An Update On The Scoping Notice For Changes To The PZP Program In The Pryors.

Kiva's foal, Madrid, July 2012
Kiva’s foal, Madrid, July 2012

There have been a lot of questions and confusion on the scoping letter that was sent out last week.  You can read about that letter by clicking SCOPING LETTER.  I decided to make another post on it, so that those that want to know more can read it in this post, instead of having to wade through all the comments from my previous post.

I am still waiting to hear from The Cloud Foundation on what exactly what their proposal is going to be.  I have been in contact with Ginger and I hope to have that answer soon.

So while I waited, I contacted Jared to ask for some clarification on what this meant.  Thank you so much Jared for getting back to me so fast.  Here is what he had to say:


You really need to ask TCF what they exactly have in mind.  The scoping letter pretty much explains it. TCF isn’t the only party that has wondered if the current PZP prescription is adequate, based upon the details provided in the scoping notice about demographics, efficacy, timing due to access, etc  TCF just requested BLM do more. The first place to start to determine the feasibility is a scoping notice. There has been no proposal from any party for an Assateague model, that died in 2010 when the preliminary current  EA was issued and the public saw exactly what they asked the BLM to do.  This is an opportunity for the public to send BLM a proposal, instead of BLM sending one out and trying to read the tea leaf’s.  Any scoping comments provided to the BLM are public record.
Hope this clarify’s things
Jared Bybee

Rangeland Management Specialist
Montana/Dakotas State Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
5001 Southgate Drive Billings MT 59101
Mobile: 406-698-4831
Fax: 406-896-5281
Lakota, June, 2012
Lakota, June, 2012

I have my letter ready to send, but will wait until I hear from The Cloud Foundation on their proposal.  But, I am thinking it will not change.  Here is that letter:

Dear Mr. Sparks,

In regards to the scoping letter regarding the PZP program released April 1, 2013, I as a Montana resident, frequent visitor to the Pryors and permit holder within the Pryors request that the current PZP program remain in place.  I feel I have been able to observe and study the horses in their home intently.  This year alone, I will be with them for more than 50 days.

I feel that we should see how the current plan works on a good year. With the NPS assisting in the darting of the horses, I feel that the horses will be given the injections in a more timely manner. We should give this program some more time to see how it is working and then re-evaluate as necessary for the next phase starting in 2015.

I would hate to see a rushed decision on changes to the PZP program.

I do not support any changes to the current plan.

Thank you.


Sandra P. Elmore

UPDATE:  Here is the link to TCF proposal, just released tonight.  I still stand by my letter above.  Click TCF to go there.  

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

10 thoughts on “An Update On The Scoping Notice For Changes To The PZP Program In The Pryors.

  • Has there been a change in the procedure for administering the PZP? I read in several posts that you could see the small wound in the hip showing the mares had been darted,a nd I knew there hadn’t been any publicly announced helicopter round ups, so I wondered if there was a move to directly hand deliver the PZP without the big round ups. Is this the plan you are talking about? Matt Dillon had at one time supported the attempts to do this on a less intense scale than a full scale round up

    • Hi Betty, Thank you for you comment. No, there have been no changes in the way they administer the PZP. It is still done in the field by dart gun. Yes, some of the mares do have a mark that you can see for a few weeks after it was done, some it lasts for longer. The last gather was last year (bait trapping). This is the same PZP plan that has been in place since 2011.

  • I think your letter is a good one and I agree with you on leaving the current pzp plan in place. I believe that we will begin to see less foals born this year and definitely next year as the NPS has been darting the mares in a timely manner and there are more people doing the darting. I feel that they have been darting targeted mares at the time of year for the pzp to be most effective.
    Since this plan has only been in effect since 2011 I think there should be more time allowed to see how effective this plan is. I believe a more aggressive plan would be detrimental to this small herd and could lead to a catastrophic reduction in the population of horses in the PMWHR.
    While I support this plan, I am all for range expansion that could lead to a higher AML, then the need for an even more aggressive plan would be unnecessary. I also believe that one cannot control a total population using pzp alone and that future removals will most likley be necessary, but I would like to see smaller removals and bait trapping methods used. We are altering what nature intended and I think that any change in the current pzp plan needs to be studied more before being implemented, if at all.

    • Excellent summary, Lori. 🙂 I’m with you. And, your reassurance that the PZP program is working better this year, is very helpful.

      I do have a bit more reading and thinking to do before I draft my letter, and I really appreciate seeing the comments on here. And thank you, Sandy, for sharing how you will make your points, and for all the info you have provided me with. 🙂

      I read the TCF position statement and found myself in agreement with them in theory, but I do really think a plan that agressive (across the board), is too risky and that it would be better to err on the side of having a small number of unexpected births, than to have a serious situation arise and possibly lose too many. If, hopefully, this process begins to operate so well that the outcome can be considered quite predictable, then maybe the numbers could be moved a bit higher—if needed. But, there is also the hope that the area the horses can live on may be enlarged somewhat in the near future, having a positive effect. If not, it can be dealt with then.

      I’m in TOTAL agreement with the idea of “adaptive management” and would love to see THAT become a reality.

      I don’t think making a change for Seneca is a good idea, at this time, because of her relationship to the two stallions closest to her now. If she weren’t scheduled for PZP in the current plan, then I’d say let Nature take it’s course, but this may be one time it’s lucky if it doesn’t. Maybe she’d even go off with a different stallion. But they are a good little family the way they are for the time being, and it won’t surprise me if a total change would take place after a while, with Jesse James leaving to strike out on his own and Hickok stealing another mare to procreate with, or Seneca getting taken away. There are lots of possibilities. I just don’t think doing something to encourage the birth of a possibly inbred and incapacitated foal is the thing to do.

      I personally have a lot of faith in the time, effort and knowledge that has gone into coming up with the plan that is in place now, and I really don’t think the kind of problems that plagued it in 2011 will be repeated in the next 2 years. My vote is to just hang tough for a bit and not panic.

      • I agree with you Linda on many of the points that you brought up, and especially the part where you said, there has been a huge amount of effort and knowledge that has gone into the current plan that is in place now and even Matt had said that it would take years to see the effects of this plan. I agree with that theory. However, I would like to see the plan change to give the BLM more flexibility with the Dry Head sub-herd so that there were more horses that will live there. As it is there are not enough mares and too many stallions. I would like to see that number become more balanced in the years to come. Also, if there were to be some range expansion, (Sorenson ext., Adm. pasture) this would allow for more horses in this area. But all of this will come in time, I have faith, and for now the way I see it is to leave this plan intact and give it a fair chance before implementing a plan that is too drastic for this small herd who live in an unpredictable environment.

  • Sandy, I love the pic of Lakota that you posted here, even tho it brings back the vivid memory of the sadness we felt when we found him that day so badly injured and in such pain. I felt that he was comforted by standing there looking out over the great expanse of the Range that he could see from there, and I remember that we believed there was still hope for him, even tho that was not to be. RIP, Lakota. <3

    • Thank you Linda. I have been missing him the last few days. So I spent several hours going through my “discarded” photos and found several over the past several years that I will be sharing here in a post soon.

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