“Welfare” Cattle and Our Wild Equines

As promised, here is the post about which HMA’s are used for cow and sheep grazing at any given time during the year, if not all year. If you would like some extra info on this topic, I shall refer you here, as R T Fitch is very very knowledgeable about the ever changing status on that battle.

There are millions of acres of Public land designated to our wild creatures. Our wild creatures. As far as I know, black angus cows and sheep are not wild. They are in fact very domesticated. And I know that there is someone out there who is going to say that our wild horses/burros are not wild but feral. To that someone I say, these equines have been living on Public lands and in HMA’s for decades if not hundreds of years. So, now that that is out of the way, we can get down to business, yes?

I found 30 HMA’s that the BLM admits to using for livestock grazing. Obviously Arizona, California, and New Mexico are just a bit too parched for ranchers to really want anything to do with, but I was a bit surprised, in a good way, that Idaho and Montana supposedly aren’t being used, at least not in herd areas. The first area that I found that is being used for livestock grazing is the Antelope, Nevada HMA. This area is 327,385 acres with an AML (appropriate management level) of 150-324. You can check out the same information that I found here. The second area that I found is the Antelope Valley, Nevada HMA. This HMA is 496,356 acres and has an AML of 115-259. Generally speaking, this HMA’s vegetation consists of rabbitbrush and big and low sagebrush, salt desert shrubs, winterfat, as well as pinyon-juniper shrubs. The grasses that are in larger supply here include needlegrass, Indian ricegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, and Sandberg’s bluegrass. This HMA can also receive from 5-18 inches of precipitation per year, depending on where you are in the HMA, as different parts receive different amounts.

Bald Mountain is the third HMA that I found that is used for livestock grazing. This HMA spans 139,693 acres and has an AML of 129-215. The vegetation in this HMA includes both big and low sagebrush shrubs, greasewood, bluebunch wheatgrass, pinyon-junipers shrubs, Sandberg’s bluegrass, and Indian ricegrass. The fourth HMA that has been/ is hosting cows and/or sheep for grazing is the Black Rock Range, Nevada HMA. This area is spread across 183,520 acres with an AML of 112-186, according to the BLM. By now, you may have noticed the trend of vegetation and grasses that are available in these HMA’s that are being used, that they are have at least some supply of needlegrass, and such, though this HMA also has wild rye, horsebrush, rabbitbrush, Indian paintbrush, and squirreltail. This area receives 6-14 inches of precipitation in any given part of this HMA.

The fifth HMA is the Blue Wing Mountains, Nevada, which is 17,913 acres with an AML of 44-64. Naturally, this HMA has many of the same vegetation types and grass types but with the addition of desert peach, budsage, and desert needlegrass. This area receives 4-8 inches of precipitation per year, depending on the elevation. Buffalo Hills is the sixth HMA that is openly being used to graze cattle and sheep on. This HMA sits on 125,207 acres and has an AML of 188-314 animals. Of course, this HMA has vegetation and grasses in common with the other HMA’s that are on this list. No coincidence, not at all, of course I figured that grasses would be the one thing that linked all of these areas together.

The Calico Mountains, Nevada HMA is the seventh victim of the “welfare” ranchers. Sitting on the large spread of 158,086 acres and with a moderate AML of 200-333, the vegetation found in this HMA is consistent with the vegetation found in the other six (6) HMA’s that are being abused in the same manner. The eighth is Callaghan, Nevada HMA. This HMA is 152,726 acres and has an AML of 134-237. The information written about the vegetation and shrubbery in this HMA is somewhat lacking in its precision, but I believe that it is safe to assume that this HMA is no different in what is available t0 graze on, from the others. The ninth HMA that is being misused is Fox-Lake Range, Nevada, which is 172,692 acres and has an AML of 122-204. Naturally, there is little to no deviation from the “norm” in available grazing grasses.

The Goshute, Nevada HMA is the tenth area being violated by cattle and sheep ranchers. This HMA is 266,045 acres and the AML is 74-123 animals. I find it somewhat interesting that despite the fact that this is a larger HMA, the AML is significantly smaller compared to the other HMA’s. Regardless, this HMA still falls right into the trend of grasses and shrubs that these areas have in common with each other. Granite Range, Nevada HMA is the eleventh area that is being impacted by “welfare” ranchers. This HMA consists of 92,016 acres and has an AML of 155-258. Now maybe you can see what I was talking about in the Goshute section about HMA’s getting bigger but AML’s getting smaller. Zero deviation from the trend that we are studying with available grasses and grazing opportunities, of course.

Apologies for the absurdly long post, though I’ll admit, there is another coming. Since this isn’t even half of what I have so far, and I obviously want to be as thorough as I can be and get my research as correct and accurate as possible, it will probably be at least this long when I do write it. Thank you so much for being patient and willing :). Have a marvelous day!!



One thought on ““Welfare” Cattle and Our Wild Equines

  1. Pingback: “Welfare” Cattle and Our Wild Equines (Part II) | allthewildponies

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