Pilot Mtn cancelled

Wild and Free

Tonights email update:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dear Pilot Mountain HMA Observers & Interested Parties: Effective
immediately, Terri Knutson, BLM-Stillwater Field Office Manager, has
cancelled further gather operations of the Pilot Mountain HMA Gather.

The gather contractor conducted an aerial reconnaissance over the area
Saturday and found fewer wild horses in the HMA than predicted. Based on
this reconnaissance and ground observations by BLM staff, and the feeling
that our HMA census data had been inadvertently interpreted as having
included the 104 wild horses currently residing outside the HMA on the
Hawthorne Army Depot, Terri decided to cancel further operations and
release the contractor.

A new aerial population census flight will be scheduled by BLM in the
future to accurately determine if current population numbers of horses
within the HMA are within the Appropriate Management Level.

The nine horses that were held overnight at the temporary corrals were
released this morning without the mares being treated with PZP. The gather
contractor is removing the temporary corrals and Saturday’s trap site.

With the termination of further gather operations the planned
guided-observation days on November 30-December 1 are also cancelled.

The Wild Horse Gather Information Line will updated for the final time
today for the Pilot Mountain Gather.

Thank you for your continued interest in the gathers on our District. I
will keep you all on my interested observers list and get back in touch
with you as the scheduled catch/treat/release gather in the Clan Alpine HMA
approaches in February.

Mark Struble
Public Affairs Officer
BLM-Carson City District Office


These emails were exchanged yesterday about the roundup progress. No public was allowed to observe until Tuesday, now cancelled. My response below.
Date: 11/27/2010 06:56PM
Subject: Saturday, November 27 Gather Update – Pilot Mountain Herd Management Area

Dear Pilot Mountain HMA Observers & Interested Parties: gather operations started this morning on the north end of the Pilot Mountain HMA with the gather trap site at a barrow pit on a north-facing slope overlooking Gabbs Valley. The temporary holding corral is currently located off Finger Rock Road (road to Rawhide), 11.6 miles west of Nevada State Route 361 (Gabbs Highway). The intersectrion of Finger Rock Road and SR 361 is 19.3 miles north of US95 at Luning, Nevada.

Ten horses (six mares and four older foals of weanling age) were moved from the north end of the Gabbs Valley Range to the gather trap today. No injuries. One mare was determined to be too old for treatment with PZP-22 and was immediately released. The other nine horses will be held overnight pending PZP treatment of the mares.

The contractor conducted an extensive aerial reconnaissance over much of the area today and is finding fewer wild horses than expected. A lowering ceiling with snow showers did not help visibility today.

A more extensive aerial reconnaissance is being planned for Sunday morning to determine horse locations both within the HMA and nearby ranges to assist BLM managers in determining if further gather operations or PZP treatment of mares is warranted at this time.

The Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been updated for the day. More tomorrow. Have a great weekend. Mark

Mark Struble, Public Affairs Officer, BLM-Carson City District

My response:

It may seem like an odd question but why wasn’t the older mare held to be released with the other horses? You sent an old mare out on her own without her family after a stressful event.
One of my main concerns with current wild horse management techniques is that they fail to take into account the basic psychology of the animal being managed.
The family structure is obviously destroyed and no efforts are made to rectify this. To release an older mare without band members seems to be a further indication that this concept is not understood as it is presented as an almost “humane” step.
These roundups here locally are relatively small and it just seems to me like they would have been a good place to step out of “stone-age” feral livestock practices and actually take a step toward managing a wild population.
Just my opinion and I really appreciate that you take the time to send these updates out.
See you Tues.
Monday if there is a release in Dayton.
Have a nice Sunday.

Dry mares awaiting release


19 thoughts on “Pilot Mtn cancelled

  1. Mar Wargo says:

    9 horses were pregathered?? mar

  2. Barbara Warner says:

    Guess there are just too few to bother with.

  3. jan eaker says:

    Is there any word on what is happening w/the 22 foals and mares that were supposed to be reunited and then released?

  4. Thanks for the update Laura!:)

  5. LisaG. says:

    The BLM originally said they would gather 242, then release 189 (removing 53 “excess”) But, if they were inadvertently counting the 104 on the Army Depot, then there might actually be less than 140 horses on the Pilot Mountain range right now ….

  6. Jill says:

    This is certainly good and deserved news for these horses and us!

    Thank you, Laura!

  7. savewildhorses says:

    Thanks for the updated info. I would like to know the logic of releasing an older mare by herself when they could have released her with the others after they were treated. Is their an IQ problem out there or what?

  8. Louie Cocroft says:

    Laura, in your opinion, were there any BLM people that stepped up to the plate and stood ground here? Any credit that should be given?

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Alan Bitner and Mark Struble stood ground for the foals.
      Bitner had obvious relief in his voice when he told us that the wet mares were going to go to PVC.
      Struble made a personal effort to find me and let me know that the mares would go to PVC.

      The decision was NOT made by them to take horses to PVC. Shepard was one of the decision makers.

      However the interview was very odd. They kept using the phrase “usual” protocol. Yet it was clearly unusual protocol not to put youngsters and wet mares together in temporary holding.

      There are more events that don’t make sense. Still looking into those.

      • savewildhorses says:

        Can we request Alan Shepard take a hike?

        • morganlvr says:

          Off a cliff, preferably. Alan Shepard was the one who perjured himself in the Owyhee (sp?) by testifying in open court that the roundup was an emergency. He said there were no cattle, no fences and no water. Why didn’t lightening strike him on the spot?

          • savewildhorses says:

            Oh, I didn’t realize that. No wonder he’s the one responsible for this mess. Is he anywhere near retirement age? Please.

  9. Louie Cocroft says:


  10. Mar Wargo says:

    Best of luck with the live feed tomorrow for the release of mares and foals …. I will keep an eye out at the new blog. I am hoping the lone foal will be of concern to BLM. I know you will find out what you can… mar

    • Laura Leigh says:

      I’ll do my best.
      We will test the set up and hope it works.
      This way y’all can go with me and see just how glamorous freezing or broiling your butt off actually is… while you spend most of your time waiting or being led or held back or…. and if the set up works we can all go sit with the wild ones when it’s quiet together.

  11. Mar Wargo says:

    The latter sounds great! The former should be quite a challenge all around… mar

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