On or about Sept. 14, the Bureau of Land Management will begin a helicopter roundup of wild horses on the Four Mile Herd Management Area, located north of Emmett, Idaho. The agency plans to capture 189 wild horses, permanently removing 173 and returning eight mares treated with fertility control and eight studs to the range.
BLM’s stated reason for the roundup is the estimated population of 210 wild horses, including foals, exceeds the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 37-60 wild horses on the 18,800-acre Herd Management Area.
By comparison, BLM allows up to 4,449 Animal Unit Months of seasonal private livestock grazing (the equivalent of 371 cow-calf pairs annually) on an allotment, 53 percent of which overlaps the Herd Management Area (one Animal Unit Month is the amount of forage needed to feed one cow-calf pair, one horse or five sheep for a month). No livestock grazing is allowed between Aug. 16 and Oct. 31 of each year, according to February 2020 planning documents.
Captured wild horses will be transported to the Boise, Idaho, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Facility to be readied for adoption or sale.
In 2003, removed 37 wild horses from Four Mile and returned 20 mares to the range treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22. In 2009, 112 wild horses were removed and 11 mares were treated with PZP-22.
In 2021, BLM plans to use the fertility control vaccine GonaCon.
RTF strongly supports the use of safe, proven and humane fertility control to eliminate future roundups; however, because GonaCon affects the hormone system, it may cause other behavioral changes that would alter herd dynamics, so RTF believes more studies are needed to ensure that GonaCon meets the parameters of ethical and thoughtful wildlife fertility control.
Viewing the roundup
Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once signed up and confirmed, an e-mail with instructions including meeting time and location will be sent out. To sign up, email BLM_ID_WHG@blm.gov before Sept. 9. and be prepared to give your name, phone number and number of people in your party.