Citizen concern for wild mustangs

riverspringsmustangs

Mustangs in River Springs range. (Photo by Sierrawave reader)

As  federal agencies planned to set up a meeting regarding the Montgomery Pass wild mustang herd in the new year, informed sources claimed to Sierra Wave that the local Department of Fish and Game might consider elimination, by paid hunters, of 30 to 40 wild mustangs in the area.

Bruce Kinney, who heads up the Fish and Game office in Bishop, refused to return our phone call on this matter.  We contacted Andrew Hughan, of Fish and Game Communications in Sacramento.  He said that he spoke with a Fish and Game supervisor who confirmed that former Fish and Game warden Pat Woods was working currently as a consultant for the department, possibly on a special project. Sources said Woods was hired to assess the wild mustangs. Hughan said those he contacted did not confirm any plan regarding the wild horse herds.

The Bureau of Land Management and Inyo National Forest also deal with wild mustang management to some degree.  Head of BLM here, Bernadette Lovato, said that her agency has very little involvement with wild horse activity.  She did say there is a small overlap of the River Springs herd near Montgomery Pass.  She did not know anything about an elimination plan.

Nancy Upham of the Forest Service said that all she knew about this issue was that there has been talk about setting up a meeting between the “interested and involved parties regarding the Montgomery Pass herd.”  Upham said those she spoke to in the Forest Service had no knowledge of any discussion about shooting any of the horses.  She did say that Forest Service and BlM employees will probably meet regarding the wild horse herd early in the new year.

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Amazed in Bishop
Amazed in Bishop
10 years ago

I am surprised that at 55 mph and going up the pass no less, that you were unable to see this animal running towards you. Perhaps you did not have “sweeping eyes?” I will never forget all those years ago, my driver’s training teacher taught us to always “sweep the… Read more »

Big Rick O'Brien
Big Rick O'Brien
10 years ago

Does anyone know what those big, yellow,reflective signs are for that are posted on BOTH sides of Montgomery Pass, that have a picture of a big horse on them ?

Terry
Terry
10 years ago

I thought those were targets!

Eamon
Eamon
10 years ago

Actually there are no signs on Highway 6 that are “big, yellow, reflective with a picture of a big horse on them”; those are cattle.

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

Eamon not much difference when you hit them at 65mph

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

Don’t really matter what picture is on the sign…at least for me it don’t….If I see a warning sign with an animal pictured in the middle of the sign,it’s gonna not only slow me down,but also make me very aware of what might be on the road ahead.

Big Rick O'Brien
Big Rick O'Brien
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

WRONG… I drove through through there Dec. 30th and AGAIN, on the 2nd, and they are both in place, going up the pass on each side, AND they are HORSES.

Amazed in Bishop
Amazed in Bishop
10 years ago

Eamon, It would be rare that the horse would be attracted to your headlights. Trust me when I say that these horses would rather run away, than run towards. I am sorry that it happened to you but truly, maybe you would consider driving a bit slower when you are… Read more »

Eamon
Eamon
10 years ago

Well considering I was on the uphill climb of the Pass in my beater car the fastest I could go was 55 mph when the speed limit is 65, I was 10 mph slower than the speed limit.

Amazed in Bishop
Amazed in Bishop
10 years ago

Dear Eamon, I was sorry to hear about your accident. It must have been a very tough time for you not to mention the horse. Horses move differently than deer do. They do not just blindly leap on to the road. Unless it is a blind corner, you can see… Read more »

Eamon
Eamon
10 years ago

Well, until you collide with a large animal you’ll understand how in most cases it’s unavoidable. That particular BROWN horse wasn’t standing in the road stopped, it was full speed running towards the highway and in the sunset hours (in the summer) by the time I saw it, it was… Read more »

Eamon
Eamon
10 years ago

That’s great news; after hitting one of those horses on Montgomery Pass on the NV side in my car a few years ago and having it’s head punch through my wind shield, its 1000 lbs body completely crush in the engine compartment of my car, almost killing me, and putting… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

Eamon….Don’t want to sound insensitive here,but a lot of the people living up here in this area see the wildlife as an attraction to the area….the deer,the elk,cattle, sometimes even a bear and vehicle cross paths….With your post,do you feel we should have an all out hunt to rid the… Read more »

Eamon
Eamon
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Of course not; however, Mr. Deja vehicle collisions with animals is one of the largest contributors to accidents in the Inyo/Mono counties and I’m not the only one who has collided with one of those horses in the Montgomery Pass area. Since the BLM and DFG are responsible for the… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

Eamon….Apples and oranges…..With your statement about “management” of these horses,does that also mean DFG is responsible if a vehicle happens to hit a deer?Gosh,wouldn’t that open a slippery slope to a lot of law-suits.You mention that vehicle/animal collisions are one of the largest contributors to vehicle accidents up here.I have… Read more »

Grrrr!
Grrrr!
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Yeah, Wayne – Eamon wants his creature comforts minus the creatures.

enoughalready
enoughalready
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

Hey Eamon – you ought to be more careful when driving thru wild horse country. One of these really big horses might end up thru your windshield……O’ sorry……..hard lesson to learn.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon

A deer can do the same thing. Should we kill all the remaining deer?

Amazed in Bishop
Amazed in Bishop
10 years ago

Benett, It would be interesting to reach out to a PHD out of Ohio as he may be able to provide good information. He developed a humane contraception that has been used on feral horse herds as well as other wildlife. He is no stranger to our area or the… Read more »

Pat Woods
Pat Woods
10 years ago

In the interest of posting the truth in this matter… {“more information”] Whoever your “informed source” is, they are misinformed, or just not telling the truth. I am not a consultant, I am a retired annuitant working part time for the Sacramento DFG office performing purely administrative duties. I am… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Pat Woods

Pat, Thank you for writing. We appreciate information. The problem in this situation is the consistent refusal by DFG’s Bruce Kinney to respond to questions. No one knew how to get in touch with you. We did not say you were working on horse management. We quoted the Sacramento DFG… Read more »

Roy
Roy
10 years ago

Could someone please enlighten me as to where these horses are in Inyo/Mono County,, I have spent over 50 years fishing and visiting the Eastern Sierras and would love the chance to see horses in the wild.

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago
Reply to  Roy

They are at River Springs off of HWY 120. It is on a topo map. If you drive through the old ranch you will see the old Pizona stage stop several miles away. It is a good, straight, dirt road from HWY 120 to River Springs that you can take… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  Roy

Roy…There is a small group of them south of Whitney Portal Road,just as you are turning on Horseshoe Meadow Rd.,in that area…outside of Lone Pine…very small group,maybe 5 to 10.Hope this doesn’t alert the Federal agencies into wanting to eliminate them too!!!….Leave em’ alone….

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

I have seen 10 or 12 just South of Little Lake on the East side of 395 too.

Big Rick O'Brien
Big Rick O'Brien
10 years ago
Reply to  Roy

Roy, the area that I have had the best luck seeing these guys is right at the bottom of the grade when you come down from the old Soper’s Casino going toward Hawthorne. 90% of the time you can see a small herd grazing on both sides of the highway.… Read more »

Rob
Rob
10 years ago

I’d rather see the horses managed by a private party then have them managed by the taxeaters. Nobody has ever got their monies worth from the taxeaters managing anything. with pending budget cuts now would be a good time to send some taxeaters to the unemployment line, before they can… Read more »

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago
Reply to  Rob

Rob, the mountain lions out there are doing a fine job of managing the herd. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I have observed this herd since 1992 (Including from a helicopter) and the population has stayed low due to natural methods. Mother Nature needs no help from us… Read more »

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Horseman

Perfect! I love when the best thing to do is nothing. I would imagine the mountain lions are eating pretty good.

So we’re back to budget cuts and lay offs. I’m all for smaller government.

Catch22
Catch22
10 years ago

“Feral” horses are like feral pigs if left unmanaged. They are non-native species just as cattle are and should be managed to avoid too much competition with the native deer, elk, big horn sheep etc. This management includes thinning out herds and checking for disease that can be transmitted to… Read more »

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago
Reply to  Catch22

These horses have roamed this area for over 100 years. Now all of a sudden there is a problem? Catch22 is another DFG Troll who is trying to do damage control because Benett has busted them on something they were going to do behind the public’s back. The fact that… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Catch22

Sounds like you are talking about white men…..

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Great point Ken. We Europeans are the biggest non-native species having an impact on the environment.

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Horseman

Europeans are the biggest non-native species; as with the horses, population control would solve many problems.

instead society continues its downward spiral

skier
skier
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Funny statement, what color are you? Are you speaking for the tribes around here? What tribe are you a member of?

sierragrl
sierragrl
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

why stop at white men? the asians that came over and populated the americas were non-natives too…certainly blacks are non-natives too. using your logic, all humans are non-natives to the americas…while maybe that’s true, it’s a pretty useless statement.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

…no that’s not my logic — that’s your logic. Read some history.

skier
skier
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

How about some current history, although I’m sure I’ll be labeled racist. Asian immigrants are responsible for stripping the Pacific coast of any sea creatures that they consider edible, regardless of legal bag and size limits, and legal fishing or gathering grounds. This includes fish (halibut, etc.) shellfish (abalone, etc.).… Read more »

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago
Reply to  Catch22

Catch22, since you compare “Feral” pigs to “Feral” horses, would the horses be eliminated in the same way the pigs are eliminated?

Video link: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81491467/

Catch22
Catch22
10 years ago
Reply to  Horseman

Horseman- The elimination method would be up to land managers and would likely not involve being shot from aircraft like coyotes or pigs have been. It is amusing how quickly people jump on the hysteria bandwagon and stretch the imagination in a way that you’re attempting to do. In reference… Read more »

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago

Yeah right. Forty horses are destroying the environment roaming thousands of acres. Gronk is a DFG Troll.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Horseman

Yes, 40 horses doing what a grazing animal does is destroying our environment. But somehow cattle and off road vehicles of all sorts only enhance our environment.

Curiouser and curiouser…..

Gronk
Gronk
10 years ago

It does not sound like these agencies have anything planned at the moment. I doubt very seriously that they would ever be able to shoot these horses. Public opinion against such a thing would be over-whelming. It would never happen. However, the relocation of the horses is a very distinct… Read more »

longtimesierralocal
longtimesierralocal
10 years ago
Reply to  Gronk

Show me a massive trail that they leave, 40 Horses ????

Big Rick O'Brien
Big Rick O'Brien
10 years ago
Reply to  Gronk

Erosion of WHAT…desert sand and sagebrush ?

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Gronk

Look up Gronk in the urban dictionary

BishopDude
BishopDude
10 years ago
Reply to  Rob
Justin Davis
Justin Davis
10 years ago

I hope this issue will be opened up to public input before any decisions are made by the agencies involved. The wild mustangs symbolize our beautiful open range lands and their loss would be a sad commentary on just how skewed and degraded our public values have become.

Horseman
Horseman
10 years ago
Reply to  Justin Davis

Justin, the DFG would have gone out and shot the horses from a helicopter and no one would have known about it if Benett had not broke this story.

Inyoite
Inyoite
10 years ago
Reply to  Horseman

“…informed sources claimed to Sierra Wave that the local Department of Fish and Game might consider elimination…”

“informed sources” – unnamed.
“claimed” – not proven.
“might” – or…might not.

What story was broken here, exactly? This isn’t reporting, this is publishing rumors.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Inyoite

Inyoite, This story is about receiving serious information that needs answers. Fish and Game has so far failed. All we and the public need is a response and a discussion from DFG on this subject. Sometimes the news has to get topics out in the open with the hope of… Read more »

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Justin Davis

The proper term for these horses is “Feral”.