Horse News

BLM Double-Talk Targets CO West Douglas Wild Horses, Again.

The few remaining wild horses in Colorado just can’t catch a break.  For years we fought via lawsuits to stop the assault and efforts of the BLM to zero out the few horses in the area (in favor of cattle and extraction interests).  But even after they managed to decimate the herd and break apart the families of wild horses, last year, they still launch propaganda and a mush-mash of bogus numbers and misstatements to ramp up ire towards the equines while they contradict themselves through-out this mainstream media mouthpiece.  It is all truly unbelievable…if we, as advocates, pushed forward such tripe and BS we would be flogged and assailed by the powers that manipulate the press to the point that we would never be relevant again.

False News at it’s finest, or should we say lowest?” ~ R.T.

Unedited story by By Gary Harmon as published on The Daily Sentinel

Wild horse herd reduced a year ago is already growing again

A mare watches as she and her foal walk through the sagebrush in the Texas Mountain area west of Colorado Highway 139 south of Rangely in August 2015.

A mare watches as she and her foal walk through the sagebrush in the Texas Mountain area west of Colorado Highway 139 south of Rangely in August 2015.

A year after the Bureau of Land Management removed 167 horses from the lands around Texas Mountain west of Colorado Highway 139, the herd has grown, possibly to as many as 212 horses.

The agency conducted a horse gather in September 2015 for the 167 horses, an effort that left about 200 horses in the 128,000-acre West Douglas Herd Area, which is not managed for horses.

BLM officials conducted a count five months later using a helicopter and made a direct count of 177 individual horses.

Factoring in reproduction brings the estimate to 212 horses on land that the BLM deems suitable for a maximum of 30 horses.

“If anything it’s probably an underestimate,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “In country like West Douglas, you probably don’t see them all.”

In theory, there ought not be any horses in the rugged West Douglas area for the lack of summer range in the rough-and-tumble territory, but the lack of predators for wild horses leaves man to deal with their populations.

The natural predators of horses — dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions — all died out in the Eocene Epoch, which ended 39 million years ago, along with the horses of that time. Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their populations.

“What’s controlled these wild horse populations has been people all along,” Boyd said. Wild horses “are not part of this natural ecosystem.”

No more gathers are scheduled in the West Douglas areas, but the BLM hopes eventually to gather all the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, along with an estimated 100 outside any territory associated with wild horses, and place them in the 161,300-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.

“We want to bring the population inside the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area to within the population range of 135 to 235,” Boyd said.

Piceance-East Douglas is now estimated to have 458 wild horses.

West Douglas and Piceance East Douglas are separated by Colorado Highway 139, and more significantly, miles of fencing along the roadway. Wild horses won’t jump fences, which means the horses won’t leave West Douglas without human help.

To keep the existing herd on the Piceance-East Douglas area, the BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed wire near Duck Creek to keep the herd inside and to redevelop a spring on the north side of the management area to provide a reliable source of water in wet and dry years.

25 replies »

  1. Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their population – really? Could it be that there are no predators because the ranchers & wildlife services killed them all?????????????.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Honestly – there were NO wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, sabertooth tigers even! That article is just a bit overkill – as in bull!


    • Of course there were predators, although the country was in the process of eliminating them.

      Just wanted to wish everyone a belated happy holidays. I do love the season, but this year there was a pall around it for me. How RT and everyone can keep a positive and hopeful outlook is something I need to resolve to do as well. Negativity does no one any good.

      Anyway, best wishes for the New Year everyone!

      Liked by 2 people


    Limiting BLM’s power – Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar
    Just this past month a federal court in Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar, No. 06-1609 (D.D.C 2009), shut down BLM’s efforts to assert even more power over the wild horses and burros. The BLM maintained it had the discretion to remove an entire herd of horses even if they were not “excess”. The Court determined, to wit:

    ‘[t]he principal problem in maintaining wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area is a major shift in wild horse grazing use patterns that has occurred since the early 1980’s. …It is probable that intense energy exploration and development occurring in the northern part of the herd area has concentrated use in the south….This change of use has resulted in overgrazing the Texas Creek drainage, and horse use in Missouri and Evacuation Creeks that are not a part of the 1971 herd area…. Accordingly, it is this shift in the West Douglas Herd’s grazing patterns, likely caused by human development, and not overpopulation, that formed the basis for BLM’s decision to remove the West Douglas Herd.’

    The Court concluded, to wit:
    It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free roaming horses and burros to “manage” them, Congress intended to permit the animals’ custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by capturing and removing from the wild the very animals that Congress sought to protect from being captured and removed from the wild.

    Defendants argue that the horses will not be “eradicated” or “eliminated” inasmuch as BLM intends to continue to manage the horses not in the wild but through private adoption or long-term care. …But BLM’s directive is “to protect and manage wild free-roaming horses and burros as components of the public lands . . . .” 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a) (emphasis added). Congress did not authorize BLM to “manage” the wild horses by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off of the public lands.

    Upon removal for private adoption and/or long-term care, the West Douglas Herd would forever cease to be “wild free-roaming” horses “as components of the public lands” contrary to Congress’s intent to protect the horses from capture.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “BLM will never stop the roundups on its own. Never. The only time it has been thwarted is when citizens have gone to federal court to fight it, and those victories are few and far between. Unless BLM is lassoed, hog-tied and forced to change, there is no chance in hell the prevailing anti-mustang sentiment in the bureau will ever do things differently.”

    George Knapp,
    Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter for KLAS Channel 8 in Las Vegas

    Liked by 4 people

      • “And with Trump coming into office I fear” the decimation of nearly EVERY thing will be accelerated! Perhaps this will include the BLM itself? IF Trump is even aware of the existence of our wild equines, we can hope to distract him and his weird cabinet into thoughts of how equines actually do increase and protect the value of the range ecosystems? ((someone should be aggressively coaching Ivanka quickly) ). Although with the infamous Rickperry overseeing nuclear energy and safety, (with his agriculture BA, rather than a physics doctorate) – at least it’s not DoI/BLM, since he wanted to openly SHOOT burros between the swingsets and picnics in the state park – if any species survives him at all? Heaven help us with whoever is chosen for those positions; I don’t know whether a total moron or an educated-but-oblivious banker would be better… Maybe Mrs Pickens should be suggested (she has the qualities to attract his attention, ie. rich beautiful powerful) and he won’t know that her interest in wild horses is to save them – Yet?


      • Sorry for my admittedly extreme cynicism, as I am NOT finding much personal enthusiasm for the coming year(s) or administration, especially today! Forgive me for any hurt feelings and I’ll shut up…



    There is no authority for BLM’s “herd management areas” under WFRHBA
    The BLM has authorized itself to divide herd areas into “herd management areas”, something not authorized by WFRHBA. 43 CFR 4710.3-1. In this way, with no statutory authority at all, BLM has limited wild horses and burros’ access to thousands of acres that were historically their herd areas. This is done without thought about the horses’ seasonal migration patterns or available resources. The BLM then removes wild horses and burros from the artificially created “herd management areas” on the basis there is insufficient forage, water or habitat! BLM also targets them for removal if they cross the artificial boundaries into their original herd areas.

    While BLM has authorized itself to create divide herd areas into Herd Management Areas, its own regulations provide that “management of wild horses and burros shall be undertaken with the objective of limiting the animals’ distribution to herd areas, 43 C.F.R. § 4710.4.”Herd area” is defined by regulation as “the geographic area identified as having been used by a herd as its habitat in 1971,” 43 C.F.R. §4710.4.
    Neither WFRHBA nor FLPMA authorizes BLM’s multiple use concept for all herd areas

    Liked by 2 people


    The BLM is required by National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq., to prepare Environmental Assessments or EAs or, if indicated, Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), for any proposed changes to public lands that may have a significant environmental impact. The law directs the agency to identify environmental concerns, consider alternatives including no action at all and take a “hard look” at the problem and minimize significant environmental impact. A significant environmental impact includes actions that are likely to be highly controversial or have uncertain effects on the quality of our lives and that affect cultural and historical resources. 40 C.F.R. §1508.27(b).

    These evaluations as well as land use plans are full of words but have little substance when it comes to stating why wild horses must be removed from their homes. It is what is not in these documents that is telling.

    Liked by 2 people


    Neither WFRHBA nor FLPMA authorizes BLM’s multiple use concept for all herd areas

    Another example of BLM’s erosion of the WFRHBA protections is the rewording of the WFRHBA mandate “[a]ll management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level”. BLM’s regulation says “[m]anagement shall be at the minimum level necessary to attain the objectives identified in approved land use plans and herd management area plans.” 43 CFR 4710.4, 16 U.S.C. §1333. Two very different laws. So if a land use plan authorizes a land giveaway or increased recreation or mining, “management…at a minimum level” can mean round up and removal, according to the BLM.

    The BLM’s job is undoubtedly complicated by the mandate of the Federal Land Policy Management Act, which requires management of public lands under concepts of multiple use and sustained yield. 43 U.S.C. §§ 1701, et seq. But the multiple use concept does not trump the WFRHBA protections for wild horses. In fact, the statute makes clear that the protections under WFRHBA take precedence. FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. § 1732 (a) Yet, despite this, BLM has issued a regulation that provides “[w]ild horses and burros shall be considered comparably with other resource values in the formulation of land use plans.” 43 C.F.R. §4700.0-6(b).

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Check out this “journalist’s” own biography by clicking on his name on the newspaper article, where he proudly claims a professionally honed case of ADHD. Since when does journalism approve of an article that only quotes a single source, and false historical facts? The natural predators of horses have always included wolves, bears, mountain lions, and coyotes (mostly foals), all these still exist but are ruthlessly persecuted by humans. It’s hard to accept this fellow is pulling down a paycheck for such “work.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Having ADHD, Asperger’s, or autism doesn’t really have much to do with a person’s intelligence or common sense. There are many people who struggle with these disorders but are incredibly well-spoken and educate themselves on the issues. Obviously, that doesn’t apply to everyone hence why this person does not seem to fit that criteria at least from how he put the article together. But I agree that his quote on predatory animals was laughable. Gary, next time you see mountain lions crunching carrots instead of carcasses, come back to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed, I too found this a cynical description which takes a swipe at those with legitimate diagnoses. This fellow would be more accurately described as “journalistically impaired.”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I usually try to refrain from public name-calling … but I can sure think of some “names” for the author of this article. If for no other reason (and there are others), than his statement, “Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their populations” the author shows his ignorance about predators in general and especially predators on wild horse and burro areas. Without going into detail, I will just say that I personally (and other reliable observers also) have seen mountain lions and results of mountain lion attacks on wild horses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • IF there were there were NO large predators at all – then why hadn’t the bison and elk and deer and antelope and etc – already spread and eaten the entire continent down to bare rubble and dust way BEFORE the Europeans invaded??


  9. As for BLM wild horse and burro population counting … here are a just a couple examples from recent years:
    Carter HMA -California
    Total population was 7 horses and those 7 had 88 successful surviving foals in ONE year (a 1257% increase).
    Buckhorn HMA – California
    Total population was 71 horses and those 71 had 168 successful surviving foals in ONE year (a 237% increase).
    Saylor Creek HMA – Idaho
    Total population was 5 horses and those 5 had 30 successful surviving foals in ONE year (a 600% increase).
    These are only a few of many, many mathematically and biologically impossible statistics stated by BLM’s population counting. Why do they do this? Because they use these bogus statistics to try to justify and to acquire funding for captures/removals.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Would the recently approved (by S. Jewell) new transmission line have any bearing on these herds? The preferred route seems to bisect the West and East Douglas herds. This project aims to carry wind energy from WY to NV, and only passes through CO so there is no benefit to CO citizens, only downsides.

    PacifiCorp (doing business as Rocky Mountain Power) a regulated public utility, has filed an application for a right-of-way (ROW) to construct, operate and maintain a 500 kV overhead, alternating current transmission line to cross public and private lands for the Energy Gateway South Transmission Line Project. When completed, the Project would transmit about 1,500 megawatts of electricity generated from renewable and thermal sources at planned facilities in Wyoming.

    The project begins in south central Wyoming near Medicine Bow, at the planned Aeolus Substation, and traverses from northeast to southwest across northwestern Colorado to the planned Clover Substation near Mona, Utah.
    • 500 kV alternating current overhead transmission line
    • 250 foot right-of-way width
    • 400+ miles long
    • Guyed steel lattice and self-supporting steel lattice towers,
    • 140-190 feet in height
    • Average tower spans are 1,000 to 1,500 feet apart
    (4-5 structures per mile)
    • Alternative routes affect 17 counties in Wyoming, Colorado & Utah
    • Scoping meetings were held spring 2011

    For more information, please see the proponent’s website at


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