiar with their behavior. Not that mine were chased.

    2. Barbara, I believe you can actually find that info on the BLM’s site. I dont have the link but another advocate posted it on another blog. Surprisingly the BLM puts it right out there!

  23. Each year, the BLM uses low flying helicopters to stampede thousands of wild horses so that they can be cleared from public land to provide taxpayer-subsidized grazing access to privately owned beef cattle.
    In every roundup, terrified horses are separated from their family groups and placed in holding pens to await transport. Anxious mares call out to their foals, and stallions injure themselves trying to defend or reunite with their families. Some horses are killed or injured in the roundups. Many more die in the holding pens after the capture operation is over. The majority of the survivors are condemned to spend their lives in captivity, far from their families and native grazing lands.
    And as if that weren’t bad enough, over a period of several years, the BLM illegally sold nearly 1,800 wild horses for $10 a piece to a Colorado rancher and known “kill buyer” who resold the animals to slaughter. The BLM charged taxpayers $140,000 to deliver the horses to the rancher, who made $154,000 in profit by selling the horses for slaughter.
    Despite scientific recommendations for use of a humane fertility control vaccine as an alternative to roundups, the BLM spends less than one percent of its wild horse management budget on birth control and over 70 percent to round up and warehouse wild horses. As many wild horses are now in captivity as remain in the wild.


    1. Kim: You’re right – there are much better ways to bring the horses in without stress. Please see my comments to Janice concerning old time general roundup methods and slowly moving the horses. I would recommend absolutely no motorized vehicles and pickups with horse trailers at least a mile away – no ATVs, motor cycles, trucks, planes, etc. The general roundups used a chuck wagon pulled by horses and a second freight type of wagon to haul supplies – also horse pulled. Very quite and calming. Keep all motorized vehicles away from the herds when they are being moved during roundup. Its called a cowboy – use him.

  24. Why are these people so desperate to kill off our wild horses, wolves, grizzly bears etc? They want to kill off all of the incredible wildlife here in America that people travel from all over the world to see. Why are they so hateful rather than cherish our wildlife? How can people help?

  25. The Wyo round up is a complete travesty. Yep, BLMs approach is the antithesis of sound science. As for the concern about the greater sage grouse, the science does not support the roundup. See my quote below:

    The BLM roundup threatens faith in the agency’s science, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility wrote Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

    The BLM’s own data “show that more than 15 million acres of priority sage grouse habitat fail to meet BLM’s own minimum standards for quality of water, vegetation, and soils, as well as the ability to support wildlife, due to overgrazing,” Tim Whitehouse, the group’s executive director, wrote Haaland on Sept. 20. He called BLM’s approach “the antithesis of sound science.”

    “While wild horses certainly impact sage grouse habitat,” his letter reads, “to focus conservation efforts for this habitat on addressing impacts made by thousands of wild horses, while ignoring troves of data on the impacts from millions of cattle, undermines your efforts to create a culture of scientific integrity at [the Department of the Interior].”

  26. I’m against the BLM’s round-up of Wild Horses, especially by low flying Helicopters. Why can’t we manage wild horses by fertility drugs? Why do we subsidize Cattle Ranchers who Graze their Cattle on Public Lands? Shouldn’t the Cattle Ranchers pay for Grazing Rights?
    I’m against putting a Dog Food Slaughter facility anywhere. I hope the Tribes will Veto this idea.
    What is wrong with the legislators in Wyoming, Montana, and other states that support the BLM’s agenda? It appears that a Kill Wildlife agenda pervails in many states.

  27. Whether or not you agree with removing wild horses-Wyoming is a special case. Almost 1 million acres of these HMAs are privately owned land. NOT ‘our” public land, land that are deeded to owners who pay property taxes and have the right to run their cattle on land they OWN. I do no see a single comment about those people and what the economic impact of those horses is on them. And for all of you talking about tourist economy-get real. There are some small areas around Rock Springs and Rawlins that benefit-most of those horses are not accessible or visible to tourists-unless you hit one on the Jeffery City highway of course.

      1. Judy: A lot of the HMAs are in the checker board land ownership pattern along the Union Pacific railroad – the map in Angus’s article clearly shows the unconsolidated land ownership pattern. In addition, these pastures are huge – its nothing to go over 10,000 acres of mixed land ownership – individual tracts are usually not fenced within the large tracts – and since Wyoming is a fence out state – the horses have open access to private land on the OPEN RANGE. Lee

    1. Ann: When wild feral/estray horses occupy PRIVATE land in Wyoming they technically fall under Wyoming estray laws. The private property owner can feed them and file a feeding lien against them – when the lien isn’t paid, the horses become his/hers and then they can put their brand on the horse(s) – I’ve seen it done. We have estray sheep and cattle quite regularly in Wyoming. Livestock owners, including horses, must keep their animals on their own land – and that applies to publicly owned horses staying on public lands only. Lack of fencing is a completely different matter though – its a fence out state for most livestock.

    2. Ann: The US government needs to put a “US” brand on the feral/estray horses in order to clearly indicate they are public property. They used to put “US” on axes, saddles, leather goods, etc. so it wouldn’t be stolen – I have a Civil War era axe handle with “US” branded on it. When they aren’t branded no one knows who owns them when they occupy PRIVATE land and thence become true estrays – Wyoming law requires branding – why aren’t the public’s horses branded; that is, ownership claimed – right now, ownership is not clearly claimed. Lee

      1. Ann: Wyoming has brand inspectors in every county. When an stray animal appears on a ranchers private land they call the brand inspector to come out and determine ownership. In areas of the HMAs and all across Wyoming, if there is no brand, ear tag, notched ear, etc, the brand inspector can only say it is a true estry and he has no clear evidence of who owns the animal; that, it falls under Wyoming estray laws on PRIVATE LAND and State land. Ownership must be clearly established in Wyoming – and in open range country – that requires branding of horses – how else can ownership be determined??? All we know is that someones horses are running free on the open range – but whose????

  28. Ann Gostlin you said all of your facts perfectly! It makes sense to put beef cattle in the containment pens and monitor the cattle! The saddest thing I have read so far is that Deb Haaland is very silent about the fate of our Wild Mustangs and Burro’s! If a dog food company wants to slaughter our American horses right here on American soil be Native American or American soil this is absolutely atrocious. What a horrible world we live in now.
    I’d rather take a flight on an extra terrestrial space ship and get out of this world! Oh! Wait the government wants to control that too!

    1. Patricia: Secretary Haaland’s role has completely changed from advocate to the administrator of hundreds if not thousands of laws passed by congress. She is in charge of ensuring the laws and procedures are followed by Dept. Of Interior including Env. Impact Statements and BLM Resource Management Plans – balancing all of these conflicting laws is almost impossible – her hands are tied by laws.

  29. We need a separate management of our wild equines totally Separate from the corrupt BLM.
    They’ve been bought off by cattle and mining people.
    These horses are being slaughtered and to bring up a dogwood factory really ticked me off.
    The cattle is the problem not the horses, reduce the cattle and the problem will be solved. To see these beautiful horses going to slaughtered angers me beyond words.
    The BLM needs to be replaced fully and the equines managed totally separate.

  30. Leave the wild equines alone. Cut the cattle for 2 years and then only graze half of them.
    These horses are being slaughtered when is someone going to stop the BLM.
    They don’t own the land we do all of us.
    We need a separate independent management to care for our equines not the flipping government.
    And then to say or mention a dog house factory pissed me off.
    Someone has to stop this killing.

  31. These are farel horses . mustang advocates seem to be totaly ignorant about government improvement programs that went on until after WW II. Having raised a few I would think the 20% figure quite low.

  32. MISSING INFORMATION: I haven’t heard an accurate assessment of the current condition of the high desert forage as a result of the drought. I assume the BLM takes into consideration the amount of forage available this winter when determining how many feral/estray horses to roundup. The worse the forage situation is , the more horses need to be put in feedlots. A public relations disaster should horses starve this winter – better to ship than die or suffer.

  33. A DROUGHT YEAR: Many if not most ranchers have reduced their herd sizes due to the drought and lack of grass – in addition, good quality alfalfa hay is now at $250 per ton and ranchers can’t afford to feed their critters during the winter – so they adjust and cut back. I estimate a 10-20% reduction for most. Likewise, feral and estray horse populations should adjust during severe droughts – even a roundup is better than starving and/or skin and bones. A harsh reality of grazing in Wyoming but it must be dealt with – and the wildlife suffer too!!!

  34. Mr. Thuermer,

    I am disappointed that this otherwise comprehensive article did not include any consideration from one important group of stakeholders in this expansive situation. Wild horse advocacy is not solely represented by groups such as American Wild Horse Campaign or Carol Walker who advocate for the horses to remain on the range regardless of the damage done to the land, impacts to native wildlife, or with regard for true natural behavior. Wyoming Wild Horse Improvement Partnership (WYWHIP) is an established advocacy group specific to Wyoming, that is dedicated to providing resources to help solve this situation, respecting the uniqueness of how it applies to our state versus the rest of the nation.

    WYWHIP is taking action, we are currently in communication with the BLM regarding fertility control projects in Herd Management Areas (HMAs) to provide certified darters of fertility control vaccines and other volunteers to assist them in monitoring and maintaining a database of the herds and population growth suppression. We have published a website aimed at providing unbiased education and information regarding the intricacies of this subject. We network with other fertility control projects nationally and internationally to continue to learn about what works and what does not in specific areas and how it might apply to our state. We have attended each of the legislative meetings and discussed options with other stakeholders included in your article. We partner with a horse rescue in Connecticut, All the Kings Horses Equine Rescue in outreach, advocacy, and providing solutions for as many horses as we can that have landed in the situation referenced by Carol Walker.

    Carol is correct about one thing, the horses do belong wild and free within our state, but not at the expense of the landscape. The numbers need to be managed through thoughtful and carefully organized population growth suppression programs. Currently we are experiencing the results of the BLM being caught in the middle of lawsuits by people like Carol and groups like AWHC, and the ongoing need to remove horses for management. When those lawsuits delay the removals, the populations only continue to grow and that is very damaging to the landscape, especially during droughts, harming many of the economic interests WY holds dear including tourism. When the roundups finally happen the numbers flood the system, and result in poorer conditions for the horses who are removed. The BLM is trying to address it reasonably, but how can it be successful when few groups offer viable solutions, only choosing to continue to sue, and consequently block action while the problem grows?

    The Wyoming Mustang Association is another group that WYWHIP is proud to acknowledge because they are working hard to promote the trainability and versatility of the mustangs in captivity. They help with the TIP program, promotion of adoptions, host events for people to compete in to showcase the horses and their skills, and support programs that partner the horses with youth/veteran/therapeutic groups. All the Kings Horses Equine Rescue has helped place WY mustangs in programs that work with underprivileged youth in NYC, in adoptive private homes, and in therapeutic programs supporting veterans and private individuals. Several other small rescues and organizations have assisted in helping the horses nationally. Groups like these need more support and recognition for their proactive efforts. As do the Wyoming Department of Correction for the program at the Honor Farm, pairing captured mustangs with inmates for training. That program has touched and changed so many lives for the better.

    Solutions to this situation are on the table, but are being overlooked, and overshadowed and even hindered by the headlines and attention to the drama, rather than the intricacies of the truth.

    1. Christi: Nice to see some KNOWLEDGEABLE folks are working on realistic solutions. Way too many comments based on emotions and unrealistic approaches like ignoring the affect of feral/estray horses on wildlife and letting their population grow unchecked without proper management. Wait till they see a killer winter kill most of the feral/estray horses who are not fed or cared for in the harshest climate in the lower 48 – its brutal out there in the winter.

    2. We do offer solutions. Blm has asked for them, been given them and not accepted any. They explore nothing. Even rewilding is ignored although cattlemen have found that the methods work, even with cows. The drama comes from the abuse the horses are given under blm management and through removals and bad veterinary practices. I agree with one of the commenters who said; put the cattle in the long term holding pens and the horses back on their range.

    3. When you’re looking for solutions and blaming wild horses for destroying the range, does it ever factor in that privately owned livestock has access to 17 million acres in WY and horses only have 5 million? Or that livestock is allocated 1,907,352 million AUMs and the AML for wild horses in WY is 3,795? Almost 62% of rangeland in WY doesn’t meet BLM’s own guidelines for rangeland health and if you look at PEER’s interactive map, livestock is the #1 cause of range degradation, NOT wild horses. https://mangomap.com/peer/maps/24736/blm-rangeland-health-standards-evaluation-data-2012-#

  35. “It is the Will of the People of the United States and THE WORLD to continue to let OUR WILD HORSES REMAIN WILD and Free-Roaming. An easier Population Control Tactic is similar to CHINCOTEAGUE’s “WILD HORSE ‘PONY PENNING DAY”: Every July 4th, wherein REAL LOCAL HORSE WRANGLERS ROUND UP, HERD & CORRAL LOCAL WILD HORSES & THE TOURISTS THRONG TO EACH LOCATION, Staying a week or two to watch the local roundup, observe the capture of horses, to show the Public that the BLM is kind & humane…Separating Stallions, Separating Mares With Foals from Single Mares, Separating Weaned Foals from their Mothers …and holding a RAFFLE/BID/AUCTION of weaned Foals, adult Mares with Foals, Adult Single Mares, Adult Geldings, Adult Wild Stallions (to reputable Breeders wishing to strengthen the AMERICAN MUSTANG Bloodline and other Breeders wishing to HYBRID bloodlines (similar to what the English Thoroughbred Breeders did with the three Foundation Arabian Stallions cross bred with English Thoroughbred Mares)…Wild Horses were ALWAYS on American Land, from the very beginning of EQUINE Creation. The Spanish Horses were not the Original Indian Cayuse. Chief Joseph’s Original Appaloosa Ponies have NO SPANISH BLOOD IN THEM. DNA TESTS prove that! Horses have ALWAYS been indigenous to Native Land. White Man’s Cattle are the invaders. Beef cattle raised for the purpose of slaughter for Human Consumption need to be monitored by the USDA, not the BLM….Let the Rancher’s BEEF CATTLE be monitored, fed, and watered in the BLM Mustang PENS, and let the FREE-ROAMING MUSTANG HORSES RUN FREE back on their PUBLIC LAND, where they have ALWAYS BEEN, long before the WHITE MAN INVADERS or ANY OTHER INVADERS ever set food on NATIVE AMERICAN LAND. It is the Will of the People & the Tourist Industry & World Health to keep Meat Cattle penned and monitored in pens, for HEALTH REASONS, & MUSTANGS Monitored, running free, on OUR PUBLIC LAND, because once the invasive cattle are removed and safely penned (in the old BLM Mustang pens, Nature Will right itself, & the Prairie Grouse (also a Native Species, just like the Indian Pony is a Native Species) will thrive once again! Great for Tourism, great for COMMERCE, great for the SPIRIT of THE PEOPLE of the World. (Keeping invasive MEAT CATTLE in pens that were once containing WILD HORSES is safer for the meat, assuring the Safety of our World Consumers from ‘MAD COW DISEASE’. Letting the horses remain free & keeping our MEAT CATTLE Penned & highly monitored in order to invest in the World Beef Consumer AND the World-wide “WILD WEST TOURISM” is good for our U.S. COMMERCE & ENERGY INDUSTRIES. It’s just common HORSE SENSE!

  36. Hell No to the slaughter house.no to birth control for the 800 they are releasing.they can’t get pregnant for up to 5 years or become sterile.We need these bloodlines for a healthy population.

  37. There shouldn’t be any birth control given to the 800 being released back into the wild.it lasts up to 5 years or become sterile completely.we need the bloodlines to keep healthy population.and Hell No to a slaughter house .it’s pure Evil.the mustangs belong to the people of America not the greedy government.

  38. Save the greater sage grouse!

    But also, I have heard that horses were in America before humans went there, and so humans must have hunted them off. Therefore, wherever they were, there must have been some kind of ecology that supported them, at the time. Studies might determine what it was. Maybe we should dig down in those areas to a level that they lived at, in their time. We may find particular seeds in particular densities that might indicate what the ecology was.

    What areas did they inhabit? And why? Maybe we cant bring the ecology back, due to climatic changes. I think keeping the horse numbers managable, for the moment, until we know more, might be wise. I love hoses though, so I hope they dont suffer too much.

    1. Lucy: I have collected fossil horses daring to the Oligocene ( 25-35 million years ago ) and Miocene ( 10-15 million years ago ) in this area. There was a mass die-off of animals about 12,800 years ago possibly due to a meteor impact at which time many animals such as mammoths, horses, giant sloths, saber tooth tigers, etc, became extinct. Horses were then reintroduced to North America by European immigrants to become the horses we see today.

  39. Some cattle should be removed, to allow some horses to remain. Wild type horses should be allowed to remain, at least to some extent. The bay in the picture looks quite wild type, with its convex head designed by nature to ward off blows, and its short body and long legs. I think it is probably a male. The white one in the distance also looks a bit wild type, with its long body to carry a baby in, and its shorter legs.

    1. Lucy: Cattle are removed every year during the fall roundup at which time the calves are weaned and shipped as soon to be yearlings; therefore, the cattle numbers do not increase. Wild horses are not properly managed like cattle or even wild game whose populations are controlled by hunting. Feral and estray horses likewise need yearly roundups and shipping of excess animals. MANAGEMENT.

  40. This is so disgusting! Cattle are far more destructive to our public lands and our global threats and this is scientifically proven. Crippling our American Indians into slaughtering wild horses for dog food with further disgrace and identify these private nations with a very degrading stigma worse then the gambling joints. Who ever came up with this is disgusting. The horses in Wyoming many with ancestors dating back millions of yrs would be destroyed and then” survival of the fittest”, for future strength of the species would be greatly threatened. I will never visit Wyoming again if the wild horses are wiped out. I think beef is on the decline Andy mankind needs to have beautiful places to visit where these magnificent animals run wild and free. I have Never felt so betrayed as I feel about this current administration that will allow this.. it is like no one with a conscience or intelligence is running this country.

  41. Remer the buffalo, the same thing is going on here in different ways to cover the end goal witch I believe we all know is kill the horses to make more cattle and sheep grazing possible , the bottom line is a few are going to make billions of dollars at the expense of the horses just like the Buffalo of or past ,this is America’s land , the people should have a large say in this sorry ass crap going on !

  42. This really sounds like it’s all about the cattle. Very similar to the hunters and the wolves being persecuted I am in agreement with we the people believe the horses AND the wolves should be allowed to be left alone period. GREED (cattlemen) and KILLERS (hunters) are just like our political environment — USELESS SELF SERVING A–Holes !!!

  43. Let’s address the real issue here, the European demand for horse meat is at an all time high. They banned horsemeat from Mexico as the meat was tainted, i.e. dewormer, bute and other medicines we give our domestic horses. What cleaner meat than the wild horses that have been given nothing, rounded up and sent to Canada for processing….follow the money!!

  44. These beautiful creatures deserve to stay and people stop taking their land and lives. Seriously. Destroying their lives?! When will all the cruel non sense stop?!? It won’t stop here. Whatever needs to be done to save them should be done

  45. The WFHBA now at its 50th year needs to be restored along with the herds of legally protected wild horses and burros together with their legal habitats. What has and continued to happen to these is a shame and a disgrace to America. The Reserve Design approach to wild horse/burro conservation needs to be employed. I will obey the true intent of the WFHBA and result in truly genetically viable populations in commensurate truly viable year-round habitats. And by properly containing these the equids would fill their respective niches and along with their mature social units, called bands for horses, naturally self-stabilize their numbers, because these are what population biologist call “climax” species and are capable of doing such. The ranchers must pull in their horns and learn to share the land and freedom with such magnificent and ecosystem-balancing and restoring species that are deeply rooted in North America, their cradle of evolution.

    1. Craig: Ranchers control their herd sizes and do not allow their herds to grow year over year – feral and estray horses are not properly managed until the populations become excessive – then a roundup and off to the feedlots they go – management of herd size is a must. In addition, native wildlife ( not introduced animals ) should have a priority for forage on the high desert – deer, elk and antelope.

  46. Yep once again the Cattle Ranchers are in charge of the BLM and the average Taxpayers don’t have any voice on what happens to the Taxpayers land and Wild Mustangs along with the Burros. Why is this happening? Why is their no investigation being done? Our beloved USA is being taken over by the wrong groups and people. I have no trust in our government and feel very sorry for my children and grandchildren. May God Watch over all people and creatures because we will need help.


  48. “It is the Will of the People of the United States and THE WORLD to continue to let OUR WILD HORSES REMAIN WILD and Free-Roaming. An easier Population Control Tactic is similar to CHINCOTEAGUE’s “WILD HORSE ‘PONY PENNING DAY”: Every July 4th, wherein REAL LOCAL HORSE WRANGLERS ROUND UP, HERD & CORRAL LOCAL WILD HORSES & THE TOURISTS THRONG TO EACH LOCATION, Staying a week or two to watch the local roundup, observe the capture of horses, to show the Public that the BLM is kind & humane…Separating Stallions, Separating Mares With Foals from Single Mares, Separating Weaned Foals from their Mothers …and holding a RAFFLE/BID/AUCTION of weaned Foals, adult Mares with Foals, Adult Single Mares, Adult Geldings, Adult Wild Stallions (to reputable Breeders wishing to strengthen the AMERICAN MUSTANG Bloodline and other Breeders wishing to HYBRID bloodlines (similar to what the English Thoroughbred Breeders did with the three Foundation Arabian Stallions cross bred with English Thoroughbred Mares)…Wild Horses were ALWAYS on American Land, from the very beginning of EQUINE Creation. The Spanish Horses were not the Original Indian Cayuse. Chief Joseph’s Original Appaloosa Ponies have NO SPANISH BLOOD IN THEM. DNA TESTS prove that! Horses have ALWAYS been indigenous to Native Land. White Man’s Cattle are the invaders. Beef cattle raised for the purpose of slaughter for Human Consumption need to be monitored by the USDA, not the BLM….Let the Rancher’s BEEF CATTLE be monitored, fed, and watered in the BLM Mustang PENS, and let the FREE-ROAMING MUSTANG HORSES RUN FREE back on their PUBLIC LAND, where they have ALWAYS BEEN, long before the WHITE MAN INVADERS or ANY OTHER INVADERS ever set food on NATIVE AMERICAN LAND. It is the Will of the People & the Tourist Industry & World Health to keep Meat Cattle penned and monitored in pens, for HEALTH REASONS, & MUSTANGS Monitored, running free, on OUR PUBLIC LAND, because once the invasive cattle are removed and safely penned (in the old BLM Mustang pens, Nature Will right itself, & the Prairie Grouse (also a Native Species, just like the Indian Pony is a Native Species) will thrive once again! Great for Tourism, great for COMMERCE, great for the SPIRIT of THE PEOPLE of the World. (Keeping invasive MEAT CATTLE in pens that were once containing WILD HORSES is safer for the meat, assuring the Safety of our World Consumers from ‘MAD COW DISEASE’. Letting the horses remain free & keeping our MEAT CATTLE Penned & highly monitored in order to invest in the World Beef Consumer AND the World-wide “WILD WEST TOURISM” is good for our U.S. COMMERCE & ENERGY INDUSTRIES. It’s just common HORSE SENSE! 🐎🐮🤠🐎🇺🇲🏛️🗽

    1. Julian: Thank you for your comments!!! So it can be done !!! Yearly or bi-yearly ponie penning ( roundup out here ) with vet care, sorting and auction of a few excess animals. Could you come out west and show us how to do it?? And no horses going to feedlots and a rare bloodline preserved and the people love it – 50,000 spectators a year – Custer State Park gets 20,000 per year – professional, caring management with health care at no cost to the horses – WOW.

  49. Lee Campbell – We know that both Trump and Biden ordered additional roundups and they didn’t care what the BLM studies showed. The sheer numbers of horses being gathered shows that something is very wrong and I’m totally in agreement with what the wild horse advocacy groups are saying is the problem. The increasing numbers of grazing permits for cattle tell the story here. As for Deb Haaland, who used to speak out against these roundups, I would ask what now has changed your mind. Could it be Biden silencing his first native American cabinet member. Somehow I see a similarity between what’s happening to the horses and what the white man did to Haaland’s people. I expected much better from her.

    1. Madison: I sure hope Biden isn’t silencing our first Native American cabinet member. Native Americans have a reverence for the land we whites don’t have and I have been curious about how that reverence will play during her tenure. A FOIA request would provide hard evidence if Trump and/or Biden ordered a wild horse roundup which would be a circumvention of Environmental Impact Statements and BLM Resource Management Plans – the courts have ruled against Presidential circumvention on other matters too – a PUBLIC PROCESS it should be.

  50. “There’s so much misinformation in this article, I’m surprised you published it. Where did your data come from? Wild horse herds do not increase by 20% per year – it’s more like 5-8%. PZP fertility darting can be done in the field by trained teams – as amply demonstrated in Nevada and, to some extent, Colorado. Please provide detailed documentation to support your claim that sage grouse populations are radically decreasing. Independently gathered data would be nice – gathered by someone other than BLM. Who counts them and how is that research conducted (method). It is a fact that many of these horses are shipped into Canada and sold for horse meat for human consumption. This, in spite of BLM’s solemn policy promise that they will make every effort to place them with private owners, sanctuaries, or will pasture them for life in comfortable surroundings. Have you seen those “long-term holding pastures” and the condition of the horses who are jammed in there?
    How many employees at BLM are deeply involved or invested in livestock interests or businesses?
    When does BLM do their assessment of available grazing areas to issue or renew grazing leases? Immediately after a gather? Fewer horses = more room for cattle and sheep?
    Last, but certainly not least, I would urge taking a lesson from history…..follow the money.
    These roundups are conducted in large part (and sometimes totally) by those with a deeply vested interest in livestock. Cattoor and their helicopters, livestock trucks and trailers, livestock ranchers providing both short and long-term holding.
    Something smells….and it’s not horse manure. Follow the money.

    1. H.Pickett: Ranchers roundup their livestock on the public lands every year, wean them and ship the calves for their yearly income – this process keeps the number of cattle from growing year over year. With wild horses, there is no yearly roundup and subsequent shipping of excess horses in order to keep the population constant – thence they grow in numbers. Custer State Park in SD conducts a yearly roundup of buffalo, weaning and auction of excess animals – it works. Management!!!

      1. This is the way we treat non game animals. Even tho we have found remains of horses in North America that are as recent as 5 to 7 thousand years ago. The political viewpoint won’t adjust to that. Nor does it matter politically that horses evolved here. Or that horses changed the recent history of the Americas. The history of the horse is still being discovered and written. We have now recognized species that are recently extinct. We should not take a species, beloved and already protected and given land and allow a non wildlife government agency to manage this species to extinction. Our wild horses have never been properly studied. They have been well adapted to the West. They help prevent grass fires by keeping grasses trimmed. They will not overgraze like cattle but graze and walk up to 20 miles a day. Rewinding is based upon wild grazers moving along as they eat to prevent overgrazing. We allow sheep and cows to overgraze and to foul and pollute our precious water by not keeping them moving. Why do we promote Northern European
        Food animals on our delicate deserts?

        The Bureau of Land Management will not promote creative alternative answers for our wild horses and burros. They just keep removing them and pushing them to maximum reproductive rates on smaller and smaller portions of their own lands. The educated and experienced public sees this and objects. We have been destroying bloodlines and historically sensitive herds for over one hundred years where ever grazing and water can be found. We have learned that meat animals are contributing a huge percentage to global warming. We feed more food animals than people! This is not a system that can continue. Yet we are standing still in the midst of environmental disaster. There are answers and there can be great innovation and creativity if we allow it. Corporate cattle and dominance of public lands has gone too far. Instead of being the last to adjust to needs our public uses of public lands and water need to set an example of innovation and progress away from corporate capitalism on public lands. Preservation and protection of our public lands is more important now than ever. Allowing profit motivated polluters destroy lands and water, wildlife and many finite resources is not the way our public resources need to be managed. This all needs to end. Our wild herds can be enjoyed by the public if we are allowed to create opportunities for them to be saved, protected, studied, viewed and loved as the icons they are. Why are we competing with corporate polluters on our precious public lands? Remove the corporate cattle and stop building oil era pipelines across herd areas as if nothing lives there. End fracking. Study our ecology across the West! Study our companions in civilization, the horses we rode in on! Promote science and understanding of our Earth. Change attitudes and goals.

          1. Marilyn: We do have wild grazers who move on – they are called deer, elk and antelope who migrate many miles to winter on the high desert. These migration routes have now been fully documented by researchers and Game and Fish – they just need forage when they arrive on the high desert. Feral horses and estrays are introduced animals and not native, true they roam vast areas, but not to be confused with our true migrating, wild grazers.

        1. Havent seen your comments in a while! I agree completely. And the issue of the BLM’s handing out $1,000.00 to people who take (adopt?) a wild horse was and is absolute idiocy! Rewilding? Europe seems to be very successful at this – seems like an excellent idea to me. Yet this country is doing its very best to exterminate one species after another – i.e., wild horses, wolves, on & on.

      2. Your response fails to address the purported reason for the current gathers. BLM cited habitat degradation and seems to suggest that horses are solely responsible. As far as I can see, there has been no reduction in the number of domestic livestock animal allowed in these same “degraded” areas. Why is that? Follow the money.

  51. I usually support farming and livestock, but this is deplorable. We need to demand from BLM actual numbers on how much public lands are being utilized by ranchers for private gain and stick it to them. I still can’t, for the life of me, understand sheep herds in that country…..way too little grass. I would say that sheep do way more damage than any horses would, and therefore highly contribute to reduction of natural resources. And if the tribes start using them to run a meat plant, I’ll never donate another dollar to any of them. This leadership is utterly worthless in Washington, and I frankly don’t think they’ll do a thing to stop this as they are all in their positions to make bucks, write memoirs, and act important though they aren’t. Sad state of affairs all around.

  52. The current round up numbers were ordered first by Trump and then Biden doubled down and allocated many more millions to increase the number of horses collected. The BLM is taking orders from the Biden administration so appealing to the BLM gets nothing. Horse advocates need to go after Biden with more than just emails or letters. We need a much higher visibility action that grabs the public’s attention. I have no trouble telling Biden that he will not get my vote specifically over his treatment of the horses.

    1. Madison: Sec. Haaland is over the BLM under the Biden administration and she comes from New Mexico and is an enrolled tribal member with very extensive experience in western natural resource issues. She recently visited Wyoming. lets give her a chance – I feel comfortable with her abilities and feel confident she understands the wild horse matter. Lee

    2. Madison: The Presidents can’t circumvent the established public review processes set by Congress such as Env. Impact Statements. Trump immediately approved the Keystone XL pipeline thus circumventing the EIS process but the Federal courts ruled against him and the pipeline project lost its permits and died. The public review process must be followed including BLM Resource Management Plans which set wild horse populations.

  53. The BLM has gone through a methodical analysis of the carrying capacity of the high desert range using “best available science” in their RMPs – these decisions on stocking are not arbitrary and capricious!! The wild horses are being reduced to the stocking level previously determined through an open public process; and, the domestic livestock carrying capacities ( generally in Animal Units per Month – AUM ) are also determined during the RMP revisions – its all very methodical.

    1. The BLM rarely updates any science and more rarely does any science with independent scientists. The science blm uses cannot be published in a scientific journal because it is In House and not valid.

      1. Marilyn: This is why it is so important to participate in RMP revisions – generate your own best available science utilizing independent consultants and submit to the BLM during open public comment – that puts it on public record and it must be considered and replied to – PARTICIPATE in the public process and bring your arguments forward – to Federal court if need be – that is the system – go for it. Lee

        1. My involvement spans more than 50 years as I was one of Wild Horse Annie’s kids in the 1950s. I know the system and advocates like me have been cut off at every turn we tried to use to legally make changes and create a better situation that saves lives through management. I see everything coming around again for the 3rd or 4th time. The public that cares and the advocates who stand up to the blm are rebuffed and told they are stupid and emotional. It is absurd because aside from thousands of active amateur and thousands of professional horse people, none of us are taken seriously. I find your responses trite and misleading. You fall short on your views like so many. The Wild Horse and Burro Program needs to stand alone and be without blm and to employ horse professionals and to become a science active and science based organization that uses the best in the field to create data and use it to make wildlife and wild horses safe and understood where they live. Your implications, like the blm and rancher myths, are just unreal. Wild horses can and have regulated their own populations to the available resources for hundreds of years. Yet blm has conveniently destroyed through removals most of these independent populations in recent years. The removals began long ago in the early years of the WH&B Program. Did you know that family bands were removed from the Gros Ventre range adjacent to the Tetons back in the 70s? The public has never been welcome or invited to be a part of the fate of our herds. Not for lack of trying on our part. This is the problem with a corporate minded government. The needs as well as desires of the public are ignored. Public lands and their uses need to be a part of the public consciousness and reality. Corporate presence excludes the public just as grazing on public lands has become permanent and ugly and destructive. The present disconnect is costing the people precious resources and ignoring preservation that is needed and must be implemented soon in order to save and protect these wild creatures and lands we love. There needs to be hearings and there needs to be reform away from the failed system we have at present. But even this legal avenue has been closed as if government is always right and should never be challenged. Change needs us to challenge the way everything has drifted away from the accessible and the public’s right to know and be involved. Stop all round ups! Implement a renewable 20 year Moratorium on roundups and remove blm from management. Create new, science based management by employing science professionals in the field and invite the public to see and support wild horses and burros as well as all wildlife present on the original lands the public gave our wild horses to live on in safety. End round ups and end wild horse slaughter. mar

          1. Marilyn: Your comment ” Wild horses can and have regulated their own populations to available resources for years” means they are abandoned on the open range without supplemental feed – which results in starvation and death. These horses need supplemental feed just like cattle, elk and sheep get in Wyoming – please spend the winter in Rock Springs caring for them.

  54. Dennis K. I like your terminology “degradation on the range” – it accurately describes the under lying issue here. In order to prevent degradation, both wild horses and livestock need to be carefully managed – the ratio of wild horses to domestic livestock is determined when the BLM generates their Resource Management Plan – the RMP is governed by the various Federal laws passed by Congress such as FLPMA ( Federal Land Policy Management Act ). I encourage everyone to participate in the RMP revisions which allow for full public participation – this is the established method of decision making and you need to participate regardless of which side of the wild horse issue you are on.

    1. Even if we had 100,000 wild horses why are we afraid of the numbers across 10 Western states!? Blm is notorious for not having a sound basis for population numbers. They use a number above the locally observed population so that they can remove all of them if they can catch them. This is about pulling the wool over the eyes of the public!

  55. One other comment: It really funny that this is the first time I have seen Republicans concerned about damage to sage grouse habitat–they don’t give a damn about the much greater damage to it done by oil-gas-rancher industries! This is what is known as hypocrisy!

  56. You are removing too many of the wild horses and yet the allotment for grazing if cattle and sheep has not been reduced the 70% you are reducing the mustang. This is just another way of keeping the grazing allotment and from the figures increasing the grazing allotment. Are you trying to say the cattle do not have an effect on the birds, sage grouce ? Really I do wish ya’ll published exactly how much if the grazing rights were allotted. Guess that would not be helpful in making your slanted point. Reduce the grazing rights by 70% and then come back and request the horses be removed.

    1. Dianna: Wyoming Game and Fish is right in there advocating for a percent of the forage to be allocated for wildlife. That is to say, a certain percentage of the forage is allocated to wild horses, a certain percentage to domestic livestock and a certain percentage to wildlife ( if there’s any left ). Very competitive out there on the high desert for scarce resources. Lee

        1. Marilyn: If science is not happening you should have an easy argument in Federal court and prevail – please advance your own best available science to Federal court and PROVE science is not being utilized when establishing wild horse population goals – the BLM publishes their RMP revisions and a simple FOIA will get you all the inside info you need to prevail. Off to court Marilyn – prove it.

          1. Over the course of our fight to protect wild horses from blm we have been told that we cannot put independent scientists in the field to study and collect data. We must go through a newly beefed up process that is designed to discourage the study of our wild horses. This makes it impossible for the people to defend our wild horses with science. Prove it! You bellow over and over again! We know what we know and blm has made a brick wall to keep us out at every turn. The law has been twisted and the horses have been openly abused by purchase by kill buyers. Information on buyers and on the trucking and numbers of horses is information not even FOIAs can uncover. If we could access information, all information, I think it would cause the extinction of blm. I kid you not.

          2. Marilyn: We had a famous case in our county, the Frank Robbins case, where a FOIA request resulted in 178 documents that indicated BLM employees in Worland colluded and conspired against Mr. Robbins to such an extant that his attorney, Karen Bud Falen was able to sue under FEDERAL RACKETEERING law and win in Federal court in Wyoming and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver!!! Think of that – Federal employees involved in racketeering. So Mr. Robbins experience was that FOIAs work. I don’t see how BLM can deny you access to the Federal land and the wild horses – are they claiming that studying the horses is harassment of the horses – they can demand you stay on established 2 track roads but you have open access on horsebacks. What specific access are you being denied??
            I recently commented on the Moneta Divide oil/gas field water discharge permit and submitted my best available science to DEQ and BLM. The Wyoming Outdoor Council however destroyed the oi companies $500,000 best available science with their own best available science – the WOC new exactly how to counter the so called best available science of a consulting firm from Pennsylvania and I mean they destroyed their arguments. And, the WOC has lawyers on staff with many years of experience. The right experienced people know how to prevail. At one time, about 30 of us landowners walked into the BLM office in Newcastle and asked to see records about leks and hawk nesting sites on private land they were showing in their RMP. We specifically asked if they were open public records and whether or not we had the right to see the information, They replied it was and immediately produced the information we requested without hesitation. It answered our questions and indicated it came from Game and Fish not BLM employees collecting data on private land without our permission. My experience is that the right approach works and it is possible to submit meaningful science during the public comment period and in Federal court.

          3. My rancher friends on the High Island Ranch have numerous livestock losses to grizzly bears, black bears and mountain lions. They submit their losses to Game and Fish for compensation for depredation losses. However, each and every kill must be fully documented with a signed affidavit by the livestock owner – and, a Game and Fish biologist must examine the kill to confirm it was a grizzly kill – and, photos and video are taken of the loss. The point is, when it comes to issues involving public land and money – only full documentation establishes the validity of someones allegation – opinion and someones word means nothing – it has to be hard evidence witnessed by several people and sworn to. For some best available science, no, make that most best available science, only a PHD and years of experience and publishing establishes credibility – my opinion means nothing – show your credentials or you won’t be taken seriously – and this applies in Federal court too. There’s thousands of opinions out there – how do the agencies and courts determine which ones are credible???? Credentials and experience.

          4. Marilyn: Why you need credible experienced PhD level scientific studies to prevail during the comment period and in Federal court. 1.) Western Watersheds had a volunteer collect water quality samples in the Big Horns for several summers in an attempt to prove degradation of water quality by livestock grazing. Then then took the information to Federal court where it was opposed by the livestock industry. During the testimony, it was revealed that the water sampler had no formal training in water sampling and was not qualified. The whole case was thrown out because the water sampler had no credentials. Our conservation district samples water, but our water samplers attend a short course and are certified – they have credentials. 2.) I once read a petition to list he pygmy rabbit submitted to the USFWS by Western Watersheds. I was really impressed at the time and thought they had done a good job presenting their arguments. However, it went no wheres with the USFWS. Looking back at it, their scientific data just wasn’t of sufficient quality to persuade the USFWS – some of it was observations by summer students under no controlled conditions. On the Federal level, it needs to be damn good. Your wild horse arguments won’t prevail unless they are of the highest quality – opinions and allegations mean nothing. My opinion means nothing – I don’t have a PhD. You must retain the best available scientists – and that isn’t cheap – and, they must understand that they will be your expert witnesses in Federal court.

    1. I love horses with all my heart & I know our wild mustangs are being grievously treated. It is a scientific fact that cattle are much more destructive to grazing land & that they hugely outnumber horses. The BLM has never treated horses & burros with respect; their endeavors are costly, mostly inhumane, & inefficient. Are the federal lands the ranchers use for the livestock subsidized by our tax dollars? If so, they have a lot of gall or hubris. Also, beef is a hugely overrated & not very healthful food.

  57. The BLM never addresses their livestock program and the overpopulation and overgrazing by livestock. The BLM continues to use wild horses and burros as a scapegoat in order to continue with their relationship and paybacks from the livestock industries and oil and mining industries.

    1. Tammi: Angus’s article contains a reference to the BLM’s ” pending management plan” ( in blue letters in the article ) which is the RMP revision which addresses stocking levels in southern Wyoming. It is the latest public review document concerning wild horse population levels. Please read – this is how the BLM makes these decisions on population numbers. IT IS A PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PROCESS.

  58. What a sham, how about all the cattle and sheep trespassing on government land where the horses live.

  59. These feral horses need to be removed. They overbreed and every year just more and more on the range. Many people that support the horses have never been to Wyoming or anyplace where they run free. They haven’t seen the degradation of the range due to the horses.

    1. Federal lands are meant to be utilized by all. Wildlife, ranchers, recreationists. Believe it or not it can be . It must be done responsibly by all.
      Inaccuracies in the article and comments which follow it show a lack of knowledge of the facts in several areas.
      The wild horses are no different than other wildlife. They must be managed in a way which preserves the species and habitat. To let them reproduce without management is irresponsible to the welfare of the horses and the environment. Letting the public, the majority of whom have no real knowledge of the wild horses and the country they range, fueled by emotion, is as irresponsible as no management.
      The number of cattle and sheep that are allowed on public lands is strictly monitored by the government. The ranchers can not just run as many sheep or cattle as they want. If they do, they can lose their grazing leases. Overgrazing of the range both private and public can put a rancher out of business. In reality, ranchers are not subsidized for grazing of the public lands. They pay grazing fees to do so. In addition, they are constantly working on improving the water sources there. This benefits the ranchers’ animals as well as the wildlife and recreationists. The cost of running livestock of public lands is not cheap.
      The communities which are in areas of the wild horse bands see far more economic benefit from the ranchers than they do the people who visit the wild horses.
      The wild horse issue is emotionally charged but common sense and facts should prevail.

      1. Judy: Superb comments and you are the only other commenter to mention multiple use of the public lands and the WILDLIFE FACTOR ( DEER, ANTELOPE AND ELK ) who share the same public lands and need forage too. Generally speaking, a lack of discussion about wildlife , except sage grouse – wild game is a huge factor here and its being ignored by wild horse advocates.

      2. Science and law should prevail. Public lands are for everyone. Westerners who promote old stories and myths to deny wild horses and burros the lands the public gave them are being exclusive and possessive of something they want to own outright. We are losing public lands to corporate interests. I have seen this in many states. Public lands should not be given over to polluters and frackers. Cattle pollute water and over graze and force elk and deer to move away from water. It is a cycle we watch here every year. Cattle and sheep denude the land cause erosion. There are books on this. It is fact.

        1. Marilyn: You’re absolutely right” Science and law should prevail’. Unfortunately, this can only be verified by going through the Federal court system. Please argue your best available science in Federal court – its time for you to put your money where your mouth is. PROVE YOUR SCIENCE IN FEDERAL COURT. That is the system and the law. You have an excellent chance of prevailing – I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you won. Lee

  60. Just a reminder about how fragile the high desert plant community is especially in these drought years. Considerable forage needs to be left for antelope, deer and elk especially in those areas where they migrate to. Over grazing by both wild horses and domestic livestock is always a possibility – not a highly productive landscape so go easy on it and leave plenty of forage for antelope, deer and elk.

  61. It seems to cost a lot of money, going into a few people’s pockets, to manage the herds by helicopter round ups and then containing them in pens for many years. There seems to be more cost effective ways to manage the herds. There does appear to be an unrealistic number of livestock to maintain an ecological balance. Maybe increased tourism for the herds could help fund feed and water resources for the horses. Surely a few water wells would cost less and be more productive to other species than building more ‘holding’ facilities.

    1. I was to the sand basin and there are at least 3 points of water that can be repaired. I was and am willing to start a group to raise the funds. But everything needs to be approved and in the meantime horse’s are removed because of no water or food security. It makes no sense to me

      1. Rachael: There are considerable funds available through your local USDA office and Conservation District. These grants typically pay at least 50% of the cost of water improvements. However, the BLM may be very difficult to work with – many ranchers I know use these funds for their private land but avoid water improvements on the public lands because of BLM bureaucracy. Money is available though. Please ask.

      2. Rachael: Its possible to secure 50% of the financing through USDA and your local conservation district – then apply to the Wyoming Wildlife Trust Fund for additional funds – and then to wild horse advocacy groups for more funding. You could almost raise all of the money through this well established funding mechanism. Sharing the funding is very common – how about the Nature Conservancy helping. Lee

      3. Another thought Rachael: Your USDA District Conservationist is basically an ag engineer who does the engineering design work for water projects FREE. He/she will calculate the dirt yardage, the pipeline requirements, etc. and give you an estimated cost for your project at no cost to you. They are placed in your community by USDA to assist with a multitude of conservation projects and literally can be the answer to your aspirations for horse water. Try them. Lee

      4. Rachael, I keep thinking of things: The USDA office has tremendous map generating capabilities and can print out color maps at any scale for your water project. When you apply for funds you need a design, a cost estimate and maps showing where your water projects are located – they can do all of that for you – but don’t forget the need for really nice color maps. Yes, YOU can get water to the horses. Lee

  62. The range is being overgrazed. That is the problem which needs to be addressed. For starters ranchers need to charged a realistic amount per AUM to graze their livestock on public lands. The wild and free roaming horses are also a burden on the carrying capacity of the land. As a non-native species they should be maintained at reasonable level so as to not damage the range. When addressing the issue, you need to also consider that allowing the horse herds to grow comes with a cost which the general public is bearing.

      1. Thanks Lee,

        I actually wrote a Law Review article about the issue in 1981. 16 Land & Water Law Review 525. Unfortunately I do not believe it had any long lasting impact.

    1. Since the numbers of wild horses has been steadily declining by removals since day one of the wild horse and burro program, what you are saying is moot. The fewer wild horses and burros we have the louder blm yells there are too many when in fact, there are not too many and blm has failed to protect and manage wild horses on their own range. Blm has successfully lowered the overall population of our wild horses resulting in thousands of our protected horses going to slaughter and thousands being adopted and abused. Domestic horses are abused also. No horse knows what it’s fate will be in our society. Most horses end badly, in slaughter, old age abuse and neglect. Not to mention the tens of thousands who are put down because of injury or illness.

  63. I understand that some day the land will not be able to feed all grazing life for animals such as wild horses are the choose ones to go to make room for people’s livestock and the ranchers will eventually shoot and kill these wild horses that are feral. We do have wild Mustangs that roam free and represent the American history that deserved to be free as they were born why couldn’t you DNA the wild horses and if the DNA shows Mustang, Then set the Mustang free and if a feral horse to be auction but not to be sent to a dog food factor that is inhumane. Only remove the feral horse out as it be auction to this may take longer than expected but it’s a continuous work effort to create government jobs through out the years for the removal of feral horses without slaughtering them and keeping our Wild Mustangs of our American History free as they once lived in the U.S. before the colonialism arrived

    1. The true wild mustang has a extra vertebrae in lower back
      something that passed in the genes of the True Spanish Barb no other equine carries this.

      1. Ramona: I didn’t know that – it is very, very important. That being the case, wild horse herds should be managed for true wild mustangs as a seperate bloodline and basically a seperate species. Right now our wild horse herds are a mixture of feral and estray horses which do not represent a rare bloodline needing protection – I would prefer to see special horses protected, not common horses.

    2. Feral is not an accurate term. Most feral horses released on public lands simply die. DNA has been done in many herds and there is often 70 to over 90 % Spanish genetics. This does not matter to blm. When they removed the West Douglas herd, an historic herd that was created by Spanish explorers, they ignored this. Most herds have been here for hundreds of years. They are returned natives. Not feral at all. Feral is a recent state of being released with no claim to the land or management. Feral is most often temporary to the lifespan of that animal.

  64. Pay the Tribe $1-2 per day per head to manage the horses ON the Public range. Now there’s a Public / Private partnership that would / could / should create a “traditional” source of revenue.
    They could generate tourism income, In-Situ adoption revenue and afford to eat bison instead of horse meat.

    1. Lyn, Yes to tourism! But get field biologists out there permanently and sack blm. Advocates and the aware public have been fighting to protect wild horses and burros from the depredations of blm for the life of the WH&B Program!

    2. Holy cow-racist much? What makes you think the ‘Tribe’ wants to deal with the horse issues anymore than they already are? Why do you think they are talking about building a slaughter facility for dog food on the Res? It would not be too many feral horses would it? and Which ‘Tribe” are you going to pay 1 to 2 dollars a day per head-because the horse issues are not confined to Wyoming. Are you going to pay all that money to the Shoshone/Arapaho or do other tribes near or with wild horse populations get a cut too. Are advocates going to get to tell the “Tribe” how to manage populations-because clearly at least some tribes think slaughter-the bug a boo of adovcates is a solution. 2 dollars a day to ‘manage’ them on public lands is roughly 63 MILLION dollars a year to manage the population as it stood in January without this years foal crop. Puts all the screaming about waste of taxpayer money in a completely different light for sure.

  65. The WY state legislature is laughable! They come up with the most ludicrous statements! Putting a dog food plant on a reservation? If I were the Shoshone and Arapahoe, I would be offended by such a demeaning statement! And, how about we the people bill ranchers when their cattle trespass onto horse HMA’s and wander into areas that they are not suppose to be in? Can these legislators be any more ignorant?

    1. The livestock doesnt “wander” onto HMAs – the grazing allotments already exist ON most of the HMAs – I believe there might be a couple HMAs without livestock, but not many. And as someone else said – this sudden concern for sage grouse is “nice” – but no concern for the damage livestock does – still!

  66. These round ups are BS! 80% of the public DO NOT want this to happen! No science here! We’ve canceled our vacation to Wyoming because of these round ups! We here in NM are sick of the BLM’s control over the Public Lands! The bLM does as it pleases and should be defunded for supporting rancher NOT THE PUBLIC!

    1. Thank you David Rockwell, Bruce Rocheleau, Tammi Adams, Dianna, Kathy Gaddis, M. Gayford, Vicki Marcus, Lyn McCormick, Peggy Conroy and Frances Gurney
      for your accurate and straightforward comments.
      The BLM removes wild horses to make room on our public lands for private herds of cows and sheep. Period.
      Cattle are the number #1 degradation to the land, not the horses. Science based.
      I am out on the range once a week— I’ve seen the destruction.
      Cows cause severe land degradation, water pollution and biodiversity losses.

      What is missing from this editorial piece is the fact that the majority of wild horses after they’ve been chased, tormented, and removed by helicopter from their land that is rightfully theirs by law, end up in long term holding pens … feedlots, really. The iconic wild Mustang, a symbol of freedom, who helped build this country, are treated disrespectfully by the BLM agency in the end.
      Very few get adopted out.
      The BLM Adoption Incentive Program is broken. There’s proof of our American Mustang’s being thrown away, ending up in kill pens.
      This write up by Angus is nothing short of giving a platform to ranchers so they can tell their favorite lies.
      Disappointed in WyoFile for this put-on attempt to try to show both sides of the issue.

      1. 🚩🚩🚩 🆘 Exactly! Why haven’t we heard of any “so called Wild 🐎 friends” in Congress call for an immediate Oversight Committee to investigate “our governments” ongoing blatant animal abuse of the 🐎 and their family bands including fragile foals terrorized and chased by hired wealthy “animal removal contractors” 🚁 with millions of our tax $$$ ? The Bureau of Land mis-Management does nothing to earn their pay, why is the new Interior Secretary Deb Haaland “silent”? The Biden/Harris administration = a huge disappointment, can we assume most elected politicians are more concerned with $$$ coming from 🐂 and fossil fuel industries and do nothing to protect the🐎 and the ongoing roundups to extinction from their public land 🏡 😪😡

      2. Lynn: Don’t forget our deer, antelope and elk herds which occupy the same land and need their share of the forage. They are not an introduced species – the original inhabitants I believe – lets keep their welfare in mind. Lee

    2. David: Stocking levels must be supported by “best available science” in the BLM’s RMP revisions – these plans can all be appealed and challenged in Federal court – they must hold up to the highest level of scrutiny – and that can only be achieved via sound science. Their numbers are all public documents which you are welcome to review at any time – OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS AND PARTICIPATION. And, you can go to Federal court if you so desire. Lee

    3. David: When it comes to questioning the BLM’s stocking decisions in Federal court it normally comes down to “our best available science” versus “your best available science” You must have compelling, legally sound, persuasive science in order to prevail. It isn’t a matter of opinion in Federal court – its a matter of documentation and sound science. This is a serious matter in Federal court and your argument must be well prepared.

  67. Just look at the numbers. A few thousand wild horses on 245 million acres ofout public lands vs millions of livestock, oil/gas wells,mines, etc. How much money
    is spent by these same entities paid to politicians and lobbyists?
    There are orders of magnitude of difference here.Who gets the money and how is it translated into action?????

  68. And, then there are the wind farms and transmission line projects going through priority Sage Grouse habitat. But, that’s OK if you’re a multi-billionaire backing the projects, with Federal support of course.

    1. This is pathetic. They are saying that with 3.4 million acres they still need to round up and remove horses? In this article they also said there are only 3,500 horses. How can that help. There would be over900 acres per horse. Why do they have to waste taxpayer money on this?