McCullough Peaks family. The band stallion is on the far right – his name is Handsome. Very appropriate don’t you think?

I just received a letter from the United States Department of the Interior (Bureau of Land Management) regarding the proposed implementation of a fertility control field darting program for the McCullough Peaks HMA. The EA (Environmental Assessment) is available to read online at: McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area.

Reviewers of the EA have 30 days to comment. Comments should be addressed to Patricia L. Hatle, BLM-CYFO, 1002 Blackburn Ave., Cody, WY 82414 and postmarked no later than February 22, 2011. Comments can also be e-mailed no later than close of business on February 22, 2011, to: Cody_wymail@blm.gov

Just a little bit of information that I can offer regarding the information above. Field darting means the use of the one year version of the fertility control drug, PZP. The 2-year PZP requires putting horses into chutes for application and has been shown to have very unpredictable results. I know there is a lot of opposition to the use of PZP in any form, but let me offer these thoughts to consider – and this is addressing just this particular herd and is just my personal opinion.

The McCullough Peaks HMA has boundaries. The horses are no longer free roaming so realistically, some form of management must be implemented. I’ve been out to this HMA many times and I’ve spoken at length with the Range Specialist (Tricia Hatle). I’ve been told that the horses cannot be managed successfully by predation (a viable option for say, the Pryor Mtn HMA if mountain lions were no longer hunted there). There is no prey base. There is only a very small population of deer and research has indicated that the area is also too open to attract predatory animals such as wolves (who do occassionally pass through) or mountain lions.

So, if this is the case, it seems to me that the least invasive and more humane management program is field darting. If successful, (dare we dream) helicopter roundups may eventually become unnecessary for this HMA. And should the horse population exceed the AML at some point, bait trapping for adoptable candidates could be employed. To me, this is a much better alternative to the ripping apart of family bands as they try to escape a helicopter and the indiscriminate removal of unadoptable, long-term holding bound, sale authority aged horses – the leaders and teachers of the young. Just some food for thought. I encourage everyone to do their own research into the issue. Here is a link to another post about PZP that offers even more information: http://springcreekwild.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/love-triangle/

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