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New Ochoco wild horse herd management plan sets ‘appropriate management level’ of 47-57 horses

With population measured at over 100, periodic gathering for adoption planned

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Ochoco National Forest has released the final Environmental Assessment and Decision Notice for the Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan project.

"The new plan is based on current conditions, with updated management tools and protocols, and in alignment with policy and broad social expectations," Friday's announcement said.

The 2021 Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan will establish an appropriate management level of 47-57 wild horses (compared to a population of over 100 horses that was reached several years ago).

The appropriate management level takes into account forage availability in winter and the management of a lack of genetic variability in the horse herd.

The plan discusses periodic gathering of excess horses for adoption, to reach that level, as well as a later possibility of population control through sterilization and contraception.

In addition, it would establish an Emergency Action Framework that provides protocols for when and how the Forest Service will intervene on behalf of sick, injured or starving horses. 

The new Ochoco Wild Horse Herd Management Plan updates the original herd management plan drafted 46 years ago for the designated Big Summit Wild Horse Herd and Territory, located about 25 miles east of Prineville on the Lookout Mountain Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest.

A herd management plan is an operational plan for managing wild free-roaming horses.

“We value the Big Summit wild horse herd and are happy to have this updated herd management plan in place to manage the horses under current conditions,” said Forest Supervisor Shane Jeffries. “We have worked closely with partners in our communities to develop this plan, and that work will continue as we implement the plan.”

For more information on the project and to view the Decision Notice, visit the project web page:

KTVZ news sources



  1. The “feral” horse plan is more like it. Bill the eco-freaks who want to see them roaming around and using their presence to browbeat the USFS – BLM into kneeling before them to do as they bid.

    1. If the CATTLE RANCHERS would QUIT grazing their cattle on BLM land, since wild horses were there first, it wouldn’t be a problem.
      Let the cattle ranchers feed their own animals, instead of culling the wild horses.
      And, we all know that slaughter is always going on for these horses, they just sell to others that do their dirty work for them…shipping them off to Canada, then to Mexico for their meat consumption.
      And, it has NOTHING to do with ‘eco-freaks’, it has to do with killing every single wild animal there is, just so you can walk there, camp there, build your homes there, or graze your sheep or cattle there.
      Wild animals shouldn’t die, or eat your cats and dogs because of you…you…you.

    1. Assuming there are cows permitted there, they are for less damaging to the environment than the Horses. As part of the permitting process, they can be moved when appropriate, and kept at a density that is appropriate for the season and growth stages of plants. Try doing that with feral horses. The cows pay fees as well.

  2. ….and the number of livestock that are “permitted” to be on this land ? Probably a damn sight over 150. Since the horses aren’t “cash cows” , they lose.

  3. Why do they think they need to manage wild horses when they don’t many other species. And don’t use your stupid helicopters to round them up with or anything else. That causes more deaths and injuries to the horses than any predator does. Especially the foals. And where will they send the horses that they will use to put up for adoptions? I hope to a rescue who knows how to care for them. For those that don’t respect these majestic animals, you have no right to say what needs to be done with them any more than they do with cougars that all just need to be relocated rather than shot. They do it with bears all the time.

    1. PJW01,
      Well we shoot feral pigs from Helicopters all the time, do you think we shouldn’t? Why should we treat feral horses any different? They are both nonnative escaped livestock that have gone feral. Feral horses cause major issues to our landscape and watersheds, over eat, increase erosion, trash springs, etc. However the people who think they are pretty lobby and prevent smart management.

      Furthermore, we do manage cougars and coyotes and deer and elk and wolves and cattle and sheep… why can’t we manage horses?

  4. Well intended. But clueless. Do you know how much a horse eats? Do you know how they eat? I mean the mechanics of it, and how it leaves the grass? They manage all sorts of other species. Ever hear of the department of fish and wildlife? You think they might do some management? Where would you relocate these animals? Relocate could so be called introducing an invasive species. Stick to feeding your cats.

  5. Kassidy Kern says they are seeing “degradation of the rangeland”? What does that mean??? I have never seen horses destroy rangeland.

    A google search shows it to be a MYTH. Fact: “Wild horses and burros, like any wildlife species, have an impact on the environment, but due to their natural behavior, their impact is minimal.”

    1. You obviously looked long and hard to cherry pick that fairy tale of a quote. A cursory Google search of “starving feral horses Nevada” will show you some heart wrenching pictures of what unmanaged herds do. It ain’t pretty.

  6. You obviously looked long and hard to cherry pick that fairy tale of a quote. A cursory Google search of “starving feral horses Nevada” will show you some heart wrenching pictures of what unmanaged herds do. It ain’t pretty.

  7. This wouldn’t be an issue if humans stopped trying to manage nature “better” than nature does. We never have and we never will.

    1. That ship sailed a long time ago. We are part of nature, not above or beside it. We have the ability, and responsibility to manage what we can. It’s way too late to do nothing. Cheatgrass, knapweed, the list goes on and on. These things will destroy our ecosystem.

    2. Its about 14,000 years to late for that idea, about the same time “wild” horses went extinct in North America…due to over-hunting by……people.

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