Recently you received a letter from the Division Chief of the BLM, Don Glenn (see below) stating that certain field people as well as the Nevada Dept. of Wildlife had witnessed mustangs in the Calico Complex in groups of 30-50 leading the BLM to believe there were at least 600 horses out in this region. Also recently , wildlife ecologist Craig Downer did an over flight of the southern and central portions of Black Rock East, Black Rock West, the Calico Mts. and Granite Range hma’s. In this he counted only 31 horses as opposed to 350 cattle in those same regions. In the first week of June, I toured most of the 5 hma’s of the Calico Mt. Complex with two experts including a range manager. We surveyed Black Rock West , the Calico Mts., Warm Springs, as well as the east side of Granite Range, not to mention areas outside of the hma’s for completeness sake.
The range conditions proved to be excellent with more than adequate water yet we found thousands upon thousands of acres of land void of any wild horses. In total we counted 9 horses while observing well over 330 cattle. We found four of the horses to be lone stallions associated with no bands, a very rare occurrence, one bachelor band of two and a band of three comprised of a stallion, mare and a yearling. What water sources were available were cut off from the mustangs, through the abundance of fencing in the areas and found them having to drink from puddles in the road. The stud piles and other sources of horse manure were for the most white in color, ancient in age indicating a once active area but now void of any kind of wild horse activity.
Last year in the month of November, before the gather, Craig Downer and I did an exhaustive survey of all five hma’s , documenting range conditions as well as that of the water sources, along with condition and numbers of mustangs, and a census of the cattle. During that time, again, we found mustang bands separated by hundreds and sometimes thousands of acres yet in excellent condition and the areas from which they came from under populated as far as the horse numbers were concerned. Under no circumstances did we ever find mustangs in groups of 30 to 50, rather we found small bands separated by large stretches of land the largest of which was eight mustangs.
I know it is difficult to observe all wild horses in an area doing only a ground census, nevertheless if 600 horses existed in these areas, in groups of 30 to 50, we undoubtedly would have seen some indication of this. Instead what were found were vast stretches of land with nothing except the sound of the wind.
What is interesting to note is that the owner of Soldier Meadows, who pushed to have the wild horses removed from that area, is seeking approval from the BLM for a wild horse sanctuary where they would shoehorn 1700 wild horses into a 5,200 acres area. This figures to be about 3 acres per horse. This they are seriously considering in light of the fact that they could not tolerate 1922 wild horses in the 500,000 plus acre area of the 5 hma’s from which they were taken, something which is an act of hypocrisy and a total contradiction on the part of the BLM.
How does one express what is going on. It is a scientific fact that the wild horses are a benefit to the range land and its biodiversity based upon there physiological makeup, grazing habits, and over all free roaming behavior. It is just as much a scientific fact the detrimental effects of cattle on the range land and its water sources, yet the BLM have raped the land of its horses and continue to increase cattle grazing in the area, at the taxpayers expense, all under the guise of establishing appropriate management levels of wild horses. Yet nature has been establishing what are considered appropriate management levels of all forms of wildlife including the wild horses for thousands of years, based upon environmental and predatory conditions, and doing an excellent job of it. Yes, there are continual fluctuations of numbers of varying species but all in ecological balance based upon natures mandate.
How is it that the Bureau of Land Management thinks it can take over what nature has been doing successfully. Indeed, the BLM has been a complete failure in their attempts at managing something that doesn’t need to be managed. If the fencing were removed from these public lands, which belong to the citizens of the United States, to allow the free movement of the wild horses, and the horses restored to those areas from which they were taken, balance would be restored as long as the BLM kept their hands off.
As I was leaving these areas where the wild horses once roamed in abundance, I looked out over the expanse in front of me trying to take everything in. It is not an attempt at theatrics to say that all I could feel was a deep ache inside and an immeasurable feeling of sadness in viewing the empty land in front of me. While up in Pryor Mountains and out in the range lands of Nevada, before the roundups, I told myself I wanted to take my grandchildren out to these areas, that they would be able to experience the mustangs in the beautiful manner that I had. Now I question that there will be anything left of the wild horses for anyone to enjoy.
Robert C. Bauer
I spoke to the District Manager for that area yesterday. He told me his field people as well as Nevada Department of Wildlife people are seeing groups of 30 to 50 in different places throughout the Calico Complex. We are confident there are at least 600 horses in the area. We will do a comprehensive inventory in June. We can provide the results when we get them compiled.
Wild Horse and Burro Program