Challis Horse Gather 2012

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Narrator, Leigh Reddick This October, the Bureau of Land Management
is returning to the Challis Herd Management Area to gather excess wild horses.
The last gather occurred in 2009. The Challis Herd Management Area (or HMA)
is located in the Challis Field Office, in the heart of Idaho at the East Fork of the
Salmon River. The BLM studies in depth each HMA to determine
how many wild horses the area can support while providing for other land uses and resource
values. The overall capacity of the HMA to support
wild horses in a thriving natural ecological balance without affecting their health or
the health of the range is called its Appropriate Management Level ( or AML). Essentially the mission of BLM’s Wild Horse
Program is healthy horses on healthy rangelands. Kevin Lloyd The Challis Heard Management Area has an appropriate
management level of 185 horses. They increase here in Challis at a rate of
about 17 percent annually. We have about 275 wild horses now but right now we are just
beginning the fowling season and so by the end of the spring, first of the summer we’ll
have over 300, about 320 horses. The thing to remember about horses is that
they’re out here throughout the entire year. You might have 168,000 acres but they aren’t
spread equally across that 168,000 acres. Half or two thirds of your horse numbers could
be in one or two basins on two or three streams. Narrator, Leigh Reddick The congregation of horses in specific areas
also have negative impacts on the riparian areas. Kevin Lloyd Wild horses you don’t have that ability to
manage where they’re at what time of year. Livestock are here through a portion of the
summer, some of their grazing seasons are very short, those that are longer are intensively
managed. Management probably being the key that they
were moved from pasture to pasture; they were limited on which water sources they could
use and at what time and then they leave. Jackie Ingram 100 years ago, they turned them out and forgot
about them. You know, that’s how ranchers did it.
They never, they never moved them from pasture to pasture; they didn’t know about rest
rotation or deferred rotation or any of those things. They just turned them out in the spring and
gathered them up in the fall. And, and ranchers have learned that that doesn’t work. Narrator, Todd Kuck Some members of the public think that BLM
limits wild horse numbers to make room for more livestock. This is untrue. Livestock numbers are managed based on available
forage, water, season of uses and other wildlife concerns. Over the past 40 years, livestock grazing
on public lands has been reduced by 30 percent. County Commissioner Doyle Lamb Like I said, we are and agricultural county,
we have to have rangeland to keep our economy going, for one thing. We have to manage the
range so we can share it with the wildlife. Narrator, Leigh Reddick Wild horses share the range with numerous
wildlife species, including pronghorn, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and sage-grouse;
and while the BLM does not manage wildlife, the agency does
provide for their habitat, as well as that of wild horses and other public land users. Louise Stark There certainly is a balance and a need for
the back country grazers and all the public land uses. I am definitely in favor of multiple
use. And and allowing and having the privilege
to graze this country is just as important as what we do from the stand point of recreation. Narrator, Leigh Reddick Public impute is key during the environmental
analysis that takes place prior to any wild horse gather. County Commissioner Doyle Lamb We’ve worked really hard with the BLM on coordination,
they, they work with us, were uh, we have a pretty good working relationship with the
BLM. Narrator, Leigh Reddick The BLM is committed to ensuring there will
always be healthy wild horses on healthy rangelands that we and our future generations can enjoy
as part of our heritage. County Commissioner Doyle Lamb I have spent a few hours out in the mountains
hunting and watching the wild horses. They are pretty in the spring when they have
colts running around with them and they are a part of our natural heritage. And I don’t
want to see our natural heritage gone; I am not here to take away our natural heritage,
I just feel like they have to be managed like everything else. Narrator, Leigh Reddick The BLM ensures that all animals removed from
the range are gathered in a humane manner, with great care and handling with all involved. Kevin Lloyd I think the helicopter is the most efficient
way to be able to gather the wild horses, it’s also very humane. If you are in a position where you can watch
what really happens; they start the horses slow, they let them move at their own pace,
lot a times if they are moving in the right direction the helicopter will go and sit down
and wait for a little while until those horses need to be nudged a little further. And not until you get right to the trap sight
does the helicopter put any significant pressure on those horses to bring them in. Louise Stark The Fish and Game uses, utilizes helicopters
to count wintering elk and to do composition counts on wildlife in the winter. I see that utilizing a helicopter is about
the only feasible way that those horses can be managed or headed into a certain confinement. Narrator, Leigh Reddick During the 2012 gather, a number of the mares
will be treated with time release fertility control and turned back to the HMA. Those horses to be removed from the HMA will
be transported to the Challis Wild Horse corrals. The corrals are a state of the art facility,
designed following guidance from humane livestock handling expert, Temple Grandens Natural Handling
Methods. The entire structure, from the solid sided
tube, s-shaped alley and smooth walls was built to reduce stress to the wild horses
as they are vaccinated, freeze marked, dewormed and prepared for the adoption program. Narrator, Leigh Reddick Historically, Challis horses have found homes
all over the state of Idaho. Renowned for their size and calm minds, they are being
used in trail riding, packing and even in some performance ventures. These horses can become wonderful companion
animals; as the Lloyd family is discovering with their first Challis adoptee. Kevin Lloyd This is my wife’s wild horse, Twinkle, really
it’s our family’s horse. We adopted her after the 2009 gather here in Challis; she’s been
fun, she’s a fun project. We love her.

 

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