Utah counties suspend wild horse roundup threat

Published on April 30, 2014 at 01:10PM

Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57881862-78/horses-wild-blm-counties.html.csp

Iron and Beaver counties are backing away from their plan, at least for now, to round up wild horses that compete with livestock for scant feed on the parched southwestern Utah ranges. Iron County Commission Chairman David Miller and Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney say they’ll wait until after the foaling season ends June 30 to decide whether to take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, the Utah office of the Bureau of Land Management has requested several hundred thousand dollars to round up more than 700 horses in the two counties this summer. But those requests are competing for funding with others from throughout the West that would amount to removal of more than 6,000 federally protected horses.

Angered that the BLM had millions of dollars to spend going after Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle — but few resources to control wild horses in southwestern Utah — Iron and Beaver counties this spring threatened to round up horses themselves if the BLM won’t do so. Estimates of the number of wild horses in Iron and Beaver counties vary widely, from 1,700 to several thousand. The BLM itself has set 601 as the maximum number of horses, spread across nine herd management areas in the two counties, to maintain a healthy range for all wildlife, cattle and for multiple uses.