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Horses & Winter: Too Much For Western Wildlife?
The letter below came through my email this morning. I’ll not divulge who wrote it and it was unsolicited, but it does mirror my personal views on the issue of feral horses competing with wildlife. The mule deer, elk and especially pronghorn of southern Wyoming are at a tipping point this “spring” with more big blizzards on the way as I write this.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Wyoming, northern Colorado, Utah and Idaho have suffered and will continue to see massive winter kill on ungulate herds for 2023. Unfortunately, as the below letter states, there isn’t much we can do about that in the moment. But what about giving the surviving animals every possible advantage to rebuild their numbers?
Read the below letter and feel free to pass it along to whomever you think needs to read it.
April 2, 2023
Senator John Barrasso
307 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Barrasso:
I am sure you are well aware that big game populations in Wyoming are suffering tremendous losses due to the severe winter of 2022-23. Tens of thousands of antelope, deer, and elk have perished with more to follow.
Our wildlife populations were hit hard by several years of prolonged drought only to be hit again by repeated blizzards and deep drifting snows this winter. Sadly, hundreds of these animals are now being killed on our roads, highways, and freeways as they seek some of the only vegetation available to them. The situation is now so bad that WYDOT crews are using dump trucks to remove piles of carcasses along Wyoming roadways.
There is nothing we can do about droughts and blizzards. They are out of our control. However, there is one thing within our control that we can do to relieve some of the pressure our decimated big game populations are experiencing—let’s remove feral horses that are overpopulating and degrading our public lands, directly competing with resident wildlife for food, water, and space.
I strongly urge you to contact the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and to have them conduct the roundups (“gathers”) that they have been planning to do for several years. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. Please do whatever you can to get the BLM off dead center and do their job. The need is URGENT. Let’s get this done ASAP!
Cc: Mr. Mark Gordon, Governor of Wyoming
Mr. Brian Nesvik, Director WGFD
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