Horse News

BLM to remove wild horses that have wandered off Piceance-East Douglas HMA in Colorado

(Courtesy photo)

BLM approves plan to remove wild horses from outside established area

The Bureau of Land Management today announced a final decision to remove up to 100 wild horses this fall from private land and other areas outside the designated Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area  in northwestern Colorado.
The decision will also allow future gathers to remove wild horses that stray from the 300-square-mile Piceance-East Douglas HMA designated for their management.
“The BLM is committed to maintaining a healthy wild horse population on healthy rangelands in the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area,” said BLM White River Field Manager Kent Walter. “Wild horses that stray from the established Herd Management Area need to be removed to reduce conflicts with other resources and private land under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.”
The BLM will primarily use a helicopter drive trap method to gather the horses from private lands in the Cathedral Creek area. If less than 100 wild horses are gathered from this area, the BLM may elect to gather horses from additional nearby areas outside the HMA.
The BLM currently estimates that there are 210 wild horses outside the HMA within the area covered by this decision, which includes about 773,000 acres in the White River Field Office east of Colorado Highway 139, south of Colorado Highway 64 and west of Colorado Highway 13. The decision area does not include the West Douglas Herd Area, which is west of Colorado Highway 139.
Wild horses removed through this gather will be taken to the Canon City holding facility and be made available for adoption or sale.
The decision record and environmental assessment are available at .

21 replies »

  1. Marybeth Devlin
    To give you an idea of how corrupt BLM is, please understand that they are going ahead with this dangerous helicopter-roundup and removal-operation per the false and misleading information that the “appropriate” population-density for wild horses in Piceance-East Douglas is:
    1 wild horse per 1,408 acres (That’s more than 2 square miles!)
    Please keep in mind that BLM already closed 246,054 acres — 385 square miles — of what was originally wild-horse habitat adjoining Piceance-East Douglas — North Piceance and West Douglas.
    Finally, please consider the following distribution of grazing slots — “AUMs” — inside the wild horses’ dedicated habitat:
    57,105 — 97% — grazing slots (AUMs) allotted to livestock
    1,620 — 3% — grazing slots (AUMs) allotted to wild horses

    Marybeth Devlin
    Marybeth Devlin Per independent research, the normative herd-growth rate is — at most — 5% a year, and that’s even with “no natural predators.” But BLM reports fraudulent growth rates — as high as 1,257% — and warns that the numbers are “unsustainable.” Actually, it’s BLM’s lies that are unsustainable, now that they have been caught.

    To have genetically healthy herds, sufficient numbers of horses are required. But BLM restricts the population of 83% of the herds — including Piceance-East Douglas — below minimum-viable levels. Thus, most herds are underpopulated, despite BLM’s propaganda to the contrary. Wild-horse advocates want the herds to thrive. We want their genetics preserved. Herds need predators, and predators need herds. Without both prey and predators, there can be no “thriving natural ecological balance.”

    Solutions: Increase the mustang-population and protect the predator-population.
    Marybeth Devlin
    Marybeth Devlin If you are relying on BLM’s data to document overpopulation, please know that BLM’s data is bogus. BLM’s Utah’s figures are obviously fake. Below are some examples of biologically-impossible 1-year growth rates reported for Utahn herds. The expected, normative rate is 5%.

    Bible Springs: 153% and 249%

    Blawn Wash: 131%

    Four Mile: 157%

    Sulphur: 87%

    Predators are good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara (or anyone), I am looking for specific AUM allocation comparisons like this, so can you cite the source for this one or any others?

      “Finally, please consider the following distribution of grazing slots — “AUMs” — inside the wild horses’ dedicated habitat:
      57,105 — 97% — grazing slots (AUMs) allotted to livestock
      1,620 — 3% — grazing slots (AUMs) allotted to wild horses”


    • Barbara, I looked this up but am not coming up with the same numbers. Per today’s reports from the RAS site:

      East Douglas Allotments (valid through 2021) = 2,400 cattle
      Piceance Creek Allotments (valid through 2027) = 1,063 cattle

      What is the source of the 57,105 AUM figure listed above? Are there other allotments included, and if so, what are their names, and if they are in another field office perhaps, can you provide those names as well?


  2. OMG. I can’t understand their reasoning. Lately I feel like Alice in Wonderland. I fell down the rabbit hole; and nothing this government does makes sense. They are all a bunch of crazy MF’s.


  3. What’s troubling here is they don’t have anything but “estimates” of horses both in and out of the HMA, and have given themselves permission to round up any and all they decide are “outside,” even in areas where there are no complaints from private landowners. Since these will be conducted using helicopters, who is to know when and where horses are driven to and from? Why not return them to their legal areas, and improve the fences (if there are any?). Why is the only course of action to remove and destine these animals for near-certain slaughter? Why not repatriate some to the now-emptied West Douglas area, emptied after a long struggle between vested interests and the public?

    Here’s a clue:


  4. So now it’s just any excuse to remove and kill these animals. Why the he’ll can’t they restore them to the range where they are supposed to be. Colorado better step up and hers these accruals back into their established area because these sham artists are going to kill them all using any excuse that they think they can get away with. Keep letting them do it Colorado you’re gonna lose the tourists money. If you lose your wildlife there people are going to lose their jobs..ooh well you have the ugly mining and oil fracking business..probably foreign owned real smart move Colorado.. Have another wild fire..


  5. Straying Wild Horses and the Range Landowner:
    The Search for Peaceful Coexistence
    Alfred W. Buckley
    William W. Buckley

    In 1971 Congress passed Public Law 92-195, the Wild Free-Roaming
    Horses and Burros Act, to preserve a vanishing symbol of American
    pioneer heritage. Before this statute was enacted, wild horses and burros
    were in danger of extinction. Today the success of the Act has prompted
    much controversy as to whether wild horses overpopulate the public
    rangelands6 in the Western United States.

    Private landowners adjacent to federal regions often complain that wild horses “stray” onto their parcels and consume their forage and water. While owners have the right to use and enjoy their property free from incursions, Congress intended protection of a living emblem of the Nation’s spirit to be of paramount importance.


  6. WHY have they strayed off the HMA?
    There can be many reasons, all of which must be addressed and corrected.

    Just one example of “straying outside of established area”.

    Underpasses fenced to drive wild burros up onto highways.


    • Remember seeing this picture of a fenced off underpass a while ago – Who is getting away with this – when there have been both overpasses & underpasses built to allow animals safe passage? Something rotten here.


  7. And then there could be another rea$on for removing LEGALLY PROTECTED Wild Horses from Public Lands

    Wild horses & burros being removed for Richfield Tar Sands plan
    Grandma Gregg

    The Richfield tar sands plan has been in progress since about 2010 and if you look at the list below you will see that most of these HMAs (plus West Douglas HA) have been heavily captured/removed in recent years.
    The document goes so far as to say, “the management of wild horse and burro herds is not compatible within those portions of commercial tar sands lease areas”. How much clearer can it be. They want the wild ones GONE.
    TABLE 3.1.3-1 Wild Horse Herd Management Areas within the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Study Area (page 3-167)

    Piceance-East Douglas


  8. The authorized number of Active AUMs for livestock in the HMA — 57,105 — is found on physical-page 37 of the Piceance-East Douglas EA. In the online, pdf version, it corresponds to screen-page 41. Here’s the link to the EA.

    Click to access doiblmcoN0520170056ea_Final.pdf

    For the number of AUMs given to wild horses in their HMA, I multiplied the low-AML — 135 — by 12. 135 x 12 = 1,620. I used the low-AML because it is the controlling number, down to which — and sometimes below which — BLM reduces herds when conducting roundup-and-removal ops.

    For total AUMs, I added the AUMs for livestock to those for wild horses.

    57,105 + 1,620 = 58,725

    For percentages, I first divided the number of livestock AUMs by total AUMs.

    57,105 ÷ 58,725 = 97.2%. I rounded that down to 97%.

    Then, I divided the number of wild-horse AUMs by total AUMs.

    1,620 ÷ 58,725 = 2.8%. I rounded that up to 3%.

    The resulting percentages are: Livestock 97%, wild horses 3%.

    The high-AML is 235, with AUMs at 235 x 12 = 2,820 and total AUMs at 59,925.

    Using high-AML, the percentages are: Livestock 95.3% and wild horses 4.7%. Rounding gives us livestock 95%, wild horses 5%. Not much difference.


    • AND to top it off – we the taxpayers are paying for these “users” so they can get off on the cheap! I sure wouldnt complain at all if we were paying so the wild horses & burros could have a home. But that would mean we have a say in this whole mess.


  9. So what can be done to counter BLM’s lies? Fortunately, my congressman actively supports the SAFE Act, PAST and exposed the FWS for advising people/organizations to pay $500 to unvetted – and often foreign – entities in exchange for FWS permits to harm or kill animals in ways prohibited by the Endangered Species Act. My one senator just says BLM has the right to remove excess animals; the other is silent. Thank you for all your work but all of this has to inform the Interior appropriations committee along with individual congress people. Advising respective governors and state WS may help. Rounding up wild horses to confine them and much worse will result in lower tourist dollars – not to be crass, but money is the only thing they understand. I’ll be seeing the wild ones in the Onaqui and Cedar Mtn HMAs next Saturday – God willing.


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