Should the BLM remove ‘excess’ wild horses in southeastern Utah? Comment period open.

Stock photo, St. George News

PRICE — The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment analyzing a proposal to gather and remove excess wild horses in Emery County and apply fertility control treatment on the remaining wild horses.

Map displays the area of a proposed wild horse gather in Emery County, Utah | Image courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The area of the proposal – the Muddy Creek Herd Management Area – is located approximately 20 miles south of Ferron in the San Rafael Swell. It consists of approximately 283,400 acres of public and state lands.

The environmental assessment analyzes a proposal to gather and remove excess wild horses and apply fertility control between two and four times over a 10-year period. The environmental assessment is available to view online.

Written comments to the BLM’s Price Field Office about the proposal will be accepted by letter or email until May 20.

Special attention will be given to those comments that contain new technical or scientific information relevant to the proposed action. Comments should be as specific as possible. Comments that contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process. Reference “Muddy Creek Wild Horse Gather Plan EA” when submitting comments.

Written comments may be mailed to the following address:

BLM Price Field Office

Attn: Price Field Office manager

125 S. 600 West

Price, UT 84501

Comments may also be emailed to blm_ut_pr_whb@blm.gov.

Those who provide comments are advised that before including their address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information, they should be aware that the entire comment – including the personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While those commenting can ask in their comments to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.

For additional environmental assessment-specific information, contact Mike Tweddell at 435-636-3600. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the field office. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and replies are provided during normal business hours.

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19 Comments

  • LunchboxHero April 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Unless their population is posing some danger to the environment, the community, or themselves, why on earth do these beautiful, non-predatory creatures need to be removed?

    • Scott April 23, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I think the issue is that the herds get so large that they outlive their water and grass options. There’s an adoption program for the horses, but it’s underutilized.

      • Eileen April 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm

        Scott the wild horse herds do not get to large that is all BLM lies. It is because the rich welfare ranchers want OUR wild horses removed. They pay less for public lands then they do for private and then they dictate to the BLM what they want. It is the cattle that do damage not horses. The number of wild horses is greatly exaggerated by the BLM to justify the round ups.

        • Mr. W April 23, 2018 at 2:08 pm

          It would be wise if you to do some research about cows and horses eat. You are clearly uneducated in this matter and speak solely from opinion and not fact. Cows do not destroy the vegetation but horses sure do. They are maggots and decimate the lands they are on. I assume by your narrow minded opinions you also do not know any ranchers and that your only knowledge of a rancher is a Bundy. Do some research. Read more than just some jack holes opinion on Facebook and then state a few facts you will certainly learn about how these horses need to be sent to slaughter so that countries that eat them can feed their people.

          • Real Life April 23, 2018 at 2:43 pm

            Probably not gonna get a lot of people on your side calling horses “maggots”. Just saying.

          • Mr. W April 23, 2018 at 4:43 pm

            I have domesticated horses I’m not a hater of horses however they destroy everything that’s why I say maggot.

  • Sinbad April 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    After reading the draft, it seems as if two herds were merged together as one back in 2008 and lost half of their land. I’d be interested in knowing how many cattle are out there, as the herd management area is shared with 7 grazing allotments. I’m unable to form an opinion on this until I know how many cattle are there, as this should also be included in the data and management plan. The proposed number of horses is 75-125. To maintain genetic viability, a herd needs to have 150-200 horses. I’ve rarely seen a wild horse in the San Rafael Swell, but I’ve seen hundreds and maybe thousands of cows. Cows that graze on public land and cost taxpayers between $500 million and $1 billion a year in direct and indirect costs and contribute 2% to the nation’s beef supply. THIS needs to be addressed, and yet it never is and the horses get all the blame and are the ones being removed.

    • comments April 23, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      no reason not to introduce these “wild” horses into the nations beef supply… ?

      is horse meat called beef? hmm

    • Mr. W April 23, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      One aspect of this you are probably unaware of is that the horses spend 24/7/365 on these lands. The cows are allowed to graze only during BLM specified times of the year. These times are not the same every year and the lands are assessed and then the decision made. After the cows get removed from public lands they are brought onto private land in most cases and fed hay at the ranchers expense. Go visit these areas you speak of during the winter and you will not see the cows you are speaking of.

      • Marylaine April 24, 2018 at 11:51 am

        Mr. W, everyone knows that argument but there is a huge hole in it when it comes down to numbers. Yes, cattle are there through the growing season of grasses, and in that tiny portion of fed. land where the horses are if you count cattle by months you will see that 200 horses or 2400 months is far less than 5000 cattle or 25000 months. Probably even more livestock. Second. a wild horse is not a domestic animal but a fully integrated wild animal that has grazed on Utah’s land for thousands of years rather “re” introduced or always there and do not have the traits needing human intervention as do your domestics. Much of that fed. lands where the horses are was gifted by individuals/philanthropists to the people so to protect its native virtues, which includes wild horses and burro. (Just a reminder for perspective: wild horse territories are only ranched by <1% of American Ranchers, and those areas were dedicated "principally" to the horses).

  • Val April 23, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Representative Chris Stewart, in an interview on C-Span invited us to tour the public lands with him in August to see starving and/or dead horses. This gather and all others should be stopped until he has provided proof of his claims. Citizens Against Equine Slaughter is still waiting for the date and location of this tour from his scheduling person.
    BLM didn’t have authority to combine 2 HMA’s & reduce total allowed population as if it were 1 herd. Horses are NOT overpopulated, starving, or dehydrated. UT needs to stop doing the bidding of the commercial livestock business destroying our public lands.

  • chris keele April 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    The BLM knows full well how many horses there should be in a given size of territory, I think this “survey ” is more about trying to get a feel for public sentiment, to test the water, so to speak, as has been interestingly expressed by some of the comments already, and unless the majority of us develop a real taste for horse meat, I would say the ranchers should be allowed to run their cattle there as much as is deemed reasonable as well. There are no better stewards of the land than our ranchers/farmers, it is not uncommon for them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make improvements where necessary, Just a common sense thing, I guess I am old fashioned that way.

  • Eileen April 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Do not remove OUR wild horses from their homes and split up their families. The numbers are exaggerated by the BLM. Leave OUR wild horses alone. Remove all cattle from our public lands before you remove any horses.

  • !!! April 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Wild horses need to be managed like all other animals. Left undone and ignored like they have been for the last decade is destroying the graze for other wildlife. I love horses as much as anyone but I also love elk and beef steak. (I’m not attracted to horse steak but others are). The herd north of here is out of control, the original study showed the Peaks would support a herd of about 650 horses and it’s now at about 1300+. Surely anyone with any sense can see what they’re doing to control the herds isn’t working. They need to dramatically decrease the mustang herds in the entire west.

  • Tami April 23, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    There are no excess wild horses. Just an excess of commercial livestock, freeloading welfare ranchers and dirty politicians……

    Leave them alone

  • Lainie April 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    How about remove the cows and leave the horses alone. It’s been proven scientifically that the horses actually help the environment. The cows….not so much!

  • Snarkles April 24, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    We drive out in the back country of Utah a lot, and I have never seen more than a few wild horses in a group anywhere, and rarely see any at all. They are roaming animals and don’t stay in one place unless fenced in. That gives grasses a chance to grow back and keep parasites under control. We should care more about horses that are corralled with inadequate vegetation or feed and are starving, full of worms, have damaged hoofs, and need their teeth floated so they can chew, thanks to the lousy care of their owners.

  • !!! April 24, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    How about drawing for hunting tags, like the rest of the “native wild animals”?

  • Jeanie April 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Unless their population is posing some danger to the environment, the community, or themselves, why on earth do these beautiful, non-predatory creatures need to be removed? If you are putting cows or sheep on the pastures but gathering the horses, then no, it is not ok, to sell the grazing to ranchers. That should be illegal to spend taxpayers money in that fashion. Spend our money putting in Guzzler watering devises, solar water pumping equipment and reseeding the pastures. That is want the land needs, is for the people responsible to spend the taxpayers money to protect the wild animals that are on the HMA. Instead of spending millions of dollars on helicopter roundups, spend the money to restore the land. Restore the land!

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