Feral Horses - My public land pet peeve

MaxPower

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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but just read this article and thought I'd share.

https://www.hjnews.com/features/column/horses-and-burros-on-public-lands-in-dire-straits/article_b02993f4-5730-5fed-b568-8d63921f835f.html?mc_cid=00f0b5ec9a&mc_eid=269c0679c1&fbclid=IwAR0JMhKn0fQcdlTeifY_mrXqjK8vO0FBHsZrFINpCbQ7HR1qUDa72TjD_UE

The $80M in taxpayer money these range maggots cost is a drop in the bucket compared to the ecological damage they inflict.

I'm a horse lover, I've owned them all my life and love working with and breaking them. I love hunting with them too if I'm way back in elk country.... But this feral horse situation is utterly ridiculous. Between the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, and the decision to stop funding FDA inspections of horse slaughter, the Fed has really hurt the horse market, hunters, federal ecosystems and wildlife.

I hunted elk in central Wyoming in 2017 - drew an amazing tag. The only thing I saw more of than elk were feral horses. Every day - all day..... feral horses EVERYWHERE.

Sorry, rant over.
 

neffa3

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My hope is that at some point one of the bigger NGO's will take up this issue. Like TNC or Serria Club, Audubon, WWF, etc.
 

bobbydean

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I love horses, but hunting them is probably in the future. The wolves are decreasing the elk. The mountain lions can wipe out a canyon of deer.

If they are feral, hunt them.

Wonder on the taste.
 

Topgun 30-06

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Unit 2b in northern NM on a deer hunt we were on several years ago was about the same for us as the OP mentions---more horses than deer!
 

COEngineer

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I am so pessimistic that anything will change for the better anytime soon. The potential political backlash from the wild horse fanatics out-weighs all the common sense on our part. I have yet to hear of a politician that is willing to stick his/her neck in that noose.
 

406LIFE

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I'd sign up for a horse hunt.

This issue bothers me greatly as well. There prolonged proliferation isn't based on science and doesn't abide by current laws. That they still exist in their numbers is simply a heart issue.
 

MaxPower

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I'd sign up for a horse hunt.

This issue bothers me greatly as well. There prolonged proliferation isn't based on science and doesn't abide by current laws. That they still exist in their numbers is simply a heart issue.

True. The 1971 Act is wholly supported by emotion and eloquent wording, there is nothing scientific or ecologically based in it. The feral horse gets the ultimate status - you can't kill/harass/chase/brand them at all. You can't even kill "problem animals". Even problem cougars in California are culled, even problem grizzlies are put down. But not horses.....
 

BrentD

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True. The 1971 Act is wholly supported by emotion and eloquent wording, there is nothing scientific or ecologically based in it. The feral horse gets the ultimate status - you can't kill/harass/chase/brand them at all. You can't even kill "problem animals". Even problem cougars in California are culled, even problem grizzlies are put down. But not horses.....
What is a problem horse in a way that a problem wolf, grizzly or cougar is a problem for that species?

I agree they should not be there, but i did not realize there were "problem" horses in the way there are problem big predators.

A lot of things are supported by romantic ideas. The bulk of the entire Western Beef Industry is see that way by some. Were it just about $$$, then we wouldn't need all that public land for grazing and really wouldn't need BLM at all.
 

Southern Elk

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You guys should listen to the recent Meateater podcast on this subject. I get the feeling nothing will ever change. Listen to what the experts say about how a politician would never want their names associated with harming horses. It would literally take an act of congress to change things and that's not going to happen. It's such a shame.
 

MaxPower

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What is a problem horse in a way that a problem wolf, grizzly or cougar is a problem for that species?

I agree they should not be there, but i did not realize there were "problem" horses in the way there are problem big predators.

Problem horses are those who are in neighborhoods, parks and cemeteries - like urban ungulates. Green River and Rock Springs had real issues with horses in their cemeteries, and Reno has had real issues in the past with feral horses in neighborhoods eating in peoples yards (insufficient forage on the range). Residents aren't even allowed legally to chase them out of their yard and have to have BLM officials take care of the problem.
 

Topgun 30-06

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What is a problem horse in a way that a problem wolf, grizzly or cougar is a problem for that species?

I agree they should not be there, but i did not realize there were "problem" horses in the way there are problem big predators.

Problem horses are those who are in neighborhoods, parks and cemeteries - like urban ungulates. Green River and Rock Springs had real issues with horses in their cemeteries, and Reno has had real issues in the past with feral horses in neighborhoods eating in peoples yards (insufficient forage on the range). Residents aren't even allowed legally to chase them out of their yard and have to have BLM officials take care of the problem.
Problem horses are all over the western landscape and not just in areas that you mentioned. Their numbers are huge and they do a lot of damage to the habitat and are a huge problem that detrimentally affects the wildlife in many areas.
 
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BrentD

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TG, what you are saying is that ALL feral horses are a problem. That is totally different than what Maxpower was alluding too. Although some might say that all wolves are problem, the fact is only "problem" wolves can be eliminated.
 

Topgun 30-06

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TG, what you are saying is that ALL feral horses are a problem. That is totally different than what Maxpower was alluding too. Although some might say that all wolves are problem, the fact is only "problem" wolves can be eliminated.
That is not what I said! I said they are all over the west, but that doesn't mean they are all a problem. However, when you see them in huge herds in some areas it's a problem because of the damage they do.
 

BuzzH

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True. The 1971 Act is wholly supported by emotion and eloquent wording, there is nothing scientific or ecologically based in it. The feral horse gets the ultimate status - you can't kill/harass/chase/brand them at all. You can't even kill "problem animals". Even problem cougars in California are culled, even problem grizzlies are put down. But not horses.....
Funny that a feral domestic animal like a horse gets protection by the feds, while non-native, but certainly not feral, mountain goats are going to be eliminated in Grand Teton National park by the feds...just sayin'...
 

neffa3

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a comparison of our treatment of coyotes vs feral horses is hard to justify in my brain.
 

MTGomer

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Horses make for an interesting debate on ethics.

They’re illegal to kill. Is it unethical or immoral?
 
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