Horse News

Nevada “Wildlife” Board Wants Wild Horses to Die of Thirst

story by Steven Long ~ Publisher of Horseback Magazine

The Horses Just Can’t Catch a Break in Nevada

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Nevada wild horses and burros could face a thirsty spring if a proposal to the state’s water engineer by the board overseeing wildlife is passed and implemented.

The board will meet at 1 P.M. Monday in Reno to approve a draft letter denying water to the state’s wild horses and burros. The letter will be sent to State Water Engineer Jason King. He serves with the Nevada Division of Water Resources. If the board agrees to proceed, the letter will tell King to notify federal agencies charged by law with caring for wild horses that only animals “designated for beneficial use” will be allowed to drink Nevada water. Those animals include cattle and “wildlife.” And that is the distinction.

To comment directly to the board, follow this link to obtain their published addresses and phone numbers of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners. The commission is made up of a farmer, rancher, five sportsmen, a conservationist, and a representative of the general public.

Horseback Magazine is also running a poll asking readers to vote either for or against President Obama’s intervention on behalf of Nevada’s wild horses and burros to enable them to have access to water.

In Nevada, the Board of Wildlife Commissioners claims that wild horses and burros are “feral” and not deserving of a taste of life giving water. The proposed letter goes on to charge that horses under the care of the federal Bureau of Land Management “are making unlawful use of Nevada waters.” According to Nevada law, water on public lands is designated only for livestock and wildlife. Allowing a national treasure such as the state’s wild horses and burros to drink is “illegal” according to the letter.

The BLM holds around 28 water permits in Nevada for the wildlife under its jurisdiction, however, under the feral designation wild Mustangs would not be permitted to drink.

The issue is complex, and BLM policy makes it more so because the agency also calls wild horses “feral.”

Wild horses and burros compete with millions of cattle who graze BLM lands under leases dramatically lower than market value. The letter says “neither the Nevada Department of Wildlife, nor the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim these animals are wildlife under their jurisdiction. The waters within most of the Nevada rangeland wildlife habitats that are grazed by domestic animals are owned by the rancher and shared by law and cooperation with Nevada wildlife. The federal government has no law that supersedes the State of Nevada’s water law.” The letter cites the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The claim is a stretch. The Tenth Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Wild horse advocates say the horse is a native species reintroduced to its natural habitat. They cite a recent National Academy of Science study confirming that the genus equidae originated here. Some claim the wild horse never went extinct in America. In fact, when Lewis and Clark made their epoch exploration of the west, they bought horses from Indians who had been breeding them for generations.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Nevada is home for the largest number of Wild Horses under BLM jurisdiction. For two years, the BLM has been capturing thousands of them and housing the horses on large private pastures enriching landowners. The program has consumed the entire budget of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Last week, the wild horse program’s head, Don Glenn, quietly resigned without explanation. He was replaced by a longtime BLM employee with no wildlife management experience.

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback and vote on if Obama should intervene!

23 replies »

  1. This is the state that put mustangs on their quarters. The love them or hate them attitude is predominantly hateful from officialdom. This would be, IMHO, a hate crime where one species that has more than one formal description will be squeezed out of life/water on their designated ranges as well as the many places they have gone ‘off HMA’. Off HMA means they may be designated ‘feral astray’ and can be removed and sold at auction.

    Will BLM act to protect as they are meant to as the stewards of the wild horses?? Will the water board so foolishly vote to do this outrage?? mar


  2. This is a load of, well, YOU know….
    Nevada State statutes define wildlife as anything living on it’s own, untouched by human hands (that’s the loose definition).

    “West’s Nevada Revised Statutes Annotated Currentness. Title 45. Wildlife. Chapter 501. Administration and Enforcement. General Provisions. § 501.097. “Wildlife” defined:

    Statute in Full:

    ” Wildlife” means any wild mammal, wild bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild state, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity or not.”

    Which seems extraordinarily un-gray to me. I couldn’t find an exception or addendum anywheres which stated “Except for Wild Horses and Burros, because the tightasses at the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission don’t like them.”

    But I wasn’t really looking that hard, either.


    • Thank you, Lisa. I was going to say something similar. In case Nevada hasn’t noticed, these animals are referred to as “wild” by our government. That means that they are … well … “wildlife…” (Kind of a no-brainer there…)
      As Craig Downer has pointed out numerous times, these horses and burros constitute beneficial species. So, what’s this “water only for beneficial species” nonsense?
      This is just one more way for government appointed and paid employees to get rid of wild herds. Later, they’ll probably cry out “There’s no water for the herds!” and do more “emergency gathers…” Create the problem, then “solve” it with the least possible concern for the wildlife that are supposed to be protected by law.


  3. It isn’t the Wild horses that are a threat to Nevada’s water:

    By Debbie Coffey PPJ GAZETTE

    Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved.

    “Scientists warned that as the Great Basin’s groundwater is drained, desert springs and seeps will dry up, farms and ranches will wither away, and plants and wildlife will die off. The aquifer, which took millennia to fill, will run out.”


    If you read the article “The Mining of Our Aquifers” you may have wondered how the Mining Law of 1872 could be the most current law to regulate the mining industry and its disastrous effects on our aquifers and land.


  4. BLM and the heartless thugs they hire to carry out their dirty work are practicing nothing less than premeditated malice, brutality and murder of the innocent. They need to be charged, tried, and then given “a dose of their own medicine” and let’s see if they still think forcing anyone to die of thirst is a good plan. Bet they change their minds in a hurry.


  5. The Wild Horses of Nevada and ALL states are a FEDERALLY PROTECTED WILDLIFE SPECIES. That is THE LAW OF THE LAND…PERIOD.


  6. Here’s what I’d like to know, why exactly do we believe that humans own the water. When did it happen that we gained all rights to say what creatures can and can’t drink water. It just seems absurd. This whole thing seems to me much like saying, I own the air in my house and I get to decide which of my guests get to breathe it and which don’t.


  7. There are such a small number left at this point to even be considered an impact in any way on natural resources. I guess the Nevada Board is really a death panel. Disgusting.





  9. Where is the thing to VOTE?? Can’t find it on this page.

    My wife and I have been sharing, on FB, all the info we can find on the subject, hoping more people will join the cause. But we need to know where the VOTE thing is.


  10. I read this story with extreme disgust have they all gone MAD………………..This turned my stomach !!!!!!! Are these actually human beings???????


  11. Here are all the name , addresses, emails of the nine member commission. get calling and writing,and emailing !!!!! This is an outrage

    Nevada Wildlife Commission – Members
    Members | Schedule & Agenda | Minutes | Video | Committees | Regulations | Policies
    Board of Wildlife Commissioners




    *Sportsmen (2013)
    90 Nob Hill Avenue
    P.O. Box 812
    Eureka, NV 89316

    (775) 237-7064 (H)
    (775) 318-0506 (C)

    Vice Chairman

    *Sportsmen (2011)
    5100 West Acoma Rd
    Reno, NV 89511

    (775) 852-4636 (H)


    *Conservation (2012)
    748 S. Meadows Parkway Suite A-9
    Reno, NV 89521-4841

    (775) 742-8368 (C)
    (775) 852-6343 (F)


    *Sportsmen (2011)
    2060 Maison Way
    Carson City, NV 89703

    (775) 720-2470 (C)


    *Sportsmen (2012)
    5900 W. Gowan Road
    Las Vegas, NV 89108

    (702) 561-0928 (C)


    *Sportsmen (2011)
    2216 Timber Rose Dr.
    Las Vegas, NV 89134

    (702) 401-1848 (C)


    *General Public (2012)
    6681 Escondido
    Las Vegas, NV 89119

    (702) 306-2835 (C)


    *Ranching (2013)
    HCR 33 Box 33920
    Ely, NV 89301

    (775) 591-0404


    *Farming (2011)
    HC 72 Box 02200
    Dyer, NV 89010

    (775) 572-3154

    Attend a meeting or contact the board with your ideas and concerns.
    The 9-member, governor-appointed Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners is responsible for establishing broad policy, setting annual and permanent regulations, reviewing budgets, and receiving input on wildlife and boating matters from entities such as the 17 county advisory boards to manage wildlife.

    *Denotes the area of interest which the commissioner represents, followed by the year their term will be complete.

    Copies of correspondence should be sent to the secretary’s office at 1100 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512.


  12. I heard about this a few days ago and couldn’t believe it. China wants to “save” their ecology by destroying ours, and make money in the bargin, all with the blessings of corrupt politicians … AND BOB ABBEY!

    Headline: “War on trees: Harry Ried, Ag Extension Agents, and Chinese biomass companies promote liquidation of old growth forests …. in Nevada

    “Pinyon and juniper trees, demonized by ranchers, miners and water mining entities, are being eyed by Chinese “biomass” companies with the backing of politicians.”


    Has anyone else read John Hersey’s “White Lotus”? It’s called: “The chillingly possible story of a white girl (and untold thousands of other Americans) taken into captivity (and shipped to China as slaves) by the Chinese who have conquered America … Hersey’s finest novel – likely to haunt you for the rest of your days!”

    “White Lotus” HAS haunted me – as a piece of fiction – since I first read it in the 60’s. Now, in my mind, Hersey’s fiction has morphed into a “cautionary tale” that makes me fear for future generations.


    • Destroying habitat and disrupting the lives of a place by removing the climax plant species central to the creatures who live there is proof we have put science aside for money. When this kind of disregard gets official go a head, the place is doomed. We all lose. mar


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