BLM to use water to lure, trap wild horses

After providing emergency water to about 50 wild horses south of Rangely, the Bureau of Land Management will use the substance to lure and trap them for removal due to the extreme drought.

The BLM said in a news release that it is scheduled to begin the emergency roundup — it calls such actions “gathers” — on Sunday. It will last until 50 horses are gathered, or for 30 days, whichever comes first.

The BLM said it will use what it calls water trapping, where panels are added over a period of days to an area around an artificial water source. A trapper lets the horses get used to the panels until entry is reduced to a single point, then closes a gate on them when they come for water.

The horses are on the southeastern side of Texas Mountain in what’s called the West Douglas Herd Area.

In June, the BLM determined the horses were running low on water and forage due to the drought. It began short-term delivery of water until it could decide on a further course of action, which it later determined should entail removing the horses.

The agency has been trying for years to get court approval to remove all wild horses in the West Douglas area, which it considers unsuitable range for the animals. A federal court recently authorized the emergency roundup of the 50 or so animals the agency says are immediately threatened by the drought.

The Cloud Foundation wild horse advocacy group opposes such roundups and contends wild horses have weathered past droughts in the West Douglas area.

Horses that are captured will be taken to a temporary holding facility near Rangely, and then to the BLM’s wild horse facility in Cañon City. Most will be available for public adoption, and those not adopted will be put in long-term pastures.

More information on the roundup is available at, or by contacting the BLM’s White River Field Office at 970-878-3800.

The BLM also has begun providing supplemental water in three officially designated wild horse management areas in the state: Piceance-East Douglas southwest of Meeker, Sand Wash near Maybell and Spring Creek outside of Dolores. Those in the Little Books Cliffs Herd Management Area outside of De Beque currently are getting by on natural water supplies.


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