July 20, 2009 – 2009 Gather Plan

The BLM’s Billings Field Office has just released the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range 2009 Draft Gather and Population Management Plan and Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA).

(Please click on the image or here to view the document in PDF format.)

The document is now up for public review. The review period lasts for 30 days, and it starts today (July 20th). Written comments may be hand delivered or submitted by mail. They must be submitted to:

Jim Sparks, Field Manager

BLM – Billings Field Office

5001 Southgate Drive

Billings, MT 59101

Please read through this document and determine if there is any additional relevant data, information, or analysis that can help the BLM make the best decisions for the herd!

Also, please remember that the Pryor horses gathered will be available for adoption on September 26, 2009, which is National Wild Horse Adoption Day. Please visit the National Wild Horse Adoption Day Web Site for more information on adopting a wild horse.

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

July 14, 2009 – 2009 Foals Update

As I’ve said a number of times, there are usually around 30 foals born per year. The survival rate of foals has dramatically fluctuated in the past ten years. In the early 2000’s, the Pryor horses were going through the “mountain lion years” when only a handful of foals were surviving from all of those cohorts combined. In 2005 things started to turn around, but a number of the 2005 foals were removed as yearlings during the 2006 gather. By 2007, the foal crops were very successful. Just a few years prior to 2007, only a few foals per cohort were surviving. Starting in 2007, only a few foals per cohort were going missing. We now come to 2009, when things could possibly be returning to how they were in past “normal” years – Some foals, but not the majority, are going missing while others are doing just fine, for now.

In 2009, we have found 33 foals born. 14 of these were females, and 19 of them were males. Of these 33, we have found 8 foals missing. Of these 8, we have found 3 of them; and they just seemed to have died of their own natural causes. With the 25 foals still surviving, 10 are females and 15 are males.

We’ve had a few foals born recently that were surprises to me. One of these foals gets a good amount of attention due to an injury he has on his neck.

On the left side he looks like a nice healthy foal.

On the left side, though, he’s got a pretty good gash on his neck.

Despite this injury, he really is healthy.

The other day, someone told me about a new foal in Baja’s harem – They said it belonged to the three year old grulla filly in the harem. We sort of thought she was pregnant, but it was difficult to be certain as this filly is still in her birth harem with her parents. I was able to find Baja’s harem a couple days later, and I found a new foal. However, the foal was obviously not out of the grulla; it was out of a two year old dun filly, a younger sister to the grulla.

This foal was just hours old – His mother still had blood on her tail, and he was pretty wobbly.

I did get to see the other foal too – He is a very striking colt.

It’s been interesting for me this year to see the young mothers, like these above, having foals. I haven’t been watching the horses closely for many years, but I am now seeing females I saw as foals having their own foals. One third of the foals born this year have been born to mothers that are 4 years of age and under.

As we approach the end of this summer, when the Bureau of Land Management plans to have a potentially large gather, it is important to understand population issues like these above as the BLM removes horses as a method of population control.

On this note, the adoption for the Pryor horses this year will take place on September 26, which is National Wild Horse Adoption Day. If you have any interest in adopting a wild horse, please visit the Adoption Day’s web site to learn more information. More specific information on the Pryor adoption will be posted here as it becomes available too.

Published in: on July 14, 2009 at 4:41 am  Comments (3)