....The articles indicate ranchers as the cause for all the killing. Are the articles wrong??
In a word? YES!
And those sorts of articles is why our management of mustangs is all screwed up.
"This is what the public sees--millions of sheep and cattle on public lands. Only 100,000 wild horses and half are in pens...why can't you make room for a few horses instead of hogging millions of acres just for other livestock.
First, there are nearly 150,000 mustangs total. But...millions of acres are not being hogged by livestock. Livestock are move on and OFF public lands. They pass THROUGH public lands. The ones I know of - Arizona and Utah - involve grazing for a few MONTHS, when there is plenty to eat.
Mustangs live there 12 months a year. And it is during the winter, when food is scarce, that the range is beaten down. Mustangs and livestock coexist in many areas, during the summer. Then the livestock are removed and the mustangs remain. During the winter.
Drought? The rancher is told to cut his numbers or to enter later or leave earlier. Mustangs? Still there. But the mustang enthusiasts, by and large, live in cities and don't own horses. They have never SEEN a wild mustang. And they know ZERO about managing range land. Nor do they want to learn!
Livestock are allowed to eat the excess and are controlled. To the day. Mustangs need to eat when there is no excess. And are uncontrolled.
"The BLMís Wild Horses and Burros program also removes thousands of federally protected horses and burros each year from designated wild horse habitat so that, during the ongoing drought, more water and forage are available for ranchers on public assistance.
Lie. Simply a lie. A deliberate lie. When droughts come, it is the livestock that get removed BECAUSE THEY CAN BE! Unlike the mustangs.
"but the reason there is no natural predators for horses is because many ranchers want the predators dead--right?
Wrong! When horses got loose in the West in the 1600s, they multiplied into the millions. Even in 1680, or 1750, when no white man had been there, the predators of North America were unable to control horse populations. Cougars and bears won't begin to control the growth of horse herds because even when no white man lived in the west, they could not do so. So how can they do so now?!
But activists make money blowing smoke up the rumps of people with no range or wildlife experience. Or knowledge of history.
"It's not just predators being killed though. What about the buffalo, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs...
Really? We've reintroduced bighorn sheep in many areas. Buffalo are in no danger of being hunted down. Prairie dogs are in no danger either. From one of your links:
"Domestic sheep transmit the deadly virus to bighorns when the two species mingle on public lands. Wildlife officials are supposed to make sure that wild and domestic sheep don't interact. But according to a trove of Colorado Parks and Wildlife documents recently obtained by High Country News, they mingle more frequently than previously known. And though failures on the part of ranchers, federal agencies and state wildlife managers are often to blame, it's always the bighorns that pay the price....Though their current population numbers pale in comparison to the distant past, bighorn sheep appear to be expanding their range in southwest Colorado, a sign that the populations are healthy.
Now, here is the experience of a friend of mine with sheep. He used to run them through this area. They were present for about a week each year - yes, that is one WEEK a year:
His permit was revoked for fear that brief exposure of his sheep might harm bighorn populations. Twenty years later, disease swept through the area, killing most of the bighorn sheep. As my old college room mate put it, "At least they can't blame me!
" But of course, they can. They always do. You can't get people to support you unless you are fighting "evil XXX".
In Utah, he says the grazing is simple. If it conflicts with the desires of hunters or city people, it is removed. Period. The idea that ranchers control government is silly. Not nearly enough votes or $$. Politicians follow votes.
Nor does predator control work the way you are told, but like most things on the range, it is hard to explain reality to people whose knowledge is based on activist websites. Who have never read a text on range management. Or talked to a single rancher. Or spent a single day on the land affected.
"Yes, livestock seems to be winning over native elk, buffalo, sheep, wolves, coyotes, bear, cougars, bobcats, foxes,..." -
Good grief! Step away from the Internet. Leave YouTube. Elk, buffalo, bighorns, coyotes, bears, cougars - there are MORE NOW than 30 years ago! Less grazing. Who is winning? I've had a 40 year history of loving the Manti Mountains in Utah. I've SEEN the changes. Predators are doing better - except the coyotes. Coyotes are starting to drop because the other predators are taking their place.
This is why I want BLM land handed over to the states. People who have never been IN a state want to say how the land is managed. The people who live there, who see things with their own eyes, whose families have been there for generations, are shouted down by YouTube.
My former room mate is the 5th generation living where he does. Two of his sons are taking over the ranch he built, and he looks forward to his grandsons someday ranching in the country he has lived in all of his life. Who loves the land more - the family who has lived there for generations or a long-term visitor like me? Someone who has ridden an estimated 50-60,000 miles during his life there, or someone like me who rides there every other year for a day?
And who cares more - someone like me, or someone who has never, ever
seen the Manti Mountains?
Seems obvious to me, but I'm not a YouTube personality....
PS: My wife and I are still seriously considering moving to Ritchfield Utah to be closer to that mountain range. Part of me wants to spend my remaining life close to it. Maybe, just maybe, I care in a way folks who have never been in Utah do not.
Also - last week, we drove from Show Low AZ through Globe and then on home. Even after all my years in Arizona, I forget how VAST the forests of Arizona are. It is humbling. They go on for mile after mile after mile. As far as you can see. How many people outside of Arizona even know?
, I agree! It is frustrating, not being ABLE to play God. But this world is so much bigger than us. I'll eat the sweaty Canadian Tilley hat in my avatar. But it's pretty safe...