I am in the Worland WY BLM office parking lot waiting to go out to the Fifteenmile Roundup. It is much colder this morning and overcast. It is my understanding we are going to the same observation point as the previous two days which is 1.5 miles from the trap and where we cannot see the horses going into the trap.
We are on our observation spot on the horrible hill waiting for the helicopter to bring in horses. It was muddy on the roads after the storm. So far 428 horses have been captured since 10/17 with two roundup related deaths. You can follow the information on the BLM website here: https://www.blm.gov/wyoming/2019-fifteenmile-gather
There is snow on the surrounding mountains and some of the rock formations here.
First group of horses just came into the trap. A family of pintos and a group of mostly darker colored horses led by a gorgeous palomino stallion. They went into the trap. About 40-45 I think. A pinto family of 8 broke off and took off running the other direction, they have a beautiful tricolor pinto foal and big stallion bringing up the rear. They knew how to get away but the helicopter just went after them.
Seven more horses were brought in by the helicopter, then it stopped to refuel. We had a long wait then suddenly heard the big palomino stallion that we so admired when he came in had escaped and one member of our group saw him run away!
It is starting to snow a little, little balls of snow as we watched another group of horses about 20 being driven int the trap. Included were the 8 member pinto family who ran away earlier in the with cutest pinto foal.
A small group of 8 horses went into the trap, then the helicopter was gone a long time before bringing a group of about 30 horses plus in front was a small family of pintos, including a faded grey pinto foal. They took of the other direction from the big group, so while the helicopter was busy moving the big group in, they were headed for the hills. Now the helicopter has refueled and is heading after them. We are getting sun, snow, clouds, sun, rain, repeat today.
As the helicopter went out to get the escaped pinto family and drove them most of the way into the trap and them we saw the pinto stallion who had been bringing up the rear run out by the vehicles. The helicopter moved him back around and we think finally into the trap. Then a rider went out and we heard later that another adult horse had escaped, but the rider did not capture him.
In the last group of the day were three dark colored bachelor stallions who went one way, and a Pinto family with 6 members who went the other. The helicopter tried to get the pinto family into the trap for over 20 minutes, fling close over and over. We could not see th trap, just the gyrations of the helicopter. Clearly all this was not working, and finally the helicopter flew away and the horses headed for the hills.
We did not have to wait any time at all to go observe the horses in the temporary pens. We drove right over and found out that 112 horses had come in. We found out that the palomino stallion had jumped out of the “keeper” pen. That is the pen that the horses who might get released at the end were in.
We also found out that three horses died today. We were told that one stallion had a severely deformed leg, another stallion had a very serious infection and that the third was a mare who died due to the capture.
We were unable today to see the mare have trouble in the trap or the palomino jump out, or the pinto family being driving over and over at the trap because our observation point is 1.5 miles away and we have no view of the horses going into the trap. This is not meaningful observation – this is being put as far away as possible with a token very far away view of the horses running from the helicopter sometimes if not blocked by butte, wash, or hill. It is very frustrating to have to guess at what is going on – this is not helpful to the horses who are the reason I am here.