114 wild horses captured, 1 dead as Frisco HMA (Utah) roundup begins

/ In The News, News, Roundups
Wild horses flee from a contractor’s helicopter on the Frisco Herd Management Area in 2016. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

A total of 114 wild horses have been captured during the first three days of a helicopter roundup on the Frisco Herd Management Area, northwest of Milford, Utah.

One horse has died, put down for an as yet unspecified chronic or pre-existing condition, according to BLM’s daily gather reports.

The wild horses captured include 43 studs, 39 mares and 22 foals.

The purpose of the roundup is to locate and capture 21 mares that had previously fitted with radio collars and global positioning system tracking devices as part of a population-control experiment. The BLM plans to remove about 200 wild horses in the process, over a period of about eight days.

During this roundup, BLM has no plans to treat mares with safe, proven and humane fertility control that would reduce the need for future gathers.

The 60,367-acre Frisco Herd Management Area is made up of 48,852 acres of federally managed land, 5,745 acres of state land and 5,770 acres of private land.

The BLM-set Appropriate Management Level for the HMA is 30-60 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 1,628 acres.

By comparison, the agency allows seasonal grazing of privately owned cattle and sheep on four allotments that overlap the HMA with a total Animal Units Months of 16,590. One AUM is defined as the amount of forage to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse or five sheep or goats for one month.

Wild horses removed from their home range will be shipped to the Axtell (Utah) Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility to be prepared for adoption or sale.

Read BLM’s planning documents here.

Viewing the roundup

To view the roundup, members of the public should call the BLM gather hotline at (801) 539-4050 for meeting places. Observers must provide their own transportation, water and food. No public restrooms are available. Observers must bring their own hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing. Those who have been sick in the previous 14 days or who have been exposed to someone who is ill must not attend.