BLM Socorro Water Trap Method Wild Horse Gather
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BLM Socorro Water Trap Method Wild Horse Gather

August 12, 2019


The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act
of 1971 charged the Bureau of Land Management and other Federal agencies with protecting
and managing wild horses and burros found on public lands. The BLM’s Socorro Field Office
manages the Bordo-Atravesado wild horse herd. The Bordo Atravesado Herd Management Area
is about 15 miles northeast of Socorro, New Mexico. There are over 19,000 acres in the
Herd Management Area—a mix of public, private, and state land. From my understanding from the local history
I have obtained is they moved into this area around the 1950s, and it was a small group
of horses. The del Cuarto family managed them from about 25 head and periodically they would
gather them and work them, and they used them for ranch horses. And then with the passage
of the Act they became our responsibility. The
Bordo HMA can support 40-60 wild horses. Annual
monitoring of rangeland health conditions determines the need for periodic removal of
excess horses, occurring every few years. The area is beautiful, but the resources are
limited and fragile. The horses on the Bordo HMA are managed for
the longevity of the herd, for the health of the herd, and for the sustainability of
the public rangeland resource. If the horses on the Bordo HMA were not gathered and actively
managed by BLM, in conjunction with the permittee, the number would just continue to increase
and escalate over years. The condition of the horses and of the rangeland resource would
both deteriorate and that is not in the best interest of the public management of this
resource. When we don’t take the animals off there can
be an overpopulation, and it is a problem with the watershed. It is a problem with grasses
not growing. It is an overrun of the species. The BLM’s Socorro Field Office uses a unique
water trapping method to gather horses. This horse gather is significantly smaller and
more low key than the typical BLM horse gather. The stress on the horses is minimal. Since
the Bordo Herd Management Area receives very little rainfall, conditions are dry most of
the year. The horses rely on manmade water sources around the Herd Management Area. During
the gather, all of the water sources, except one, are fenced off. The only watering site
that is not fenced off is the pond of water inside the corrals. The horses are used to
coming into this corral throughout the year to get water. So when the other watering sources
are fenced off, the horses will end up at this site. As the horses approach the corrals,
the contractors wait inside the shed until the horses are far enough inside the corral
for him to close the gate behind them. Once the horses have entered the corral to approach
the water, the contractor manually closes the gate behind the horses or he uses the
rope and pulley system to close the gate behind the horses. Once inside the corrals, the horses
are moved to separate, adjacent corrals and are given food and water. You know, some of the benefits of water trapping
is it does make it less stressful for the animals. We are not having to gather or to
push them into the corrals. They are coming in on their own and basically being confined
there and then they’re taken care of with feed and water. And so, as far as the stress
of moving them into the corrals is taken off, and so it’s a lot easier on them.
I think water trapping is the most humane way to do these things, in this particular
situation. It’s rugged; you can see the mountains behind me. It’s a rugged territory here, and
the horses are rugged animals. The water trapping works very well here. I think this is a herd
that we can all be proud of.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. This much more humane then then chasing the mustangs down with helicopters which is very inhumane. Why does BLM use this method else where?

  2. Why doesn't BLM use this bait method on all their round ups instead causing great stress and death by using helicopters and crowding different bands together. Have they any common sense? Or even care about the horses?

  3. Blm is a joke organization mob. All lies animals been on this plant longer than any these people, all thay want is to contorl everthing.

  4. I have an idea lets gather all the blm workers with water it will be less stressful,  bull shit .This vid is for idiots thst don't know shit. It cost how much to gather the horse,  o that is not your monry. But you BLM  do what you want.

  5. You are set up perfectly to dart these horses with contraception and release them, however you choose to continue to remove genetics and family from the range to the tax supported holding pens. This is against the recommendation of the National Academy od Sciences who said this management causes the horses to produce more. That is compensatory reproduction. This is not fiscally responsibe, and not humane.

  6. Leavethe horses and wolves alone. Nature has been sorting out herd size for hundreds of years. You say they're starving but they don't appear to be anything but fat. You're just trying to profit.

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