Starting Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management is set to begin a helicopter roundup of about 365 wild horses from the Challis Herd Management Area in Custer County, Idaho.
Over five to nine days, the agency plans to remove about 244 horses and re-release 121. Mares turned back out are to be treated with fertility control.
The purpose of the roundup is to reduce “overpopulation” on the Herd Management Area, according to the agency, which estimates the current population to be about 429 wild horses.
The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the 168,700-acre HMA is 185-253 horses — as low as one horse for every 912 acres.
By comparison, BLM allows up to 16,065 Animal Unit Months for seasonal livestock grazing on six allotments that overlap a portion of the Herd Management Area by 79 percent or more. One Animal Unit Month is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep. Actual use in 2017 was 9,075 AUM.
Wild horses that are removed from the range will be transported to the Bruneau (Idaho) Wild Horse Off-Range Corral facility to be prepared for BLM’s adoption and sale program. Those to be released will receive fertility control at the Challis (Idaho) Off-Range Corral Facility.
Click here to read BLM’s planning documents.
Viewing the roundup
Members of the public interested in viewing the roundup should call (208) 879-6271 to receive specific information the night before they wish to attend. Observers must provide their own transportation, water and food. Binoculars and high-clearance vehicles are recommended.