Tag Archives: wildhorse

BLM Responds To Wyoming Roundup Accusations via Utah Public Radio

3 Oct

How co-incidental the roundup began September 15, 2014?  That’s just a couple of weeks before the end of the fiscal year. If they do NOT spend the money allotted in the current budget, they will have a harder time asking for increases in the future, won’t they?  Using up their budget is more important to them, not the wild horses or burros especially not those in holding pens.  BLM’s humane standards for the horses in their care still hasn’t been published to the public yet … one more roundup, horses dead needlessly, and still BLM has no understanding of the horse much less about the wild horses.
 

Wild horse preservationists have called into question the legality of the wild horse roundup in the checkerboard area of Wyoming which began Sept. 15.

Shelly Gregory with the Wyoming High Desert District of the Bureau of Land Management asserts the Wild Horse and Burro Act allows private land owners to request the BLM remove wild horses from their property.

“The BLM is respecting the rights of private land owners to operate their land as they see fit,” Gregory said.

BLM Responds To Wyoming Roundup Accusations | UPR Utah Public Radio.

 

Federal Court Forces Interior Department to Consider Scientific Evidence Regarding Wild Horse Management | American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

10 May

Federal Court Forces Interior Department to Consider Scientific Evidence Regarding Wild Horse Management | American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

!! WOOHOO !!
“The Honorable U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell stated in her 23-page opinion that the agency

“may not simply remain studiously ignorant of material scientific evidence well known to the agency and brought directly to its attention in timely-filed comments.”

(Emphasis added.) She decisively rejected the BLM’s attempt to exclude the expert declarations from the agency’s decision-making process and affirmed that the Court would consider the “material scientific evidence” contained in the declarations as in future rulings in the case.”

Triple B, August 25 Newark Valley trap site

15 Oct The third band, 8 horses and one foal, running hard at the trap site.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011

Again we were told to meet at the Ely village park at 4:00 am which meant a 2:00 am wake up call and a 3:00 am departure from Cherry Creek. Today we had a different plan. Now Arla and Maureen knew where the trap site was in Newark Valley and they were going to do some scouting in the area looking for an appropriate vantage point. I was supposed to meet them at the 30 mile loop turn-off from route 50 at 2:30 in the afternoon.

The BLM caravan, Chris Hanefeld and Vanessa in the first car, followed the three HSUS reps, me and two rangers, heads out of town on Route 50 towards Newark Valley again. We arrived at Ruby Marsh Road and as soon as the vehicles in front of me hit the first patch of very dusty dirt road, I literally had to stop – I could not see the road! I wasn’t so worried that morning as I had been on this same road the day before. As I stopped to let the dust clear, the ranger behind me passed me and took off! Another cloud of dust to wait through! I found out later he was the new guy on the team that day and didn’t know all the correct protocols – i.e., a ranger is supposed to stay at the end of the caravan and not leave an observer behind.

Chris Hanefeld and the HSUS SUV were waiting for me at the temp holding pens. They were wondering what happened to me and I explained I chose to drive carefully within the 25 mph speed limit, and had to wait for the two plumes of dust to clear before I would drive on.

We got to the trap site and started walking over to the observation area when Chris got a message that the chopper was bringing in a band of horses. We hurried to get there and set up our cameras.

Early in the day I decided to ask Chris Hanefeld about the 500 foot clearance that the chopper was required to keep from people. Chris Hanefeld said the FAA rules is the reason why the observers were to keep 500 feet from the trap site. Chris added that the fuel truck was also supposed to keep 500 feet away from the trap site and the observation area since the chopper ‘hot-fueled’ there. [Hot-fueled – the chopper is fueled while the chopper engine is still running.]

The First Band

First Band is Sighted in Newark Valley

First Band is Sighted in Newark Valley

First band was found early and appeared to be brought in without incident but I had no idea how long or far they had been driven or where they had started? I could not see what was going on in the areas hidden from view due to the terrain but once I had a shot of what I presumed to be racing horses and chopper dust, I clicked to preserve the time. Sometimes it was not obvious until the cloud of dust got closer.

When I finally got a chance to view my work, I realized that the first and second band were really the same band; they were split into two groups. The first band consisted of 9 horses and two of them were foals. The first five were pushed into the trap site while the other four initially escaped by heading back down slope (north and away from the trap site). These four can be seen standing around in the background of a few shots while the first five were being pushed in the direction of the trap site. Each group had one foal.

The first half of the first band

The first half of the first band approach the trap site.

The First Band

The First Band

The second half of the first band.

The second half of the first band.

The Second Band

The second band is spotted north east of the trap site.

The second band is spotted north east of the trap site.

The second band was a different story – chopper drove the band a long time and a long way – photo time stamp shows that the chopper and horses were in view way down the valley at 7:45 am and were pursued until 9:07 am. This was the largest band of horses I saw at one time so far and they managed to escape! Made me feel real good especially after all the miles they ran!

The second band approaches the trap site.

The second band approaches the trap site.

The chopper ended up pushing them in a box pattern around the trap site and observation area and if my observations are correct they would have run more than six miles or more around us (this does not include when the horses reversed direction from time to time) nor does it include the miles they must have run just to get to the trap site.

The second band regrouping in the trap site area

The second band regrouping in the trap site area

As the horses approached the trap site, the grey mare was leading but three dropped from view and another horse took the lead away from the trap site leading the seven up the hill to the south behind the observation area. The chopper turned them around several times but the horses were determined and kept on heading south. At one point 3 reversed direction and headed south (uphill) the seven others headed north. The north bound horses reversed direction and headed back uphill the way the other 3 had gone. Next time I could see them, there were only nine horses! One had dropped out somewhere. The group of nine continue uphill until they took a right turn and ran west, crossing the road near the ranger parked on the road uphill (south) of the trap site; when this happened I was reaching for my next camera memory card and don’t have any photos of them crossing the road.

The band is headed south

The band is headed south. And one of the 10 makes a run for freedom.

The band is heading west

The band is heading west

{See photo gallery below for the photos in the order they were taken.}

After crossing the road they took another turn right and headed north on the other side of the road. Even though they were less than a mile away, they could not be seen due to the terrain until they were north of the trap site.

The second band has crossed the road we drove in on; this is south of the trap site area.

The second band has crossed the road we drove in on; this is south of the trap site area.

The second band running east just north of the ranger parked on the road.

The second band running east just north of the ranger parked on the road.

And again they made a right turn just north of the other ranger parked on the road and the horses continued east. The Ely district BLM had rangers parked on the road about a half mile away on either side of all the trap sites to control traffic should the chopper be driving horses into the trap site area.

Another right turn to head into the trap site but they won’t go there! The chopper continues pushing them and they go south once again, up the hill! As they head south, the chopper splits them up and after a few double-backs, a group of four horses and one foal escape into the trees while the other four horses head downhill (north) only to escape into the trees!

This band won this battle – they are in the trees and not coming out! If ever there was a band of wild horses I’d like to meet, it’s this band – the band that got away!

[There is a slideshow in the works of this band from start to escape which includes a lot more photographs than are posted here - it will be posted soon! in the meantime scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the gallery of photos at the trap site on August 25, 2011]

Immediately after this failure to catch wild horses, the chopper flies directly over the observation area – so close I could see the watch on the pilot’s wrist! At this point I turned to Chris Hanefeld and said, “500 feet?”

I watched theses horses be chased for one hour and twenty-two minutes, according to my camera. Several times I begged Chris Hanefeld to contact Ben Noyes and tell him to stop the helicopter but he refused as it ‘was not his job’ to tell the WHB specialist how to do his job.

The third band also had 10 horses, two were foals. This band was easily herded from the north east into the trap site. They were driven to the trap site through a depression in the terrain and therefore they were not viewable by my camera and half the time, neither was the chopper visible. This band stayed together throughout their stampede and unfortunately for them, they were trapped.

The third band is at the trap site.

The third band is at the trap site.

 

Everyone's eating dust at the trap site!

Everyone’s eating dust at the trap site!

The last hors of the third band to race over the mound in the jute chuted area of the trap site. The last horse caught for the day!

The last hors of the third band to race over the mound in the jute chutted area of the trap site. The last horse caught for the day!

Immediately after the third band was captured, they began loading the horses onto trailers. They trailered the foals separately. After trailering the foals, they started taking down the trap site.

[Short slide show of trailering is in the works...check back here real soon.]

I didn’t get to inspect the inside of the trailers they used to transport horses back to the temporary holding pens; I suspect it was the trailer they asked us to stand in on Saturday the 27th while we were observing during the Butte Valley trap site. That trailer did not have a skid-proof floor – bare metal! (more about this coming up soon.)

Triple B Roundup

23 Sep Red Dawn In Newark Valley

It was quite by surprise that I ended up going to a BLM ‘Gather” (BLM’s word for round up) of wild horses! The Triple B round up in eastern Nevada only had a few more weeks before it’s end date when a bunch of my facebook friends offered to pay my travel expenses to go to Ely, Nevada. I left a week later …

SUNDAY AUGUST 21, 2011
Getting There

Nothing about this trip was easy. Seemed like every obstacle was placed in the way starting with Amtrak’s late arrival in Martinez by more than 3 hours! I decided to keep on trying to get to Elko, but this meant when I got to Elko I had to get a place to stay as it was not possible to hang out at the train station. There is only a phone booth size compartment that they call a train station in Elko. I had called Hertz ahead of time and delayed the rental reservation till the next morning.

MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2011

I picked up a Chevy Traverse AWD in Elko and drove it to Arla’s in Cherry Creek. I had been on US80 many times over the years but have never seen this stretch of the road so green and lush – there was even a bit of snow left on the mountains!

When I reached Wells, I turned south on route 93 and was surprised that the snow patches continued a bit along the mountaintops and high crevices. Along the way, I got off 93 onto Cherry Creek Road, a dirt road that cut 5 miles off my trip Arla told me. I saw a small group of either deer or antelope and did not have any chance of photographing them as my camera was still packed. After I got it out, I saw nothing.

Got to Cherry Creek and of course I was too lazy to look up the email on my phone where Arla gave me directions through her little village so I asked this older gentlemen at the row of the village’s mailboxes who was reading his mail in his truck. Followed his directions, ended up at Arla’s little gallery where I knew she wouldn’t be so I drove around for a short while when Arla magically appeared and smiled at me and I realized who she was and off to her house at the top of this village. Awesome view of the valley from there! Later that night I realized how bright the stars were there – much brighter than where I live in the Sacramento River delta!

Arla and I spent a good part of the afternoon chatting. We went to her little gallery, Cherry Creek Gallery, and I got a chance to meet Annie and Spring, Ray’s mustangs.

Later in the afternoon, we took a drive down 9 mile loop to four watering spots: 2 little streams, a trough filled by a spring and another little pool fed by a spring – all were full of water and the streams were flowing. They all had hoof prints of horses, antelope, deer and cattle.
However, the least amount of prints were those of horses. Arla kept telling me that this was an unusual year as all these watering spots were full! In years past, these spots had water year round but not brimming as they were this year so late in the summer!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2011

I got up about 2:00am and left at 3:15am but was late arriving at the meeting place in Ely, the little park in the middle of town.

Upon calling BLM, I learned I had arrived 2 minutes after they left. I sat there a while looking at my email on the phone after leaving a phone message for Chris Hanefeld PR, BLM Ely, NV. I also took a few moments to make sure I was in compliance with the rules of observation they sent me via email – don’t wear white, black or red, and no bright colors, only neutral colors, closed toe sturdy shoes, and hat among other items on the list.

Tiffany was told to call me back and I chatted her up a bit and found out three people from HSUS were there since Monday. Somehow on Tuesday, the HSUS group, had gotten a flat tire and damaged the air conditioner in the SUV they rented, so Wednesday they did not show at the trap site but did show up at temporary holding which we visited at the end of the day’s round-up.

I drove around Ely before day break, saw the Railroad Museum, several casino hotels, and many murals on the sides of brick buildings depicting miners and the railroad. Got some gas and went to the only supermarket in town before returning to Cherry Creek.

Becky Springs

Arla and I spent the afternoon chatting about photography, the BLM, horses and late in the afternoon, drove up to Becky Springs which is located where rte 93 does a right turn about 15 miles north of Cherry Creek. As we turned onto the dirt road headed to the spring, we noticed an ATV with two hunters. We altered our route to the spring and as we did so spotted an antelope who took off immediately with the ATV in pursuit. We never heard a gun shot so we presumed he got away.

Becky’s Spring was set underneath a tree and had lots of prints in the mud surrounding it – saw many deer and antelope prints and an occasional horse hoof print. Maureen was expected to arrive and we knew she’d be arriving soon so we left the springs and headed back to Cherry Creek.

This is the first installment of my experience at a BLM roundup. There will be several more chapters to follow describing my experiences complete with photographs, at the Triple B Roundups in Newark Valley and Butte Valley.

This was my very first experience at a BLM wild horse ‘gather’. I will also admit that I have never owned or had the responsibility for caring for a horse but learned to ride thanks to my friends years ago who took me trail riding from time to time. I’ve always loved horses, admired their grace and beauty but it’s been less than a year since I decided I had to stop the BLM from taking the wild out of the wild!

I am appalled that the BLM employees and contractors show such a lack of care for the wild horses, their own staff and observers. They violate or don’t enforce their own rules when it comes to following the BLM Caravan above the posted speed limits on very dusty dirt roads to the trapsites, permitted clothing color requirements for observers or trap site contractors, FAA rules about helicopters, but most of all the rounding up of wild horses with a helicopter … piloted by Josh Hellyer! Why must he fly so low over the horses? Why does he fly over the trap site and hover so close to the ground? Why is he allowed to fly over the observation area at less than 500 feet? and why is he allowed to keep the horses and foals running for 30 to 60 minutes at a time?

Each day of the Triple B round ups I attended started at dawn! Only four bands caught at most before the round ups were called off due to wind before noon? The pilot would drive the bands down from the mountains, (where the cattle don’t graze) from miles away, at best we could see them 20 minutes before he even got to the trap site with them!

My facebook friends have played a great part in my education about wild horses and burros and are responsible for providing the travel expenses needed to attend this roundup. Thank you so much for this experience!

afroditi katsikis

Red Dawn In Newark Valley

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