“Fake News” and Lies Fuel Debate to Violate Federal Law and Kill Wild Horses and Burros

‘In my most Outraged Opinion!’ by R.T. Fitch

“Is it just me…?”

Secretary Zinke and BLM Plan for Wild Horses and Burros

For years we U.S. Taxpayers, who have decried the excessive removal of protected wild horses and burros from their rightful range, have been deluged with bogus numbers, bad science and just plain bull crap by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and their deep pocketed bed-fellows. Today, we are seeing it reach new heights and becoming even more toxic for the wild horses and burros; it has to stop

It’s bad enough that we have a long time horse slaughter advocate, Ryan Zinke, appointed as Secretary of the Department of Interior, (Remember back in 2009 when Montana Rep. Zinke promoted “Red” Ed Butcher’s bill to legalize horse slaughter plants in Montana? Now he has the reins of the DoI and already is attempting to send wild horses and burros in holding and on the range into mass graves.) But now we have Horse Eaters of the past crawling out from underneath their moldy rocks in an effort to taste the blood of our iconic symbols of the west.

In a recent ‘news’ article, long time Horse Hater and former member of the BLM’s rigged Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board, Callie Hendrickson has reared her horse killer head and assumed the thorny throne of chief disseminator of rumor, innuendo and trumped up numbers.

“The bottom line is we have pushing 100,000 excess horses and we have to do something,” she said.

What the hell? 100,000 excess horses, where did you dig up that number? Have you actually been sitting out on the range with your iPad and taking notes or is that, obviously, a number that was just pulled out of your backside as a matter of convenience?

Nobody, and I mean nobody has an accurate account of how many horses are on the range and the BLM has no interest in counting. Wild Horse advocates who spend time on the range estimate anywhere from between 27,000 to 36,000 wild horss are still on the range and most of the whittled down herds are no longer genetically viable due to the BLM’s unlawful practice of ripping herds apart in direct violation of federal law. So what makes you so special, Callie, and who made you the SME on a subject that you know nothing about.

Oh yeah, and what the crap does “excess horses” mean? What is the definition and where is the data to support such BS? (being rude to bulls, here) This is just the sort of misinformation that the BLM and Zinke are laying on Congress and the Senate in an effort to have the wild horses an burros killed.

Zinke is asking Congress to remove the limits on destroying healthy, unadopted equines or selling them for slaughtering and processing for commercial products; gotta love it and this is all going on in plain view and little is being done to counter it. Where is the outrage?

Hendrickson said public lands will support 27,000 of the animals, but there are 72,000 out there not counting this year’s new foals, as well as another 47,000 in holding facilities, which costs taxpayers $50 million a year for feed and care. Every year, another 15,000 wild horses are being born, she said.

More BS as the numbers change and continue to climb every time you read an article in mainstream news. Where are the documented sources and where is the data? The only number that is close to correct is the number of horses that have been stripped from their rightful range where costs were ZERO, ZIP, NADDA and now are held in herds of broken families waiting for their lives to end. Easy fix; put them back on their rightful range, where you took them from and now allow welfare cattle to graze, and put the cows back on the cattle ranches. Cost = ZERO! Cows on ranches, wild horses on wild horse ranges…simple; make sense?

The horses and burros are coming up to a cross roads as we have never had, at any one point in time, such a concentrated effort to kill all of the horses in holding and murder the remaining horses and burros on the range. That reality is with us, right now.

We must stop this, we need to put this debate behind us and educate our legislators on the fact that the BLM and Zinke are feeding them nothing but Fake News, misinformation and pure unequivocal lies.

The threat is real, the fix is in our hands…please click (HERE) for more information on how to help and make a difference, we can make it happen. We HAVE to make it happen.

Yellowstone and Montana are Killing the Last Wild Buffalo

read more at the Buffalo Field Campaign

“Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo…”

photo – Buffalo Field Campaign

More than 1,200 of America’s last wild buffalo have been killed this winter, and it isn’t over yet. Hunting along Yellowstone’s boundaries has taken the lives of more than 400 buffalo. Hunters are still in the field making kills. It’s a terrible time of year to hunt. The buffalo — like other wild grazers — have used up all of their fat stores, and are showing ribs and bony hips, waiting for the re-greening of the Earth so they can again replenish their huge bodies. This is also the time of year when the long, harsh winter takes her toll, too. There will be many buffalo who will not survive into spring, but the government is not accounting for these deaths in their mad rush to reduce this most significant and vulnerable population. Further, hunters are still killing adult female buffalo who will begin having their calves in about six weeks. All too often, BFC patrols make heartbreaking discoveries of finding fully-formed baby buffalo in their mother’s gut piles.

Additionally, Yellowstone National Park — shamefully complicit in Montana’s livestock industry’s war against wild buffalo — has captured close to 800 buffalo, all of whom have been or will be sent to slaughter. The trap is emptying quickly, though Yellowstone continues to attempt to capture. Recently, some buffalo have resisted these attempts, while others have not been so lucky. On Monday in Gardiner, BFC patrols documented as five Yellowstone wranglers on horseback tried to trap fifty-five buffalo; all but one got away, running to the hills for their lives. The unfortunate mama buffalo who was trapped caught the attention of another family group of twenty-two. Coming dangerously close to the trap, they sealed their own fate as the wranglers, hungry to capture, took advantage of the situation. Hundreds of wild buffalo are gone forever. BFC’s Mike Mease and Stephany Seay attended the second media tour of Yellowstone’s trap last Thursday, where we again witnessed Yellowstone park rangers, wranglers, and biologists doing the service of the Montana Department of Livestock as they loaded wild buffalo onto stock trailers headed for the slaughterhouse, then proceeded to move more through the trap. It has become business as usual for these buffalo abusers, just another day in the park. They tell us that they don’t like doing this, that they want slaughter to end, but their actions say something else. Yellowstone National Park is not without significant power, but they have shown they are without courage. They can stand up to Montana and refuse to participate. But they don’t. Their cold routine of capturing, testing, sorting, and shipping the country’s national mammal to a horrific death — as they don the image of this sacred being on their uniforms and rake in millions from the people who come to adore them — has become just another day at work. They attempt to put the task of change on the public, shirking responsibility for their part in these crimes. While it is true that a current Montana law – MCA 81-2-120 — is the driver behind the cumulative mismanagement plans and practices, Yellowstone should not have the luxury of of passing the buck. The world’s most well-known national park has astounding influence that they choose not to use. Instead, they kill America’s last wild buffalo. By the end of March, this should all be over.

Please continue to keep pressure on Montana and Yellowstone. Do not ease up. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses. Laws, decisions, and management plans can be changed.
* Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk 307-344-2002
* Montana Governor Steve Bullock 406-444-3111

And contact your members of Congress to tell them that this must end once and for all. Congress holds the purse strings and can end the funding…(CONTINUED)

http://buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/yellowstone-and-montana-are-killing-the-last-wild-buffalo

Yellowstone & Montana Can Stop the Bison Slaughter Today

Source: The Buffalo Field Campaign

“Most people who reach these decision-makers are meeting with frustration; being told lies in condescending tones by the governor’s office that Yellowstone is responsible for the slaughter while Yellowstone officials say that it’s all Montana’s fault and there is nothing they can do to stop it.”

This winter’s Yellowstone buffalo death toll has breached one thousand, and continues to climb. Counting the few hundred still trapped inside Yellowstone’s Stephens Creek capture facility and the continued hunting pressures just outside the park, the government agencies will likely surpass their goal of killing 1,300 ecologically extinct wild, migratory buffalo. This does not even include the significant number of buffalo deaths due natural causes from the severe winter. Hundreds of thousands of people are seeing and sharing BFC’s stories and images of Yellowstone’s shameful crimes against wild buffalo. These actions are being conducted with your tax dollars on behalf of Montana’s livestock industry.

This morning BFC will be attending a second “media tour” inside the trap. The atrocious actions we’re witnessing and documenting continue despite thousands, if not tens of thousands, of calls, emails, and letters to Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Most people who reach these decision-makers are meeting with frustration; being told lies in condescending tones by the governor’s office that Yellowstone is responsible for the slaughter while Yellowstone officials say that it’s all Montana’s fault and there is nothing they can do to stop it. As the number of slaughtered buffalo climbs due to their actions, these same decision-makers toss up their hands in mock helplessness. However, they are both responsible and they can both take immediate and necessary actions today to end this senseless war against wild buffalo. These decision-makers work collaboratively within the Interagency Bison Management Plan to devise and carry out agreed upon management schemes, and their deceptive, pass-the-buck strategy of shirking of responsibility is pushing the country’s last continuously wild buffalo herds towards the brink of extinction.

Please continue to make these calls! If you are outside of the U.S., send letters and emails. Be relentless and don’t accept their excuses.
Phone calls are the most effective because they cannot be ignored.

  • Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk, #307-344-2002
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock #406-444-3111

Here are some important points to consider – No agency’s hands are tied!

  • The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) is an *adaptive* plan that allows for change, and part of its goal is to “maintain a wild, free-ranging population of bison.” Capture-for-slaughter is not set in stone. Each agency consents (agrees) to any management strategy set forth in the IBMP, meaning that Yellowstone could object to capture-for-slaughter. Any agency, at any time, can pull out of the IBMP.
  • The Interagency Bison Management Plan has expired, and a new plan is now being considered. Yellowstone and Montana need to endorse a plan that respects wild bison like wild elk in Montana.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock can issue an executive order to stop Yellowstone’s slaughter. He has done so in the past, as recently as this winter, and can do it again at any time.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock can take action to repeal state law MCA 81-2-120 to remove the authority of the Montana Department of Livestock over wild bison when they migrate into Montana.
  • Montana’s livestock industry is a vocal minority. Nearly 75% of Montanans have repeatedly expressed that they want wild, migratory buffalo to be restored in their native Montana.
  • Wild bison are not overpopulated. In fact, they are ecologically extinct throughout their native range. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature have classified the American buffalo as “threatened with near extinction” while the state of Montana recognizes wild, migratory bison as “vulnerable to global extinction.”
  • Wild bison have never transmitted the cattle bacteria brucellosis back to cattle. Only under human-manipulated conditions have any such transmissions occurred. Elk, who are free to roam as they please, have been implicated numerous times in brucellosis transmissions to livestock in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

The one thing — the most important thing — that is never considered by decision-makers is the buffalo’s perspective. This failure enables the human managers responsible for the slaughter to make the decisions they make and carry out the abuses that they do. Wild buffalo have walked the earth for tens of thousands of years. The planet chose them, through millions of years of evolution, to be the creators and caretakers of the grasslands and prairies. The buffalo are our elders, our relatives on this earth. They are not some presence who has suddenly appeared and become a “problem” that humans must manage to death. They do not make mistakes. Humans do. Buffalo were chosen for the job that they do: walking the earth, gently eating the grass, tilling the soil, carrying the seeds, fertilizing the earth, creating habitats for other species, awakening water underground in the aquifers to help bring the rains, and to offer their abundant bodies as food and nourishment for not just humans, but for other predators and scavengers alike–for the land herself. They possess ancient wisdom that has been carried through their memories and blood lines since buffalo time began. They adopt orphans. They mourn the dead. They carry their young in their wombs for nine months. They teach the young. They care for the elderly. They play. They become frightened. They find comfort. They tend to each other. They teach us to be family. They want to live. Once upon a time we listened to them. We have forgotten to listen. The people who cause the buffalo so much suffering have become deaf and blind to their teachings. They have to, or they could not do what they do. But the buffalo are still here, still sharing their wisdom, still offering themselves. But the buffalo have that kind of patience, if they can survive this human culture, they will be there waiting for us to catch up.

WILD IS THE WAY ~ ROAM FREE!

http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bfc-news/yellowstone-montana-can-stop-the-slaughter-today

‘Stop the Yellowstone Massacre’: Group Puts Up Billboards Urging End to Bison Slaughter

as published on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“The most recent update from Yellowstone National Park said that 179 bison had been sent to slaughter….”

photo by Rachel Leathe

photo by Rachel Leathe

Drivers heading south from Four Corners on Highway 191 will now zip past a billboard with a gory scene and a simple message: dead bison, lying in a pool of blood underneath block letters asking people to call Montana’s governor and tell him to “Stop the Yellowstone Massacre.”

The billboard is one of two that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies bought, the other being in Helena. Steve Kelly, a board member for Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the artist who painted the picture, said they hope people will see the signs and pressure Montana Gov. Steve Bullock into blocking the annual shipping of Yellowstone bison to slaughter for the year.

“It’s a horrendous thing,” Kelly said. “He’s the one who has the power to stop it.”

The signs went up this week, arriving after hundreds of bison have already been sent to slaughterhouses and while another few hundred wait their turn. Alliance for the Wild Rockies is one of several environmental groups that oppose shipping bison to slaughter, a practice government officials consider necessary to meet population reduction goals each year.

“The National Park Service needs to address bison overpopulation in Yellowstone National Park,” said Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel in an emailed statement.

The culling of Yellowstone’s bison herd happens because of a 17-year-old management plan rooted in fears of the disease brucellosis. Brucellosis can cause animals to abort their calves, and the livestock industry worries that if bison are allowed to roam farther outside of the park that the disease might be spread to cattle herds, though no case of bison transmitting the disease to cattle has been documented in the wild.…(CONTINUED)

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/stop-the-yellowstone-massacre-group-puts-up-billboards-urging-end/article_1015b71c-c816-542f-835f-b7b4c933c5bb.html

Don’t Slaughter Montana’s Bison

article by George Wuerthner

“As most of our seasoned readers are aware, the main thrust of SFTHH is to bring to the forefront the plight of our American equines be they domestic or wild.  But while being tuned into the misconduct of out of control government agencies we cannot help but be aware of the cruelty rained down upon other wild species such as the Bison, Wolves, Bears, Cougar and even Coyotes.  What is happening to yet another 4 legged treasure, the Bison, is unexcusable and a often witnessed example of government thinking with their pocketbook and not listening to the wishes of the citizens.  Today George Wuerthner shares more information and ammunition in the fight to save the bison.  We applaud his expertise and will move forward as suggested.  Keep the faith, my friends.” ~ R.T.


“Welfare Ranchers go after yet another native wild species…”

bison-slaughterThe Louvre Museum in France houses some of the most famous art works in the world, including paintings by such famous artists as Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

What would you think if you heard the famous Louvre Museum began to throw out and burn in the streets these priceless masterpieces saying they needed to make room for the remaining art work?

How do you think the art world would respond if they suggested that a way to save the art was for the museum to build another wing to house the paintings or even give the paintings to other museums who would gladly accept them?

But instead of following such sensible advice, the French government prohibited expansion of the museum or even the transport of the world’s heritage to other museums and argued the only solution they would considered was to burn paintings? I’m certain it would be an international scandal.

But this is exactly what the Montana government is doing by the senseless slaughter of our national mammal —Yellowstone’s genetically unique and wild bison. These bison are a global heritage that the state of Montana is treating as if they are expendable and valueless asset.

Even the paintings by art masters are not as priceless as the genetically pure Yellowstone bison that are a consequence of a long line of evolution, yet Montana is treating these magnificent beasts as if they were vermin.

Worse, the justification for this butchery is flawed. One excuse is that the livestock industry is threatened by brucellosis, a disease that can cause abortions in livestock. The other major reason given for rounding up bison and slaughtering them is some assert there are too many animals for the park.

Both are questionable assertions, but even if they were valid arguments, there are viable solutions that do not require the destruction of these animals.

Fact: there is no documented transmission of brucellosis from wild bison to livestock. The only examples of wildlife transmission to cattle is the result of elk, not bison.

Fact: Yellowstone’s bison are genetically unique. Most bison herds in the United States have cattle genes mixed into their genome, but Yellowstone’s bison are one of the few genetically pure populations.

Fact: There is an abundance of public land on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest and other state and federal lands outside of Yellowstone National Park where bison could winter or even live year-round.

Fact: There are other large blocks of public land within the historic range of bison that could support herds such as Montana’s Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming’s Red Desert, and the Vermillion Basin of Colorado.

Fact: There are numerous Indian tribes that wish to start or augment their own bison herds if only Montana would allow them to be transported.

Fact: Montana’s livestock industry will not lose its brucellosis free status simply because one or two herds are infected.

Fact: There are brucellosis vaccines that are available free of charge to ranchers that can reduce the chances of infection.

Fact: The only way that cattle can become infected with brucellosis is if they consume or lick an aborted bison fetus. This must occur before the bacteria dies or the fetus is consumed by scavengers like ravens, coyotes, and magpies.

Fact: Even if in theory bison cows could abort and transmit the disease to livestock, bison bulls and calves cannot transmit the disease, yet they make up a high percentage of the animals being slaughtered.

Fact: There is simply no scientific or even legitimate rationale for the continued slaughter of this priceless wildlife legacy. The real reason our collective patrimony is being destroyed due to the intransigence of the livestock industry.

Please call or write Governor Bullock and Montana’s Congressional delegation and ask them to work for a solution that treats Yellowstone’s wild bison as the priceless and precious global inheritance they represent.

George Wuerthner is an ecologist who has published 38 books. He divides his time between Bend, Oregon, and Livingston, Montana.

Ex-BLM Officials Indicted in Elaborate Fraud Scheme

From Illegally Rounding up Wild Horses in Wyoming to obvious corruption within their ranks the BLM just can’t shake the image being a “Criminal Agency”

"I LOVE Horses and Burros, and I am here to help!!!"

“I LOVE Horses and Burros, and I am here to help!!!”

as published in the Billings Gazette

Two former high-level federal Bureau of Land Management officials who worked in Virginia, including a deputy state director from Montana, have denied criminal charges accusing them of defrauding the government in an employment scheme.

A federal indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Great Falls accuses Larry Ray Denny, 66, of Box Elder, and John Grimson Lyon, 60, of Clifton, Va., of devising a scheme in which Denny continued to receive his $112,224 annual salary and benefits as a BLM deputy state director even though he left and never returned to his job.

Rather, Denny relocated to Montana where he contracted with the Chippewa Cree Tribe for drilling and consulting work.

Prosecutors also allege Denny claimed sick leave and regular pay while gone from his BLM job but that bank records showed he visited various golf courses and traveled to Las Vegas, Arizona and around Montana.

Denny, who was deputy state director for natural resources for the BLM’s Eastern States Office in Springfield, Va., pleaded not guilty to four counts during a Sept. 4 arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong in Great Falls.

Denny’s attorney, Penny Strong of Billings, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Lyon, who was the BLM state director for the Eastern States in Springfield, Va., pleaded not guilty to three counts during an Aug. 19 arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Holter. The indictment was filed in July and unsealed with Lyon’s appearance.

Lyon is represented by Evangelo Arvanetes, an assistant federal defender in Great Falls. Arvanetes could not be reached for comment. Holter ordered Lyon to pay $300 a month for attorney fees.

Laura Weiss, a spokeswoman and prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, could not be reached for comment.

The BLM fraud case is the latest in a series of indictments that have come from investigations by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General into fraud and corruption on Rocky Boy’s Reservation.

The investigations already have led to convictions of former state Rep. Tony Belcourt and several contractors who provided kickbacks on federal contracts.

The indictment charges Denny and Lyon with wire fraud, false claims and theft of government property. Denny also faces a count of federal false statements regarding outside income.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon said in the indictment that under the scheme, Denny left his BLM post “with the knowledge and approval” of Lyon, his supervisor, to relocate to Montana to pursue other business interests as a consultant with the Chippewa Cree Tribe and “for all intents and purposes” abandoned his federal job “without relinquishing payment” as an employee.

Lyon is accused of perpetuating Denny’s fraudulent wage claims by approving and submitting false information to the BLM.

The scheme began in about June or July 2012, the indictment said, when Denny told Lyon he needed to return to Montana to “overcome health-related issues.” Denny left BLM’s Springfield office in July 2012 and never returned.

But from July 2012 until March 23, 2013, Denny was paid for 550 hours of regular work, 461 hours of sick leave, 389 hours of annual leave and 72 hours for federal holidays, the indictment said. During that time, bank account activity showed Denny went to golf courses and traveled to Las Vegas, Arizona and in and around Montana.

In a 2012 job appraisal, Lyon rated Denny’s performance as “exceptional,” which led to Denny getting a $3,262 cash award in November 2012, the indictment said.

When BLM employees asked about Denny’s status for business reasons, Lyon refused to provide any information, claiming federal laws about releasing health information prohibited him from disclosing such information, the indictment said.

Meanwhile, in January 2012, the Chippewa Cree Tribe, located on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation in north central Montana, contracted with Denny Technical Services for drilling-related services, including exploration, energy use projects, research on mineral lease agreements, development of drilling programs and communication with relevant agencies.

Denny negotiated the contract with the tribe, while his daughter, Misty Ann Denny, also known as Misty Brooks, executed the agreement, the indictment said.

For a year beginning in March 2012, Denny received about $67,243 from the tribe in addition to his BLM salary and benefits, the indictment said. Of the amount from the tribe, Denny received about $49,000 during 2012 and did not report it on a federal confidential financial disclosure report, the indictment said.

The indictment also includes forfeiture allegations seeking a money judgment of $112,302 and other property that may be traced to the alleged crimes.

If convicted, Denny and Lyon face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud charge.

Both men were released pending trial. The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Billings Gazette

Montana horse breeder begins sentence for animal cruelty

Source: The Missoulian

“…five horses, some malnourished, with tight plastic bands that had caused severe leg injuries. Two died and two were euthanized…”

James Leachman

James Leachman

BILLINGS – A Billings horse breeder has begun a 120-day animal-cruelty conviction sentence after the Montana Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito says 72-year-old James Leachman turned himself in at the county’s detention center Friday.

Leachman operated a horse breeding business before the U.S. Farm Services Administration foreclosed on the property in 2010. Leachman still kept more than 400 horses on the property after it was sold.

Investigators discovered five horses, some malnourished, with tight plastic bands that had caused severe leg injuries. Two died and two were euthanized.

The Billings Gazette reports Leachman was sentenced to five years in jail with all but 120 days suspended.

Leachman has asked a judge to allow him to serve his sentence at his home for health and other reasons.

Wild Horse Island: A real treasure in state park system

53dfc0d6dcff3.preview-620
 Horses graze on a ridge of Wild Horse Island high above Flathead Lake earlier this summer. Photo Kurt Wilson/Missoulian
DAYTON – Wild Horse Island State Park on Flathead Lake is one of the real treasures of Montana’s state park system.

To make a perfect summer day, you can sail or kayak to the massive, mostly undeveloped island and swim, fish, hike or watch wildlife to your heart’s content. The island is three miles long, but is very hilly and the landscape alternates between grassland and forest.

At 2,164 acres, Wild Horse Island is the largest freshwater lake island west of Minnesota. Salish and Kootenai Indians are thought to have used the island to keep their horses from being stolen by other tribes. Today, a population of about five wild horses, a herd of mule deer and about 100 bighorn sheep inhabit the island.

Since it was sold to the state in 1978, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has managed the animals to keep the population of horses and sheep at a level the habitat will support. The island is managed as a primitive area and overnight camping, firepits and pets are not allowed. Groups of 15 or more must get a permit, and a state-tribal fishing license is required from the Flathead Indian Reservation.

The state has six sites it recommends for public boat landings: Skeeko Bay, Eagle Cove, Rocky Bar, Driftwood Point, Osprey Cove and East Shores. All the docks are privately owned. There are 52 private, circle-shaped lots on the island. There is a public, unisex solar-powered composting toilet at Skeeko Bay.

Wild Horse Island map

The waves on Flathead Lake can turn surprisingly big in open water, and weather can change unexpectedly. Almost every year, boaters without life vests die on the lake. Anyone traveling to the island should have life jackets and, if possible, a partner.

There’s just one trail on the island that connects Skeeko Bay to an old homestead. An old stone fireplace is all that is left of the three-story Hiawatha Hotel that was torn down on the east side of the island in the 1990s. It’s also a fantastic trip in the spring and summer when there aren’t as many people around.


Location: The island – at 47.84715 latitude, -114.23458 longitude – is located near Big Arm State Park on the western shore of Flathead Lake. It is most easily accessible by boat from any public dock along U.S. Highway 93. Dayton is a good place to launch.

Distance/duration: Depending on wind conditions and your endurance, a kayak trip to the island from Dayton can take 45 minutes, sometimes much longer.

Difficulty: Getting to the island is easy, as long as you wear a life jacket and are aware of any dangerous weather conditions that might arise. Always check the forecast, and be sure to pack out any garbage you bring. For more information, visit stateparks.mt.gov/wild-horse-island.

Ranch Owner Relieved Over Failure of Montana Wild Horses Bill; Plan Dies in State Senate Committee

Source: By Francis Davis of The Montana Standard

“They’re all ages, all sizes, all colors (ALL GELDED). We’re excited to have them here.”

The ranch owner who manages the only long-term holding facility for wild horses in Montana breathed a sigh a relief when a Senate bill that would have required the state to develop a management plan for the horses died in committee on Tuesday.

“We’re very relieved,” Karen Rice, the owner, along with her husband, Greg Rice, of the Spanish Q Ranch, told The Montana Standard on Wednesday. “It would have added another bureaucratic process that isn’t necessary. There’s already a management plan in place. There was no reason to reinvent the wheel.”

Along with a management plan, Senate Bill 402 would have required the Montana Department of Livestock to charge a fee of $100 on each imported horse or burro.

There are 700 horses on the Spanish Q, but the original contract between the BLM and the Rices was for a total of 1,150 horses.

A retroactive clause was stripped from the bill, but the additional 450 horses would have cost the Rices an extra $45,000.

A BLM spokesman said it will be at least a year before any more horses are shipped to the 15,456-acre Spanish Q.

“We won’t be sending anymore until at least next fall (of 2014) ,” said Lili Thomas, a BLM wild horse and burro specialist. “We want to take a conservative approach and see how this works out.”

Another reason the BLM has limited the shipment of horses to 700 is that Paulette Mitchell, who leases the Rices about 3,000 acres of land, has filed a lawsuit to keep the horses off of that part of the Spanish Q.

The trial date for the lawsuit has been set for May 14, 2014.

Currently, the horses are being held only on land owned by the Rices, but the rancher said she hopes to get approval from the state to allow the wild horses onto the approximate 1,200 acres of land the Spanish Q leases from the state.

“We’ve leased land from the state for 44 years,” she said. “And we’ve had cattle on it before.”

Rice said she has been disappointed by the reaction of some of her neighbors, four of whom have filed appeals to keep the horses off the Spanish Q, but Rice has also received support from other neighbors who border her ranch.

That support includes Claudette and Creyton Hughes, who own 7L Bar Ranch and have been neighbors with the Rices since 1969, according to a notarized letter sent to the Interior Board of Land Appeals in support of the Rices.

“We have a lot of support that isn’t talked about,” she said. “(The bill) was an attempt to control what we do and it would have taken away from the life of the Montana rancher.”

Rice also said her family intends to take good care of the horses and the land, and that she sees the wild horses as a way for her to keep the ranch in the family. The Rices are receiving $1.36 per day per head. They’ve owned the ranch for over 40 years, she said.

“We take good care of our land and always have,” Rice said. “The horses do graze a little bit different than cattle, but we’ve been told that the horses have a better effect on the riparian life because they will drink and move on, unlike cattle.”

Currently, the horses are in a holding pasture as they acclimate to one another.

“They’re so exciting to watch,” Rice said. “They’re all ages, all sizes, all colors. We’re excited to have them here.”

Click (HERE) to visit the Standard and to Comment

Montana Wild Horse Bill Fails in Committee

Source: By Francis Davis of The Montana Standard

Wild Horses take heat even after capture and gelding…
Yet ANOTHER two bit state politician that knows NOTHING about Wild Horse and Burro issues

Yet ANOTHER two-bit state politician that knows NOTHING about Wild Horse and Burro issues

A bill that would have required the state to develop a management plan for wild horses imported into Montana was voted down in committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 402, sponsored by Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings, was defeated 6-5 by the agriculture, livestock, and irrigation committee.

Besides a management plan, the Montana Department of Livestock would also have charged a fee of $100 on each imported horse or burro.

Van Dyk had worked with two Republicans in crafting the bill, Sen. Taylor Brown, of Huntley, and Sen. Eric Moore of Miles City.

“We talked about how this might happen,” Van Dyk told The Montana Standard on Tuesday evening after the vote. “We introduced this at a late date, but we elevated the issue and it’s far from over. Hopefully, we can pick it up at the next session. These things take time.”

The Bureau of Land Management completed the transfer of 700 wild horses last month to the Spanish Q Ranch outside of Ennis. The Spanish Q is the first long-term holding facility for wild horses in Montana, but it was delayed for a number of years in no small part because of resistance of neighboring ranch owners about the horses’ effect on irrigation, livestock, and wild life.

The bill attempted to address some of those concerns, but it was up against a tight timeline. If the bill had passed the Senate committee, it would have had to pass through the full Senate and make it to the House by Friday. As day 71 of the current legislative session, Friday is the deadline for a revenue bill to be presented at both the Senate and the House.

Some committee members expressed concern about the $100 import fee, even though the bill was stripped of a retroactive clause that would have covered the 700 horses already at the Spanish Q.

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