The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Posts Tagged ‘Wild Horse and Burro Program’

WH&B Articles from the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on March 22, 2010

Some of these are repeats, but some are new. Figured I’d put all of ’em here for you guys to check out. Some of these are actually pretty interesting. Give it a shot, you might be surprised.


Posted in BLM, Calico Complex Gather 2009-2010, Daily Posts, Ruby Pipeline, LLC | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Two Pershing Co Men Charged in Nov 2009 Wild Horse Shootings…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on March 16, 2010


Two Pershing, County Nevada men were charged in federal court today with killing five wild horses on federally-managed lands in northern Nevada, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Todd Davis, 44, and Joshua Keathley, 36, both of Lovelock, Nevada, are charged in a criminal information with causing the death of wild horses. According to the information, on November 28, 2009, in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buckhorn Horse Management Area of Northern Washoe County, Nevada, Davis and Keathley maliciously caused the death and harassment of five wild free-roaming horses by shooting them.  Davis is employed by the Pershing County Water Conservation District in Lovelock. Keathley’s employment is unknown.

Davis and Keathley are scheduled to make initial appearances in court on the charges on April 27, 2010, at 3:00 p.m.  If convicted, they face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The investigation is being conducted by BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security California State Office in Redding, California, with the assistance of the Lovelock Police Department, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Washoe County Forensic Services Division, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the California Department of Fish and Game.  The Humane Society of the United States and the State of Nevada Commission for the Preservation of Wild Horses also contributed to the investigation.

The public is reminded that a criminal information contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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How do you *lose* 19 Million Acres???

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on February 11, 2010

So how do you lose 19 million acres of land? Did ya forget it at home? Or maybe it’s in the bottom of your purse! All I can say is you better go to the closest hardware store – quick – and get some super glue ’cause you got some slippery hands!

Ok, so enough with the jokes (for now). I have received some questions following the last post of “Links, Links and More Links” about the public lands, grazing permits, etc. There was some confusion about what constituted an HA and an HMA, and where the approximately 19 million+ acres has gone. Hopefully, the information in this post will clear some of this up. Please let me know if there are any questions about all of this. There are links embedded in the information, and as well links to further informational sites at the end.

HA = Herd Area = the area in which the wild free-roaming horses and burros were found when the 1971 act was passed.

HMA = Herd Management Area = the area in which these equines are now managed by the BLM.

The difference in the total acreage of the HAs and HMAs comes to around 19 million+. That is to say, there are around 19 million+ acres less in the HMAs than there are in the HAs. The reasoning for this is due to – oddly enough – the railroad.

 From Wikipedia: “The First Transcontinental Railroad (known originally as the Pacific Railroad and later as the Overland Route), built in the United States between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and Union Pacific Railroad, connected Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska (via Ogden, Utah and Sacramento, California) to Alameda, California. By linking with the existing railway network of the Eastern United States, the road thus connected the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States by rail for the first time. Opened for through traffic on May 10, 1869, with the driving of the “Last Spike” at Promontory Summit, Utah, the road established a mechanized transcontinental transportation network that revolutionized the population and economy of the American West. Authorized by the Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864 during the American Civil War and supported by 30-year U.S. government bonds and extensive land grants of government owned land, it was the culmination of a decades-long movement to build such a line and was one of the crowning achievements labor in the crossing of plains and high mountains westward by the Union Pacific and eastward by the Central Pacific.”

 Congress wanted to “entice” the railroad companies to build a rail line from coast to coast, so they used plots of land as incentive.

From the Pacific Railroad Act, July 01, 1862: “Section 3  And be it further enacted, {Land grants; alternate sections.} That there be, and is hereby, granted to the said company, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, and to secure the safe and speedy, transportation of the mails, troops, munitions of war, and public stores thereon, every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, {Changed to ten by Sec. 4, 1864, and grant to twenty miles.} to the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles on each side of said road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United States, and to which a preemption or homestead claim may not have attached, at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed: {Minerals and timber; Sec. 4, 1864.} Provided that all mineral lands shall be excepted from the operation of this act; but where the same shall contain timber, the timber thereon is hereby granted to said company. And all such lands so granted by this section which shall not be sold or disposed of by said company within three years after the entire road shall have been completed, shall be subject to settlement and pre-emption like other lands, at a price not exceeding one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, to be paid to said company.

(This is just the first of many amendments and further legislation that would follow, known as the Pacific Railroad Acts.)

BLM came into existence in the 1950s when the Grazing Service was combined with the Federal Land Office. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) is BLM’s primary authorizing act, with the Taylor Grazing Act 1934 and the Public Rangelands Improvement Act 1978 among other governing legislation (as amended).

By this time, much of the original 19+ million acres consisted of state or private land that would not be controlled by the BLM. There came to be a “checkerboard” land pattern with lands transferred to other agencies through legislation, hence federal management of wild horses on these lands is just not feasible.  There are other reasons as well. An approximate breakdown of the percentage of the 19 million+ acres and the reasons it was removed from wild horse or burro management are listed below.

  1. Land or Water not Controlled by BLM = 66%
  2. Unsuitable habitat = 12%
  3. Other reasons such as development, court orders, feasibility of managing very small isolated populations = 3%
  4. Horses claimed as private property during the claiming period authorized by the 1971 Act = 6%
  5. Resource conflicts such as T&E species = 10%
  6. Equine infectious anemia (Coggins) indigenous to the herd area = 3%

The following maps show how the checkerboard land affected the HMAs.  The first map just shows an example of what the checkerboard land is – the white sections are private lands and the yellow sections are federal land.  This patterning of the lands – one parcel private, the next public, private, public and so on – makes it impossible to manage wild horses in these areas without an agreement from the private landowner.  The next map shows the herd areas. The 3rd map shows the herd management areas, and how horses are not managed in these checkerboard areas except for a few in Wyoming where the BLM has agreements with the private landowner.
(Maps Courtesy of the National Wild Horse and Burro Program.)

Checkerboard Patterned Lands in Humboldt County, Nevada

Original Herd Areas in 1971

Herd Management Areas Where Horses are Managed Today

Coxrail: Railroad Land Grants

Library of Congress: Railroad Land Grants

Railroad Land Grant Chronology by George Draffan


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Message from T. & Calico Gather Updates, February 02 – 09, 2010…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on February 10, 2010

(The fonts in this post have been intentionally left in black with the exception of the ending prayer.)

Message from T…

I spoke earlier with Craig Downer via email. Craig stated that his count of casualties at the time of our correspondence was forty three (43) horses. Craig also stated “I am going out again on Thursday and again on Saturday, then the facility will be closed to public viewing according to BLM announcement.”

This past evening, I spoke with Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief, Wild Horse and Burro Program. During our conversation, the topic of the public being onsite came up. Personally, I was surprised there were still observation days taking place, and that visitors from the general public were still being allowed into the facility.

The reasoning for this is that foaling season is now upon the Calico mares who’ve retained viable pregnancies. Two foals have already been born in this past week. With the ordeal that these horses have been through, on top of being heavily pregnant, all personnel attention should be focused on their care and needs… not on members of the general public who would like to visit. Mr. Bolstad stated that this was their concern as well, hence the discussions regarding the closing of the public visitations.

As a matter of liability and protection for all parties (and horses) involved, members of the general public cannot be allowed into the facilities or onto the grounds without an employee escort. Being the owner of a business that involves equines, I know this lesson all too well. Again we come back to the old adage of “the best of intentions…”; they don’t always have the best outcomes.

While I understand the desire from the public to “be near the horses” and/or be as involved as possible, there does come a time when their presence is more of a hindrance to these horses than any amount of help, no matter what the motives.

Case in point:  Just before this post, I viewed an online video the 2nd colt who consequently died / was euthanized as a result of hoof sloughing. Obviously, I was affected by the plight of this young colt. His pain should not have been allowed to continue in his condition without being given attention and care to his needs. On the other hand, I can’t describe the feelings I had while watching this video towards whoever the videographer had been. The mere presence of this “stranger” and “intruder” placed added and undue stress on his already horribly stressed psychological state of mind. It is late, and I don’t want to attempt a direct quote only to get it wrong because I am fatigued, however the general context of what I read along with the video was that the colt was in so much pain that he could not stand to move away from this intruder as did his paddock mates.

At this point, the question came to my mind of “Why did this person(s) continue to remain in this colt’s pressure zones?There was an obvious knowledge of the affect their presence was having on this colt as is evidenced by their comments, and yet they remained – continuing to add to this colt’s stress. Just because this colt was already having undue stress and was in undeserved pain does not nullify the actions of an individual or individuals who add to that stress and pain. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

I do not intend these comments in a condescending manner. More so I intend them in an inquisitive and somewhat awestruck manner; and also with the attitude of one who would expect anyone in close proximity to these horses to respect their boundaries. They are indeed wild horses, not the family pet (yet). Adding pressure to an already pressured animal does not produce a positive outcome; quite the opposite actually.

Given this colt’s particular situation, it is my opinion – for what it’s worth – that he should have been allowed to spend what time left to his short life without the prodding eyes and emotional pressures of another creature that was not of his own kind. Again, the motives behind these actions are not sufficient to justify the actions themselves; not by any means.

Again, in my opinion – for what it’s worth – as for the facility personnel not giving him proper care in his time of need – at least a sedative or pain relieving medical intervention – I am again inquisitive, but now wholly awestruck. Giving the colt some sort relief in his last hours would have been the more appropriate course of action versus allowing (or forcing) him to lie in wait of euthanasia. Even most who are not accustomed to dealing with the health and behaviors of the equine in general would see these are measures of compassion and humanity. This colt may have been “only 1 of 1900”, but he was one. His life meant no less and was no less significant than any of the others.

I suppose the best way to explain this would be that he should have been given as much peace as was possible. Unfortunately, he was not given this peace, but instead was given two separate instances – avoidable situations – that further took away any chance of peace he might have found in his own mind.

I will add him to my prayers along with the others as I ask St. Francis to bless them and St. Christopher to guide them in their journey ahead. May they all find the peace that was not granted to them on this Earth before death.


Calico Gather Updates, February 02 – 09, 2010

Tuesday, Feb. 9 Indian Lakes Road Facility
Studs and weaned colts continue to do well and gain weight. Most mares from the Black Rock East and Black Rock West HMA are doing well.  Mares from the Warm Springs and Calico HMA are generally improving.  Most of the Granite HMA horses appear to be doing well, however, BLM is monitoring three or four Granite horses with poor body conditions. No miscarriages were noted today.  One Black Rock East mare and one Warm Springs mare died.  Both were euthanized because of poor condition/hyperlipemia/metabolic failure.

Facility deaths: 2, cumulative total: 39

Monday, Feb. 8 Indian Lakes Road Facility
BLM continues to monitor the condition of two weaker mares from the Warm Springs and Calico HMAs and three to four horses from the Granite HMA in poor body conditions.  One 15-year-old stud from the Black Rock West HMA was euthanized because of poor condition/hyperlipemia/metabolic failure.  No miscarriages were noted today.

Facility death: 1, cumulative total: 37

Read the rest of this entry »

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