Daily Reports: Devil's Garden Wild Horse Roundup 2019

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See how we are fighting for the Devil's Garden horses here.

September 12, 2019 - 24 more mustangs were sorted in the temporary facility at the Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals. A total of 165 horses have been captured from the Devil’s Garden Plateau since September 5.

The contractors established a new trap site at Boles Spring yesterday and will begin operations tomorrow. 

September 11, 2019 - 49 horses were rounded up and from the Logan Slough trap site on the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory.

September 10, 2019 - 24 wild horses were captured in the roundup today from the Logan Slough trap site on the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory. This included 12 mares, six studs and six foals.

September 9, 2019 – Forest Service 27: Devil’s Garden Wild Horses 

The fifth day of the roundup on the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory resulted in 27 horses, including several foals, being permanently removed from their federally protected habitat.

Once again, the trap site was at Logan Slough. The helicopter targeted large groups of horses who were spotted at least 2 miles south of it.  Because of the distance and trees, visibility was totally obscured. Occasionally, the helicopter and the siren used to help move the horses could be heard.  The trap site afforded only a rare view of the horses’ heads as they were moving into it or being loaded onto the trailers.

AWHC team members were the only public observers.

The Forest Service has not reported any injuries or deaths.

Early Monday morning, the agency allowed the public full view of all the horses removed so far at its Double Devil Corrals. Body condition scores ranged from 3-5, which translates into good to excellent shape.
The Forest Service expects the roundup and removal to continue for 30 days.

September 8, 2019  -  Seven Wild Horses Lose Their Freedom on Day Four of the Devil’s Garden Roundup

The U.S. Forest Service removed another 7  horses from Logan Slough in the southeast corner of the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory, bringing the total number to 25 in the first four days of the roundup.

Once again, the helicopter had difficulty finding horses and moving them into the trap, with wind playing a factor.  The first band of four horses wasn’t captured until midafternoon. 

In the morning, about 10 horses, including at least 1 foal, were spotted outside the gather site. It’s unknown whether any of them were eventually captured. 

Although the area for public observation was less than ½ mile away from the trap, a tree line and the location of the trap made it almost impossible to see any part of the operation.

The Forest Service reports that there were no injuries or deaths.  

AWHC team members were the only public observers.

In 2018, the Forest Service removed around 500 horses from Logan Slough. The location of Monday’s trap site has yet to be determined.

September 7, 2019  -  Fifteen Wild Horses Removed from Devil’s Garden on Day Three of Roundup

Today’s roundup and removal of wild horses took place on Logan Slough, a section of the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory that is also part of an allotment where 300 privately-owned cow/calf pairs are allowed to graze.  As on Thursday, the horses were difficult to locate and herd into the trap.

AWHC team members were the only public observers.

Although the U.S. Forest Service eventually captured 15 horses – 5 stallions, 8 mares, and 2 foals, two bands of horses eluded the helicopter.

The area for public observation was about ¼ - ½ mile away from the trap site.  Visibility was severely limited by a tree line as well as smoke during the morning from a fire about 15 miles southeast of Logan Slough.

In early afternoon, the helicopter’s first two attempts to bring in two bands of horses were unsuccessful.  According to Forest Service staff, one horse took cover under a tree, resulting in the helicopter losing the other members of the band while it tried to move him.  Another band of horses escaped when a stallion ran toward the helicopter and away from the trap, taking the other horses with him.  Later, two horses jumped over the jute fabric hung along the entrance to the trap and also escaped.

The Forest Service reports that there were no injuries or deaths. 

After the horses were trailered to the Double Devil Corrals for sorting and processing,  the Forest Service  allowed public access for viewing.  Horses from both today’s and Thursday’s operations were in good condition, with body condition scores between 3 and 4.

See other ways we are fighting for the Devil's Garden horses here.

Day 2, September 6, 2019 - Day Two of Devil’s Garden Roundup/Removal of Wild Horses Cancelled

The Devil’s Garden wild horses were given a one-day reprieve. More than a dozen fires on the Modoc National Forest resulted in the roundup/removal being delayed for several hours this morning.

Although the U.S. Forest Service planned to start the operation in the afternoon, the contractor, Sun J. Livestock, cancelled it after deciding that high winds would make flying dangerous.

The Forest Service expects the roundup/removal will continue on Saturday at Logan Slough, which is southeast of Steele Swamp, the site of Thursday’s operation, and part of the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse

Over the last few days, thunderstorms and lightning moved across the Modoc National Forest and surrounding areas, igniting multiple wildfires primarily in grass, brush, and juniper trees.

Day 1, September 5, 2019  - Nineteen Wild Horses Removed During Day One of Devil’s Garden Roundup

The first day of the helicopter roundup on the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory targeted 19 horses on Steele Swamp in the northeast corner of the Modoc National Forest. According to U.S. Forest Service officials, they’re considered “trespass horses” because they are migrating between the Territory and private land, and the agency is responding to the landowner’s request for their removal. 

Throughout the day, locating the horses proved to be difficult, in part, because they had moved into the tree line for cover.  Although the helicopter took off around 8am, after several hours and many loops around this section of the lava strewn plateau, it had to return multiple times for refueling.  Finally, around noon, six horses – all stallions – were captured with the assistance of a Judas horse – a domestic horse trained to lead wild horses into the trap.  It took another three hours before a second group of 13 horses – a mix of stallions, mares, and yearlings – met the same fate. 

Public observation of the operation was from a slight slope about a half a mile south of the trap site and largely obscured by trees.  Body conditions of the horses is unknown.  Viewing of them at the Double Devil Corrals was postponed until tomorrow because of the late finish of the roundup.

The Forest Service plans to remove 500 horses over the next month.  Sun J Livestock is the contractor. The spring 2019 census estimated that 1,802 horses are residing on the 258,000 acres of federal rangelands.

Note: Photos were taken with a 500 telephoto lens and a teleconverter of 1.4, so the image is compressed, making things look closer to each other than they are. For example, the helicopter was not as close as it appears to the horses.

See other ways we are fighting for the Devil's Garden horses here.