Jan 27, 2015

BLM seeks comments on Pryor mustangs’ birth control

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched a public comment period on an environmental assessment to analyze the continued use of fertility control on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range north of Lovell. The 30-day comment period began Jan. 20.

Fertility control has been used in the Pryors since 2001.

Approximately 60 mares receive fertility treatment each year, said Jared Bybee, BLM wild horse and burro specialist in Billings.

Part of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is within Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and it's not uncommon to see mustangs there, such as these, a stone’s throw from Devil Canyon. The BLM wants to continue using birth control on the Pryor horses. Photo by Gib Mathers
“The Billings field office is excited to be on the cusp of nearly eliminating the need for wild horse removals due to the use of fertility control administered in the field,” said Jim Sparks, Billings BLM field manager.

There are 159 adult wild horses plus 15 or 16 foals born last year, so the potential is for 170 to 175 adults this spring. The appropriate management level is 120 adults.

The last effort to remove wild horses was in 2012, Bybee said. That year, 38 adults and six foals were removed using bait traps. (Bait traps are temporary corrals that use bait to lure the mustangs in for capture.) There were approximately 170 horses on the 38,000-acre range at the time of the removal, according to the BLM.

The Billings bureau office is accepting public comment and is requesting any information, data or analysis pertinent to the environmental analysis.

The assessment is available for review on the BLM website, as is a letter explaining the proposal.

Email comments to blm_mt_wildhorse@blm.gov by Feb. 18 or mail or hand-deliver written comments to James M. Sparks, Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101.

After the comments are analyzed and incorporated into the assessment where appropriate, the BLM will issue a final decision.

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