Pryors Scoping Notice - TCF Suggestions for Comments


Comments should be mailed to:
James Sparks, Field Manager                                         
BLM-Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101

Comments are due October 6 in writing, so your letter needs to be mailed by October 1.

We urge you to make your voices heard in the management of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd. BLM has issued a scoping doc, which is attached here. Please read this brief 3 page document and write to the BLM with your thoughts and recommendations. 

A scoping document is created is created by the BLM, to enable interested parties to submit suggestions and help the BLM seek solutions in managing public lands.

TCF’s suggestions for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range:

PZP Recommendation:

  1. Simplify the application of PZP. All mares should be allowed to have 2 living offspring before the use of the one-year PZP vaccine is initiated via field darting.
  2. After mares have been given PZP for five years in a row, stop darting, as they will likely be permanently sterilized.

Removal Recommendations:

  1. Do not remove any coming 1-4 year-olds at this time, due to the declining population and limited reproduction rate. The only exceptions would be the coming 3 and 4-year-old brothers, Parry and Oak, the offspring of a full brother/sister mating.
  2. We agree that, if removals are necessary, bait trapping is the only acceptable method for removal.

Background information and talking points:

-The AML of 120 is too low to allow for a genetically healthy population, particularly if rare Spanish markers found in the Pryor Herd are to be retained. The AML should be a minimum of 150-200 adult animals.
-BLM should expand the Pryor Wild Horse Range to include the 6,000-acre Demi-John Flat, which was recommended for inclusion in the original range in the early 1970’s.
-The AML should be raised immediately as the Administrative Pastures have an AML of 6-8 horses, and that acreage is now available to the herd.
-According to TCF records, the population of horses ages one year and older is 155, which is 5 horses fewer than the 160 estimated in the Scoping Document.
-Removals have not taken place on average every two years as stated in the Scoping Document. Since we have been keeping records in 1994, removals have been at least 3 years apart—with one exception.
-The Pryor Wild Horse herd is skewing to the older age quadrants. Nearly half the horses are in that quadrant: 77 animals are 10 years of age or older.
-The youngest age quadrants in 2018 (if all survive) would contain 34 horses ages 1-4 years. Currently there are 4 coming yearlings, 6 coming two year olds, 14 coming three year olds, and 10 coming four year olds.
-As with any species, the oldest and the youngest are most vulnerable to die offs. In the Pryor Mountains the biggest killers are extreme weather: Heavy snow, cold, and lightning. In the winter of 1977-1978, most of the old and young horses died due to a combination of deep snow and ice.
-Conclusion: Considering the age makeup of the Pryor Herd and the current reproduction rate that is smaller than the death rate, it seems prudent to err on the side of caution. We recommend that BLM build into any planning document the ability to change course based on unforeseen events over the next 10 months, using adaptive management strategies

Action AlertsJesse Daly