Red Desert wild horses

Herds of horses run wild in the Red Desert, mixing with pronghorn and elk. Five were found shot over the last few months in the area. The Bureau of Land Management is investigating. 

Christine Peterson, Star-Tribune

The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the shooting of five wild horses in south-central Wyoming’s Red Desert, the agency said in a statement last week.

Three horses were found shot in early November and two more in mid-January in a similar location.

“Preliminary findings suggest all five horses were shot,” the statement said.

The horse were found both on Green Mountain and near the Three Forks/Atlantic City Road in the Pickett Lake area. The BLM is working with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to investigate the incident.

Wild horses and burros are protected under federal law, and the BLM is responsible for managing the animals on government land. The animals have been the source of controversy in Wyoming, with the BLM finding itself at the center of disputes between the State of Wyoming, the livestock industry and environmentalist groups that support protecting the horses.

The livestock industry and the state government have argued that allowing the horses unfettered access to public lands where sheep graze is unreasonable while wild horse advocates have claimed that federal law mandates such access. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found last year that the BLM was illegally managing wild horses along the Interstate 80 corridor in southern Wyoming by treating public land as if it were private.

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to contact BLM officer Thomas Howell at 307-332-8469.

Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics.

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State Politics Reporter

Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics including the Legislature and Wyoming’s D.C. delegation, focusing especially on the major issues facing the Cowboy State like economic diversification and what it means to be the most conservative state in the nation.

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