“Below is unedited information from the Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) Oregon Office. Don’t be duped into believing all that you read as an unpublished motive for conducting this cruel stampede is to collect “fresh” mares in various stages of pregnancies to experiment sterilization techniques upon at the Hines, holding facility. They are currently bait trapping horses in the South Steens area and will be chasing the Three Fingers horses around with helicopters commencing at the end of this month.
2016 Three Fingers Wild Horse Gather
The Three Fingers Herd Management Area (HMA) is 25 miles south of Vale, OR. The HMA is bordered on the west by the Owyhee Reservoir, on the south by the Leslie Gulch Road, and on the north by the Owyhee Dam. The herd population is currently estimated at 202—the Appropriate Management Level for the area is 75–150 wild horses.
Details of Gather
Our overall goal is to maintain a thriving ecological balance of the Three Fingers HMA, surrounding rangelands, to maintain the integrity of Soda Fire rehabilitation efforts and to preserve the health and well-being of the Three Fingers herd.
THREE FINGERS HERD MANAGEMENT AREA: TOTAL GATHER STATS
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Several factors have influenced the decision to gather. The most urgent factor is the impact of wild horse grazing on fire rehabilitation projects. The 2015 Soda Fire that burned nearly 280,000 acres in Idaho and Oregon did not burn into the Three Fingers HMA. However, because the herd exceeds Appropriate Management Level (AML) and due to extended drought conditions, the Three Fingers herd is grazing well outside the HMA into the area affected by the Soda Fire while searching for increasingly scarce forage and water. Protecting these fire rehabilitation areas is necessary to prevent the spread of exotic annual weed species that can potentially convert the area to a weed dominated community. In addition, the heavy horse grazing outside of the HMA is jeopardizing the health of surrounding rangelands, wetlands, wildlife habitat and ultimately, the health and well-being of the horses themselves.
Fertility control treatments will be implemented for this gather because of the need to reduce population growth. Although summer application of Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP), an equine immunocontraceptive, has lower efficacy rates than winter applications, there is still a benefit of using this fertility control.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to gather 100 wild horses from the Three Fingers HMA and return 50 horses (25 studs and 25 mares) to the range for a population of 152 horses with the HMA following the gather.
Gathers of this HMA typically require an average of two to three temporary traps and one holding facility. Traps are typically 800 square feet in size and holding facilities are approximately 2000 square feet. Trap wing configuration will vary, depending on terrain and materials. Trap sites will be selected during the gather operations. Traps are built as close to the horses’ location as possible.
All capture and handling activities, including capture site selections, will be conducted in accordance within the guidelines identified within the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation which can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/28OA9rm.
Public/Media Gather Viewing Opportunities
The public is welcome to attend the Three Fingers wild horse gather and must read the Field Observation Protocol (PDF) information before visiting. Observation will be held daily during the gather, with a maximum number of 15 people attending each day.
If you are interested in observing the gather, you must contact Larry Moore at the BLM’s Vale District Office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-473-6218) to have your name added to the viewing list. Observation will be offered in order of request. If for some reason you are not able to attend, please notify Mr. Moore as soon as possible so that your slot can be offered to the next person.
The estimated gather start date is proposed for July 26 and is expected to take no longer than four days. Dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations. Some days of the gather may not provide a viewing opportunity at the capture site, due to variable circumstances such as moving the trap location (not gathering), no safe area to view activity or disguise vehicles, etc. Viewings may be canceled on short notice—perhaps the day before or the morning of the gather operation.