BLM Cody Seeks Public Input on Wild Horse Population Control

BLM Cody Office Seeks Public Input on Wild Horse Population Control Methods

Written by on January 16, 2023

The B.L.M. Cody Office is looking at potentially darting and trapping wild horses near McCullough Peaks for relocation to control the herd’s growth.

The Bureau of Land Management Cody Field Office requests local input as it begins as an analysis of future wild horse fertility control and bait trap gathers in the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area east of Cody. A public scoping period for input is open for 30 days, ending on Feb. 7, 2023.

The B.L.M. manages and protects around 82,000 wild horses and burros on 26.9 million acres of public lands across 10 Western states as part of its mission to administer public lands for various uses. The Wild Horse and Burro Program aims to manage healthy wild horses and burros on healthy public rangelands.

However, overpopulated herds are put at increased risk for starvation and thirst. The herds over-use and degrade forage and water resources vital to themselves and thousands of native wildlife species.

Wild Horses in Great Divide Basin

Courtesy B.L.M.

The B.L.M. tries to maintain a population of between 70 and 140 wild horses in the McCullough Peaks. Based on direct counts last year, the current population is 179 horses.

The B.L.M. has administered fertility control in the McCullough Peaks by way of field darting since 2011. That slowed population growth by an average of 2 percent per year, while wild horse herds can grow by 25 percent per year if not managed.

Because of the overabundance of animals, the B.L.M. is looking for a new way to manage the McCullough Peaks herd.

“With the help of our partners and volunteers, we’ve been able to manage the herd’s population through annual field darting and occasional bait trap gathers for more than ten years,” said Cody Field Manager Cade Powell. “This analysis will guide our management of the McCullough Peaks herd for the next decade.”

If the plan is adopted, bait trap gathering could begin as soon as Fall 2023.

Residents are invited to help identify possible actions for analysis, new issues, and potential mitigation measures during this 30-day scoping period.

All input must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2023, to be considered in the analysis. The resulting assessment will also be available for public review and comment later in 2023.

Written comments will be accepted at the B.L.M.’s ePlanning website. Written comments may also be mailed to B.L.M. Cody Field Office, Attn: Abel Guevara, 1002 Blackburn Street, Cody, WY, 82414.

Input is valuable and will enable the B.L.M. to develop a well-informed environmental assessment. However, all comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While anyone can ask for their identifying information to be withheld from public review, the B.L.M. cannot guarantee it will remain so.

BLM Seeks Better Population Control for Wild Horses & Burros

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