On July 17, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined members of the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition in urging House Appropriations Committee Members to support amendments that would improve rangeland health by giving the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the tools needed to reduce populations of wild horses and burros on federal land.
In its communication with appropriators, the Coalition noted that wild horse and burro populations exceed 73,000 individuals on federal lands which have resources to sustain less than 27,000 in balance with other rangeland uses. The cost of caring for more than 46,000 un-adopted horses and burros in holding facilities reaches nearly $50 million per year. Under current policies and budgets, BLM does not have the capacity to curb the 15 to 20 percent annual growth of on-range populations. The continuation of current policies will exacerbate the situation – at the cost of rangeland health and the health of wild horses.
The Coalition also reiterated its statement supporting the President’s FY18 Request to remove appropriations language that restricts management options authorized by the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This request would also implement a September 2016 recommendation of the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.
The full House Appropriations Committee held a markup of the FY 18 Interior Appropriations bill on Tuesday, July 18. During the hearing, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus member Congressman Chris Stewart (UT) introduced an amendment to remove appropriations language that is inconsistent with the Coalition’s recommendations. The amendment was approved by the Committee prior to advancing the Interior spending bill to the House Floor.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?