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  1. #26
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    I had a great talk around the campfire a few years back as I was with a group of guys hunting in wild horse area here in Colorado. The decisions was made that we had to come up with a trophy distinction for a horse before they can be managed properly. It's weird, we really had to search to figure out what would make a "trophy" horse. Longest mane, nose to tail length, can't really weigh one the way we hunt. We thought alot of guys seem to need a reason to hunt a specific animal. I don't think we ever settled that one.

    Best idea after many cocktails was to do a fishing style tournament where the blm goes into a area and tags a few horses that you can't see under the mane, then a week or so later you hold a big hunt. The guys who shoot those horses wins a prize, maybe dog food for a year, get purina to sponsor it.

  2. #27

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    I have been talking about this issue with my friends and family for years. Though WA isn't known as a feral horse hot spot, the Yakima Reservation has a huge problem. I drive through there every month or so and have witnessed how hard they are on the land. I used to see tons of deer, but haven't seen any in several years now. I would love to hunt them, that's a lot of tasty (I assume) meat. Heck I've thought about trying to get a group of guys together and go out in the middle of the week and try to take care of as many of them as possible in one day.

  3. #28
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    Nov 2002
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    SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
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    It is everywhere. When they passed laws to outlaw the processing of horses a while back and hay hit record prices every state in the country all of a sudden had "Wild Horses" on their Federal or State Lands. We have a wild herd on Ft. Polk down by Leesville, LA. I don't know if they have backed off the selling and processing of horses yet, but it has to happen as the weekend rider who has room for only one horse is stuck with a 30 year old nag with no way to get rid of it. John
    “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt

  4. #29

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    Way more fun that shooting housecats or prairie dogs.

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    Personally I would hunt and eat a feral horse just like I have hunted and eaten feral hogs, but I have always been an adventurous eater as well as a hunter and feel a connection to my food. You could solve a lot of problems here with the hunting of feral horses, feeding the poor and hungry being one of them. The problem is changing the opinion of the general public who have been en grained to think a certain way.

  6. #31
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1_pointer View Post
    Pull your skirt hem down, your bias is showing...
    Gee, how grown up. And your bias isn't showing? FWIW, I do remember what you do.

    I've been involved with a lot of biologists and even range scientists and the vast majority think the land (especially the riparian areas), fish, and wildlife would be a lot better off without cattle. Even some of my wife's coworkers at the BLM didn't like the way things were done but they had a job to do, and that is definitely a biased population. That doesn't mean they want cattle gone, they just acknowledge that the science says cattle don't make sense at the level they are used if your management goals are for native species. It all depends on your objective... if you want multiple use you manage it different, but real scientist acknowledge that multiple use comes at a cost to the native animals and don't whine about skirt hems.

  7. #32
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    Jan 2001
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    Laramie, WY
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    The public has a pretty high perception of the Marlboro man...maybe even higher than feral horses.

    Good luck with that.
    "...the world outside, which my brother and I soon discovered, was full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the farther one gets from Missoula, Montana." -Norman Maclean

    "They were still so young they hadn't learned to count the odds and to sense they might owe the universe a tragedy"
    -Norman Maclean

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fin View Post
    Based on opinions of those with professional training of range science and scientific study, or personal anecdotal observation?
    I guess I'll answer this even if it tangential. Most of the biologists I know think, in general, grazing is overdone and it is harmful. I'd say ask any FWP biologist and I bet they'd say they rather the beasts weren't on the landscape... A range scientist is a bit biased given the ones who see the problems choose another profession, but Hocket is from a ranching family and has a degree in range management and you know where he stands. Jim Bailey was a professor in wildlife biology, the people I knew at IDF&G didn't like cows... so generally I'd say the scientific community would prefer no cattle... and no horses either.

  9. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobG View Post
    Gee, how grown up. And your bias isn't showing? FWIW, I do remember what you do.

    I've been involved with a lot of biologists and even range scientists and the vast majority think the land (especially the riparian areas), fish, and wildlife would be a lot better off without cattle. Even some of my wife's coworkers at the BLM didn't like the way things were done but they had a job to do, and that is definitely a biased population. That doesn't mean they want cattle gone, they just acknowledge that the science says cattle don't make sense at the level they are used if your management goals are for native species. It all depends on your objective... if you want multiple use you manage it different, but real scientist acknowledge that multiple use comes at a cost to the native animals and don't whine about skirt hems.
    I didn't bring cattle into the discussion but you attributed that stance to me in your response by quoting me. I stated my opinion based on being involved with managing land that had to deal with 'wild' horse herds. I do not seek my the issue being remedied to a level that matters without a change to the WHBA. It hamstrings management of horse numbers by limiting the options for controlling the population. Those same hurdles do not exist for controlling permitted livestock grazing. I've been a part of removing both from federal lands.

    I am far from an apologist for unfettered grazing. More than a few folks here can vouch for that having discussed the issue with me in person. That said, I am very well versed in the science as well as the regulatory side of managing grazing. i may define "better" differently than them but my bias is knowing that the science and regulatory mechanisms are in place for it to be done without wrecking the landscape or wildlife populations. And that grazing can be a part of a multiple use management plan.

    PS- You remember what I did...
    PPS- I am a real scientist and yes I will continue to whine about skirt hems.

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    Although I've never tried horse meat before, I would personally be ready willing and able to hunt and eat one--but probably wouldn't take any grip and grin pics. The problem is, I don't think I'm willing to give up my marriage in the process, and doubt my wife could handle a freezer stocked with horse. She's not an equestrian in any sense, but it was with great trepidation that she took those initial bites of venison steaks years ago. I'd bet horse would cross the line.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1_pointer View Post
    PS- You remember what I did...
    PPS- I am a real scientist and yes I will continue to whine about skirt hems.
    OK, I remember your education and thought you were still in the field... my original point was that a big obstacle to getting this problem solved is reduced horses simply means more cattle grazing. (In fact, cattlemen are suing to reduce horses.) Take the grazing out of the equation and more people will be willing to manage the horses. It still might not be able to be solved though... for better or worse you and I and everyone else has a say in how the land is managed and killing horses is a tough sell to start with.

  12. #37
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    Slaughtering horses for human consumption has been off/on illegal in the last few decades. I don't think you can do it now. What are the options for killing horses these days?

    I remember when I was a kid there was a rendering plant NW of Great Falls... rumor was the horses were turned into glue. I think my dad may have even retired a few of his horses there, him being a practical man not seeing the need to feed a useless horse.

    I'll add that hunting horses probably isn't going to happen and wouldn't be effective anyway. Bring on the wildlife services... the horse lovers hate them anyway. We could also introduce wolves...

  13. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobG View Post
    OK, I remember your education and thought you were still in the field... my original point was that a big obstacle to getting this problem solved is reduced horses simply means more cattle grazing. (In fact, cattlemen are suing to reduce horses.) Take the grazing out of the equation and more people will be willing to manage the horses. It still might not be able to be solved though... for better or worse you and I and everyone else has a say in how the land is managed and killing horses is a tough sell to start with.
    Note in my first post I never mentioned anything about a replacement for the horses. That's what triggered my snarky response.

    What's your opinion of the lawsuits merits and rationale filed by the permittes? BLM has lost before and badly trying to reduce permitted livestock grazing when horse numbers were over land use plan objectives. IIRC over utilization was the reason for reducing the grazing permits. Kinda hard to tell the cause of the use between the two... But I did get to hear a "scientist" describe how cows use their lips to graze. In a court proceeding nonetheless.!

    I agree that the general public, whom are very ignorant on the subject, like the idea of horses over cows. My point is that the current mechanisms in place for effective and timely management of cows is much better than those currently in place to wild horses. Do you disagree?

  14. #39

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    What would Joe Gutowski do?

  15. #40

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    I would actually plan to be at home to catch an outdoor TV episode of a Wyoming Red Desert mustang bowhunt.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobG View Post
    OK, I remember your education and thought you were still in the field... my original point was that a big obstacle to getting this problem solved is reduced horses simply means more cattle grazing. (In fact, cattlemen are suing to reduce horses.) Take the grazing out of the equation and more people will be willing to manage the horses. It still might not be able to be solved though... for better or worse you and I and everyone else has a say in how the land is managed and killing horses is a tough sell to start with.
    Rob, I understand you strongly feel this way, with regards to the point I bolded and underlined. I've been able to find no evidence to support that claim. If you have evidence, not just your statement or opinion, that reducing feral horses will result in increased cattle grazing and thereby provide no net range improvement, I would like to see it, as I am getting more and more interested in this discussion and I would like to see such evidence, as seeing that evidence would surely influence where my views end up on this topic.

    The reason cattlemen are suing is because the grazing privileges they have paid for are getting impacted by feral horses numbers being many-fold beyond what was promised in the Wild Horse and Burro Act and associated Federal legislation . None of the lawsuits I have read are to expand grazing beyond historical grazing privileges that come with their allotments.

    As a general comment to the thread, when I put myself in the shoes of these grazing permitees, I'm not sure what choice to they have other than litigation. They have paid for grazing privileges that are being usurped by feral species. Advocates for that feral species have used the political process to negatively impact them and it is being done in violation of Federal Laws. In addition to their annual permit costs, many have paid for the underlying asset value these grazing allotments have as an marketable asset. Their asset values are being impacted. Seems reasonable that any of us would file a court case to protect our property values and our livelihood under a similar situation.

    Peculiar how so many of these groups want to sue the BLM or USFS if they don't follow even minor regulations, all in the supposed name of wildlife and habitat. Yet, when an agency is directed by politicians to manage in the resource in this very damaging way, as is happening over huge landscapes with feral horses, none of these litigation-happy groups are stepping up to sue the BLM to get feral horses under control. Reason being, there is no money or notoriety in it.

    Right now, the group forcing the BLM's hand is the feral horse advocates. They have been effective in using politics and litigation to hijack the BLM management of feral horses and burros. If I was King for a day, I would have attorneys heading down to Federal Court to balance the scales against this stupidity and let the professionals at the BLM do their job. Congress is a bunch of lazy ass clowns who would rather see our lands get mismanaged, and eventually sold, than to do their job and direct agencies with policy and funding to manage these lands.

    For those wanting more info, the Appropriate Management Level (AML) as defined by Federal statute, decided by Congress when they passed these Federal laws, was set at 26,715 feral horses and burros to be tolerated on the range, even though all knew they were a non-native species. We are currently at 67,000+ of these feral animals, with populations doubling every five years. That does not count the tens of thousands of others now in capture facilities that cost $50,000 per horse, over its life. In capture facilities, they are enclosed and gelded, hardly making them a "wild" animal at that time. And we spend that much taxpayer money to keep them in these facilities.

    If ever there is an example of a messed up political system to the detriment of native wildlife and native range, the feral horse and burro situation is the best example I can think of.
    My name is Randy Newberg and I approved this post. What is written is my opinion, and my opinion only.

    "Hunt when you can. You're gonna run outta health before you run outta money."

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fin View Post
    Rob, I understand you strongly feel this way, with regards to the point I bolded and underlined. I've been able to find no evidence to support that claim.
    I never said that as my personal opinion, only that is the argument the anti horse folks need to overcome. I don't feel strongly or fight the public land grazing issue anymore, but I'm not dumb enough to not see the issues or the BS justifying it, nor the general biological opinion that it is damaging.

    I would personally prefer that all wild horses were removed from the public lands in question. I wouldn't care if you mowed them (and feral cats) down with machine guns.

    What I do feel strongly about is that you folks are pissing in the wind as long as grazing is on the table. That's my point.
    Cows = Pissing+In+The+Wind.

    1_pointer - Obviously if they reduced horses and kept the cattle usage the same the conditions would be better.

  18. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobG View Post
    I wouldn't care if you mowed them (and feral cats) down with machine guns.
    Feral cats are an interesting pickle. I recently delved into the current research on feral cat management, both here and abroad. They reproduce at staggering rates, and are almost impossible to exterminate (with the exception of small islands, but the level of effort required to do so is exceptional). I lobbied loudly for mass killing of all feral cats for a long time, now I typically support more of the "humane" trap, spay/neuter, release programs, which are equally as ineffective but make people feel a lot better. From what I found in my research coyotes are hands down the best control mechanisms on cats (along with other predators), I would image wolves may be for horses as well... hopefully we'll find out sooner rather than later, as the range in many places can't take much more horse abuse and hunting/mass killing just aren't socially acceptable.

  19. #44

  20. #45
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    Northern Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrabq View Post
    Our ancestors hunted them, and they are still eaten in much of the world, I hear they are tasty so why not? Because much of the US and other parts of the world sees them as pet, or noble creatures I guess. So hunting them will never happen even if it makes sense.
    To bad our fore fathers didn't realize that the buffalo was a noble creature. I will be hunting here in Colorado with a bunch of hay burners, this year. They kind of remind me of Bernie Sanders followers, just waiting for someone to feed them. Not sure if anyone has thought of the outcome for the states that think they are going to take over the Federal lands. Could be quite the sh!t show!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    Way more fun that shooting housecats or prairie dogs.
    which one would taste best?

  22. #47

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    I spent three years between Ely, NV and Alamo, NV and it's sad the damages that feral horses have done. Combined with cheat grass the habitat loss has been great. Those horses are angry too. I had one charge me several times by Caliente, NV that needed a bullet. As far as eating one, I'm ok without eating one.

  23. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    Way more fun that shooting housecats or prairie dogs.
    I love my two cats so offense taken. Ok I'm over that!

    My home state of Utah always seems to find money to fight the federal government over something they don't like. I would support them giving notice to the federal government to manage the horse herds at the numbers in the management plans; if the federal government didn't comply then have the state round the horses up. Place in holding and start a tab for feed and care until the government accepts custody of the horses. If they don't comply; auction the horses off. This action would bring a federal lawsuit and opportunity to bring the issue to a head.

  24. #49
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    Dec 2013
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    glendive, MT
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    Most of my experience with wild horses was in wyoming, west and north of rawlins. No doubt a horse drinks an amazing amount of water in a day. A very precious commodity in that area. I'm Sure the deer, elk, and antelope would enjoy a few hundred less of them! This seems like nearly the same as trying to delist wolves and Grizzlies. The Species is recovered X3, lots of politics involved, lots of repercussions if left unmanaged. But all for an invasive species. A win on managing horses would be as epic as any.

  25. #50
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    I did not sift through all the comments on this topic so I am not sure if this was mentioned or not. If these horses are posing a threat to a ranchers livestock can they not protect it just like they would from wolves and bears? I would guess indirectly they are impacting the cattle by taking grass and water away.

    I know farmers up here get permits to kill geese in the summer when they destroy their crops. I would guess each state is different on laws on how they protect their animals and crops.

    People shoot hogs out of helicopters and no one blinks an eye, but if you shot sea biscuit I would guess it would make the nightly news.

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