Horse News

Ochoco Natl. Forest Doubles Wild-Horse Monitoring

by KTVZ.COM news sources

Two census efforts set; volunteers sought

This image of wild horses is on the cover of the Prineville BLM’s Murderer’s Creek HMA (Herd Management Area) Wild Horse Gather Plan

PRINEVILLE, Ore. – The Ochoco National Forest announced Monday it is embarking on a new strategy for monitoring its wild horse population for the Big Summit Territory.

This year, two wild horse census efforts are expected to provide a more complete picture of the herd’s condition, demographics and location.

A herd count has been done annually for many years on the forest. However, officials said, it is challenging to cover all of the territory and outlying areas where horses are thought to frequent in a single monitoring effort.

Horses are reported to move into many remote sites and canyons.  An accurate numbers count will provide needed information for the development of the new Herd Management Plan.

This new plan will replace the existing one, which is more than 40 years old. Many conditions outlined in the present plan have changed over the years, forest officials said.

The Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition has a long-standing partnership with the Ochoco National Forest in monitoring the Big Summit herd.

This June, as in the past, the coalition will bring volunteers to help with their census ride.

“The efforts of the coalition have contributed greatly to the Ochoco National Forest’s administration of the wild horse herd,” the announcement said. “This year’s two-prong monitoring effort, to add a second census ride for two days in July into outlying areas, is expected to compliment the efforts that the coalition has coordinated in the past. ”

There is much interest in the herd, the forest officials said, and with additional volunteers to support a second census effort, the forest can make a better determination of the overall health of the horses, try to determine how many are actually on the landscape and what possible interactions they are having with the land and resources.

The forest is working with Discover Your Forest to recruit volunteers for the July effort.  Those interested in helping can contact Stacey Cochrane, Community Engagement Director, DYF at (541) 383-5530 or

For those interested in further information about the program, please contact project team leader Tory Kurtz at (541) 416-6500 or

5 replies »

  1. FINALLY!!! Out with the archaic guesstimates and in with more accurate censuses! This is an excellent example of what happens when public officials choose to work with us advocates instead of against us. 😀


  2. This sounds like a sensible plan – assessing and updating a policy that was set 40 years ago in the light of actual wild horse numbers and recent, validated scientific knowledge – including guidance re genetic inheritance and minimum numbers to ensure a viable and healthy gene pool for the future.
    However, a 2 day visit riding through the area that is thereby expecting to gain valid assessment of range health and thereby identify contributory factors – both pro and con – seems like an unrealistic expectation…


  3. I was in the Big Summit wild horse herd mgmt area in April and saw ten of the horses in one band followed by a dark stallion and then a lone stallion. I spent a couple days there, but these were my only direct sightings. They were very nervous and tore off at sight of me, the stallion issuing a high scream as the band ran up a steep forested slope. I am suspect of persecution by people whenever I see this kind of panic among wild horses. I am also very concerned about how few horses I saw and the AML is way too low. More should be done to bring this level up and give them more of the forage. The ranchers here need to learn how to share!

    Liked by 2 people

Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.