BLM plans to remove entire wild horse population from West Douglas Herd Area

Staff report
Steamboat Pilot & Today
Wild horses are chased by a helicopter during a Bureau of Land Management gather in the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area in Rio Blanco County on July 19, 2022.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Bureau of Land Management announced Monday the agency will begin a wild horse gather Sept. 1 in the West Douglas Herd Area with plans to remove the entire population of wild horses.

There are an estimated 122 wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, but the “appropriate management level for wild horses in this area is zero,” according to the BLM.

“The West Douglas Herd Area is not managed for wild horses due to limited food and water, which causes the horses to stray into private lands,” BLM White River Field Office Manager Bill Mills said in a news release. “The removal of excess wild horses will protect the rangelands and reduce impacts to sensitive animal species and adjoining private properties.”

The planned removal of wild horses in West Douglas Herd Area, about 20 miles south of Rangely, follows a large roundup from the Piceance-East Douglas Wild Horse in summer 2022.

The 2022 roundup was divided into two stages with bait and water trap operations proceeding drive-trap gather operations by horseback riders and helicopters.

The BLM says the roundup that’s scheduled to begin this week will also be done using a helicopter.

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