Guest Column: BLM Contractor Speaks Out
I know the damage has already been done and that your headlines have already accomplished what you wanted but I am going to ask you to print what I have written here because your two articles contains many statements that are simply not the truth. I am asking you to print all of it not just bits and pieces.
This wild horse issue is so very controversial. It is imperative that you clearly understand the situations we were faced with and the actions we took. It is imperative that you understand the dynamics of these areas. So first lets look at the areas. The BLM web site has a good map of the three HMA’s and of the three different pastures that make up the one Owhyee HMA. The Owhyee HMA consists of three separate pastures – wild horses live in each pasture but the majority of the wild horses were and still are in the Star Ridge Pasture. There are fences between these pastures and open gates in the fences – the wild horses could – but appeared not to be moving between the different pastures.
I never ever, as you say, acknowledged there was plenty of water in this Star Ridge pasture of the Owhyee HMA. I distinctly remember saying that the water sources were almost dried up and that the only other water was the river. Then you were correct that I said the river was like a miniature grand canyon and that there were other access trails but that the wild horses were using this main steep trail. I never said multiple trails and I certainly never said any wild horses were kept in pastures far away. That is such a false statement. I said other wild horses lived in the ajoining pastures.
When you say Judge Larry Hicks imposed a temporary injunction that had stopped the agency from capturing horses after one day in which 12 horses died after being run eight miles in more than 100 degree July Nevada desert heat. All of that statement is false. First of all capture operations took place early in the morning when it was quite cool. Second we do not run the wild horses nor do we stampede them – they are herded towards the trap as is described on my web site. The first group of wild horses that were corralled came less than ½ mile. The pilot found this group of wild horses between two dried up seeps looking for water. In this group were 5 of the very dehydrated animals that later died or had to be euthanized. The second group were all together above the trap area approximately 5 miles from the trap. Third Dave and the BLM COR suspended all gather operations on Sunday morning July 11th. The BLM brought in water trucks and began to haul water up to one of the reservoirs in this Star Ridge pasture. We brought in our other gather crew from Oregon with more corral panels and water tanks. Dave and Chad flew several hours assessing the conditions in each of the three pastures.
This is also the day that they went to the river to talk to the campers and found and moved the wild horses that were up in the ledges. Then later went back and humanely euthanized the other two wild horses.
Water was hauled all day long everyday to that reservoir on Star Ridge and later in the week when Dave and Chad found another seep in the Desert pasture where the wild horses were out of water and the water trucks could get to this seep water was also hauled there. They did herd some of the wild horses in the Star Ridge pasture to the river. This group of wild horses had never been down that trail to water. They had been going to water at some of the other ponds on top that were now dry. They also herded wild horses in the Desert pasture towards the Desert Reservoir and one band that was staying on another dried up seep was moved into the Chimney pasture and to the Desert Reservoirs. This group was on the way south end of Desert pasture.
I certainly did not say the pocket of possible stragglers from the helicopter chase were discovered after the helicopter pilot and her husband flew over to speak with the campers they had seen along the river. What I said was when they went to talk to the campers they saw the group of wild horses ledged up on the rocks on the north side of the river.
I also need to clarify another item. The BLM does not lease the ranchers property when we do a roundup. We, the contractor work out the agreements with the ranchers. Just as anyone else would to go across or use private land.
Then there is
the paragraph about the horses being kept by BLM in drought conditions on three pastures miles away from the river while they awaited capture as the waters flowed freely within driving distance. That statement is completely false.
You also state that the BLM had never mentioned any lack of water – they talk about it in the video describing these areas and the conditions that is on their web site
I am also asking that you include all of this following statement that I sent you after our discussion of how we care about horses and wild horses.
You need to understand why I think the wild horses have to be managed and why they should not just be left alone and let nature take charge and overpopulate until they run out of food or water and die. My family and all of our wranglers really love horses and that includes wild horses and we have seen horses dying of starvation and dying of thirst and we get really upset . Dying of thirst is the worst – horses that starve to death have an easier time. We know we are doing the right thing by gathering wild horses and we know using the helicopter is the most humane way to do it.
We know after we finish an area that some of the wild horses
we have caught will maybe be adopted and some will go to pastures where there is plenty of food and water. And the ones left on the range will have enough water and feed also. Steve you just told me you were not by your computer but out feeding your horses. So you love horses too, right. What would you do if you could no longer feed your horses or if you no longer had water for them and they were slowly dying of thirst or starvation? You would feel really sad and you would do all you could to see that they did not die of thirst or did not starve to death. I know Ginger Kathrens has said just like you that she would rather let nature just take charge. But I bet if Cloud and his family were dying of thirst or starvation she would want to do all she could to save them. That is exactly what we – meaning all of us and our wranglers and the BLM are trying to do when we do roundups.
Thanks you for doing this for me. I am sure you want to print the facts.
And I do hope that you are able to come out and watch a roundup soon.