While in the old days, people used to use lassos to catch wild mustangs, there are other methods used today. Recently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Cameo, Colorado opted to use helicopters to transport wild horses from October 14 to October 21, 2018.
A spokesperson, for BLM, Emily Davis confirmed the use of helicopters. Davis said there is not enough land for the horses due to drought conditions.
“With these drought conditions we’ve seen lately, there’s simply not enough food for them to eat,” Davis said.
In addition, while the use of a helicopter may appear to be a tad unorthodox, Davis claims it will be quicker than other methods the group has attempted.
“When we used the bait and water traps before, only some of the horses were coming to those traps,” Davis said.
Davis said that they are attempting to keep the younger horses with their biological mothers.
Ana Elliot said, “We help to watch the range, and watch the conditions of the horses. I’m out here this morning with the helicopter.”
Elliot said the horses have been treated well, describing the transportation as “quick” and “less stressful.”
While Elliot said she doesn’t want to see the horses go, she understands the reasons behind it. “There’s a limited amount of space, and if unchecked, without a lot of natural predators, it’s going to explode the population,” she said.
The plan for the future is to transport around 33 horses in one week to Canon City. The horses will undergo a vet inspection while there. The horses will go to Grand Valley and be put up for adoption on November 3rd at the Rimrock Adventures in Fruita.
The horses are being transported from the Little Books Cliffs Wild Horse Range. Approximately, 190 horses were found on the range before the start of the transportation efforts.
The previous month, BLM used water and hay to bait in the wild horses, successfully gathering 47. A total of 27 hoses were removed from the range. Problems arose when horses in harder to get to locations in the range were difficult to attract with the bait.
The helicopter is on contract to remove the horses. BLM considers the helicopter method to be safe and effective in gathering the horses.
Steven Hall is a spokesperson for BLM in Colorado. “The fact that we can have a lot of horses placed makes the gather process a viable option,” Hall said.
Some of the horses will go up for adoption. When a horse is not adopted, it can become financially burdening for BLM because it has to keep the hose in a long-term facility.
Kathy McLean, who is a part of the adoption group, Friends of the Mustangs, hopes the horses will go to good homes. “Our plan is to get them all good homes, and we’re determined,” McLean said. “I think they’re all good horses.”
McLean said, “I just would encourage people who are interested in horses to come out and seem them and meet them and see if there are horses that might work out for them. We want it to work for both the horses and the people that are adopting them.”