Visiting dignitaries

6 09 2009
That’s certainly what I consider them: Dan Elkins and Karen Herman, who visited Spring Creek Basin in mid-August to tour the herd area and meet some Wild Bunch members and our BLM herd area manager and answer questions we had about gathering horses via bait trapping and about PZP.

In June, I wrote about Dan and Karen administering the first PZP doses to mares from the Carson National Forest: https://springcreekwild.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/pzp-partnership-in-the-carson-national-forest-nm/

Learn more about Karen’s Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary here: http://skymountainwild.org/

Direct link to a story about Dan and Karen using PZP (also linked from Karen’s Web site): http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local%20News/carson-national-forest-Forest-first-to-use-contraceptive-on-wil

We learned that Karen was able to get a grant to fund the PZP program for the Carson NF mares, and that set our wheels in motion. Now we have to write a proposal asking the BLM to allow us to pursue funding to implement a PZP program – which could start as soon as this coming spring! – and agree to have Dan and Karen come back to administer it. This is the good news I alluded to when I broke the bad news about Chipeta’s colt, Joven. Best of all, Dan and Karen get their PZP doses directly from ZooMontana in Billings, so we won’t have to worry about the PZP changing hands and freezing and thawing and re-freezing and re-thawing so many times during BLM transport.

Also, our herd population stands at 49 horses (BLM does not count foals till they’re a year old), we’re still well within our AML (35-65), and so we were told the next gather likely will not be until at least 2011. In the meantime, I hope our BLM is watching the goings-on at Pryor Mountain. One thing I’m happy about there is that bands are being kept together. Also, with Matt Dillon’s documentation of the horses and MOU between the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center and BLM that they provide herd information, I’m hoping we can duplicate that partnership when it comes time to round up and remove some of our horses. I’ll never be happy about that, but I also will never condone horses starving on an overgrazed range when it could be prevented. A PZP program here will hopefully slow the population growth of the herd, allowing more horses to stay wild longer. And knowing about Dan and his method, I hope we’ll never again hear helicopter blades churning over Spring Creek Basin.

Dan and Karen are awesome. Extremely knowledgeable and friendly – it was like meeting old friends from our first handshake. My hope is that someday every herd manager in the country will know Dan and Karen. I hope a contract between them and our BLM is in our immediate future, for the horses’ sake.

Here are some random pix from that day, taken in the morning before everyone arrived:

Hannah and Sable

Hannah and Sable

Butch and Storm

Butch and Storm

Pinon

Pinon

Mouse and Steeldust

Mouse and Steeldust

Sage

Sage

Hollywood

Hollywood

Mona, Kootenai and Kreacher

Mona, Kootenai and Kreacher

Kootenai and Kreacher

Kootenai and Kreacher

Kootenai

Kootenai

Mona and Kreacher

Mona and Kreacher

As soon as I say this, they’ll leave, but if you’re in the area to visit Spring Creek Basin, I would be surprised if, out of all those 49-plus (with foals) horses, you did NOT see this little threesome. They have been hanging out in the area surrounding the water catchment for months now. The grazing is not the best, but the water is. The other bands seem to have been going for forage over quality of water, and the only other horses I’m pretty sure have used the catchment recently are Traveler’s band and the bachelors Cinch and Bruiser. Hollywood’s band has been in that general area the past two weekends; I have not seen them at the catchment. Most recently, I saw Hollywood trying to drink from the pond area off the road to the old trap site. I did not see any water from the road, and I did not go closer … Poco and Roach followed the band past the “pond” without even stopping to try to drink.


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