2017 Frisco Wild Horse Gather
Began Saturday, January 7, 2017
Ended Sunday, January 15, 2017
Purpose of Gather:
The BLM will gather approximately 150 and remove 90 excess wild horses from the Frisco HMA to achieve a research population of an estimated 100 animals on the HMA. Some horses will be fitted with tracking devices and returned to the range as part of a research project. This will provide data on free-roaming horse locations and movement to help the BLM improve understanding of heard behavior.
Details of Gather:
Helicopter drive-trapping operations are scheduled to begin Saturday, January 7.
Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Outdoor recreationists and visitors to the gather area should be aware that there will be low flying helicopters and should avoid recreational use of drones near the Frisco Mountain area. Brief road closures may also be needed to allow movement of horses during gather operations.
Horses gathered will be shipped to the Axtell Off-Range Corrals where the 113 Frisco horses gathered in July are currently held. Some horses will be fitted with radio collars and global positioning system tracking devices and returned to the HMA. This will provide data on free-roaming horse locations and movement to help the BLM improve understanding of herd behavior. Horses that are not fitted with radio collars will be made available for adoption. Animals not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures.
Updates will be made available on Twitter by following @BLMUtah or searching #CongerFriscoGather.
Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided the safety of the animals, staff and observers are not jeopardized and operations are not disrupted.
The BLM will conduct escorted public tours to gather observation sites. Details will be announced daily on the BLM gather hotline, (801) 539-4050.
Those interested in participating should meet at the KB Express Convenience Store/Subway at 238 South Main in Milford, Utah, where tours will depart at 6:30 a.m. MST.
Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh winter field conditions. Binoculars and four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended. Please note that no public bathrooms will be available once the tour begins.
For additional information on participating in public observation days, contact Lisa Reid, public affairs specialist, at (435)743-3128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Animals removed from the range will be made available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Those that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they retain their protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
In its 2013 report to the BLM, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that no highly effective, easily delivered and affordable fertility-control methods were available for wild horses and burros. The most promising vaccine, PZP, has limited effectiveness (1-2 years).
As part of its efforts to effectively manage wild horses and burros on public lands, the BLM is investing in a diverse portfolio of research projects to develop new technologies and methods for wild horse and burro management. Scientists from universities and the U. S. Geological Survey area are conducting this research.
In March 2014, the BLM released a solicitation for research projects to develop new or improve existing population growth suppression methods for wild horses. An NAS committee of animal welfare experts evaluated the proposals received in response to the solicitation and provided recommendations to the BLM.
In July 2015, the BLM announced eight new research studies with universities (in addition to 13 USGS-led studies), including Colorado State University’s proposal to study the behavioral effects of gelding a portion of a wild horse herd.
In April 2016, Fillmore and Cedar City field offices released for public comment a draft environmental assessment in which the BLM proposed to analyze the wild horse removal and research projects that would be analyze horse behavior and ecology in the Conger and Frisco Herd Management Areas.The research would look into behavioral effects of gelding, population dynamics, fertility, reproductive rate, recruitment rate, age-specific survival and mortality, habitat selection, movements and habitat range among other things. The comment period closed on May 17, 2016.
In May 2016, the Fillmore and Cedar City field offices released a Decision Record that announced BLM had chosen the Proposed Action to implement the Population Control Research Wild Horse Gather for the Conger and Frisco Herd Management Areas.