2013 McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Gather
1/21/13 - 1/31/13
Purpose of Gather:
Each HMA has its own AML. That is the number of horses that can thrive in a particular area in balance with other resources and uses. When a herd exceeds its AML, it becomes necessary to remove some of the horses to ensure the health of the rangeland, wildlife and the horses themselves.
The AML of the McCullough Peaks HMA is 70 to 140 wild horses and the current population is 153 horses. The use of bait trapping to gradually remove excess horses through 2018 will help maintain a population of approximately 100 adult wild horses in the McCullough Peaks HMA.
Details of Gather:
The BLM Cody Field Office will gradually gather and remove excess wild horses from the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) using non-helicopter gather techniques. The removal began in mid-January and will continue for two to three weeks. The duration of the gather is largely dependent on weather conditions and may be longer or shorter than originally anticipated. The bait trap removal may continue at intervals, if necessary, through 2018, but only if adult horse numbers grow beyond the upper appropriate management level (AML) for the herd.
The Cody Field Office has been administering fertility control since 2009, and by way of field darting since spring 2011. The results of the fertility control program are beginning to be realized and should result in a stabilized population in the near future. However, the fertility control aims to level out the population, not reduce it, and currently the population is too large to maintain healthy horses on a healthy ecological landscape.
The Cody Field Office manages the McCullough Peaks HMA, located east of Cody and north of U.S. Highway 14/16/20. The HMA encompasses 109,814 acres of land, including the McCullough Peaks Wilderness Study Area.