Friday, November 29, 2013

Pumpkins: A True American Wonder

Characteristics commonly used to define "pumpkin" include smooth and slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange color.

Around 2005, white pumpkins started to become increasingly popular in the United States.

Pumpkins, like other squash, are native to North America.

Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation.

While pumpkin pie is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in the United States, although commercially canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie fillings are usually made from different kinds of winter squash than the pumpkins frequently carved as Jack O'Lanterns for decoration around Halloween.

And yes, as is today, the pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time for at least 400 years in America.

Did you know that the Irish brought the tradition of carving gourds to America?

We all know of the importance of pumpkins for a Jack O'Lantern on Halloween, as Halloween has evolved from the Celtic tradition of All Hallow's Eve to what we know today.

Pumpkin carving evolved from the traditions of this annual event.

But, it wasn't pumpkins that were being carved in these ancient times. Pumpkins are native to America, and were not known to the Celtic people of Ireland. They carved turnips and rutabagas.

It's true! The tradition originally started with the carving of turnips.

When the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they found pumpkins a plenty and they were much easier to carve for their ancient holiday.

On the night which we call Halloween, glowing Jack O'Lanterns carved from turnips or gourds were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits.

Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.

When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in America they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns.

Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in so many ways ever since!

What's in a Name?

Pumpkins are indigenous to the western hemisphere and were completely unknown in Europe before the time of Columbus.

In 1584, the French explorer Jacques Cartier reported from the St. Lawrence region that he had found "gros melons", which was translated into English as "ponpions," or pumpkins.

The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" – the Greek word for "large melon."

But, believe it or not, the term “pumpkin” has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, and is used interchangeably with "squash" and "winter squash" in some areas.

Pumpkin refers to certain cultivars of squash, most commonly those of Cucurbita pepo, that are round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin and deep yellow to orange coloration.

The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. Some exceptionally large cultivars of squash with similar appearance have also been derived from Cucurbita maxima.

Specific cultivars of winter squash derived from other species, including C. argyrosperma, and C. moschata, are also sometimes called "pumpkin".

In New Zealand and Australian English, the term "pumpkin" generally refers to the broader category called winter squash elsewhere.

While pumpkins have been introduced to all corners of the world, pumpkins have been grown in America for over 5,000 years. Native Americans called pumpkins "isqoutm, or isquotersquash."

Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets centuries before the pilgrims landed.

When Pilgrims and other white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by the Indians. That's when pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets as well.

Pilgrims took pumpkins, pies, and seeds back to England, and they quickly became popular.

Just as today, early settlers used pumpkins in a wide variety of recipes, from desserts to stews and soups.

And that's just some of the ways they found to eat pumpkin for themselves, they soon found out that livestock also took to pumpkins and there were others uses for pumpkins including also drying the shells and cut strips to weave into mats.

Did you know that pumpkins are not a vegetable - they are a fruit?

Pumpkins, like gourds, and other varieties of squash are all members of the Cucurbitacae family, which also includes cucumbers, gherkins, and melons - and surprisingly they are considered fruit.

The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BCE, has been found in Mexico.

Pumpkin Beer, Coffee, Ice Cream?

Yup! Several breweries produce a seasonal pumpkin ale, and the pumpkin spice latte is one of the most popular seasonal items sold during the Autumn months at Starbucks.

The largest "official" pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,340 pounds. The largest "unofficial" pumpkin ever grown weighed 1'458 pounds, but was not awarded due to damage.

The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pies?

Pumpkin pie is a traditional sweet dessert, often eaten all year round.

But they are especially plentiful during the fall and early winter around Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States and Canada.

So much so, that it is believed that has much as fifty-four percent of all Pumpkin Pie Spice sales occur in November.

Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.

The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds - it used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

The first and simplest of all pumpkin puddings made by the Pilgrims, involved picking the pumpkin, washing it, hollowing it out, filling it with cream or milk, and baking it whole. This is what developed into pumpkin pie about 50 years after that first Thanksgiving.

In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.

Early colonists preserved pumpkins by drying them. First the skin was peeled and the insides scooped out. The pulp was sliced and placed on drying racks, or hung up to dry in the sun.

Colonists sliced off pumpkin tips; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.

The pumpkin was an early export to France; from there it was introduced to Tudor England, and the flesh of the “pompion” was quickly accepted as pie filler.

During the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie recipes could be found in English cookbooks, such as Hannah Woolley's The Gentlewoman's Companion, which was published in 1675.

The recipes did not appear in American cookbooks until the early nineteenth century.
Pumpkin pie did not become a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner until the early nineteenth century.

The Pilgrims brought the pumpkins and pumpkin pie back to New England, while the English method of cooking the pumpkin took a different course.

In the 19th century, the English pumpkin pie was prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar and then baking it whole.

Many companies produce seasonal pumpkin pie-flavored products such as ice cream, coffee, cheesecake, pancakes, candy, and beer.

Throughout much of the United States it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is made from Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata. "Libbey Select" uses the Select Dickinson Pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkins.

Many recipes, among them Pie and Cheesecake, include eggs and whole milk or half and half. The end product is outstanding in taste!

As for pumpkins and Thanksgiving?

Well, there are reports and documentation that say pumpkins were a part of the first Thanksgiving meal of the Pilgrims and the Indians.

Pumpkins from that time forward, have been, and continue to be a tradition at the Thanksgiving feast.

Not only is it associated with the meal itself, but the pumpkin has adorned and decorated homes and communities in honor of this event for hundreds of years.

Pumpkin and your Health

Pumpkins are 90 percent water.  Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and potassium. And yes, they are also high in fiber.

Pumpkin, raw, Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz), Energy 109 kJ (26 kcal):

Carbohydrates 6.5 g,  Sugars 2.76 g, Dietary fiber 0.5 g, Fat 0.1 g, Protein 1 g, Vitamin A equiv. 426 μg (53%), beta-carotene 3100 μg (29%), lutein and zeaxanthin 1500 μg, Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.05 mg (4%), Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.11 mg (9%), Niacin (vit. B3) 0.6 mg (4%), Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.298 mg (6%), Vitamin B6 0.061 mg (5%), Folate (vit. B9) 16 μg (4%), Vitamin C 9 mg (11%), Vitamin E 0.44 mg (3%), Vitamin K 1.1 μg (1%), Calcium 21 mg (2%), Iron 0.8 mg (6%), Magnesium 12 mg (3%), Manganese 0.125 mg (6%), Phosphorus 44 mg (6%), Potassium 340 mg (7%), Sodium 1 mg (0%), Zinc 0.32 mg (3%)

Source: USDA Nutrient Database

The conclusion you should now be reaching is that they are therefore good for you. From a medicinal standpoint, pumpkins have been used for a variety of ailments - so go ahead and have that second piece of pumpkin pie, after all, it's good for you!.

Are Pumpkins a "Miracle Fruit"?

Pumpkins just might be a miracle fruit because researchers are working at figuring out just how good they are for us.

Preliminary research indicates that phytochemicals found in pumpkin may favorably affect insulin and glucose levels in laboratory diabetes models.

Two compounds isolated from pumpkin paste and then fed daily to diabetic rats over six weeks, trigonelline and nicotinic acid, caused significant reductions in blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides, indicating improvement in the diabetic condition.

And though we all know, bringing down cholesterol is combats heart disease, the benefits of pumpkins don't stop there.

As said before, pumpkins are considered fruit, but did you know that both pumpkin seeds and flowers are edible. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack and are good for your health.

The Native Americans found pumpkins to be good for us. And yes, today we are certain that pumpkin -especially the seeds - can help prevent prostate cancer in men.

Pumpkins were also once recommended for removing freckles and treating snake bites. I guess, after you're bit, just kick back and have a slice and all will be fine - or maybe not!

Other uses of pumpkins?

Well, its said that canned pumpkin is often recommended by veterinarians as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats that are experiencing certain digestive ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, and even hairballs.

As for us humans, the high fiber content helps to aid proper digestion.

Raw pumpkin can be fed to poultry, as a supplement to regular feed, during the winter to help maintain egg production, which usually drops off during the cold months.

Did you know that pumpkins are now grown all over the world?

Yes, since its discovery in America, it is a fact that six of the seven continents can grow pumpkins.

Antarctica is the only continent that they won't grow in. Pumpkins even grow in Alaska!

Did you know that the "pumpkin capital" of the world is Morton, Illinois?  Yes, this self proclaimed pumpkin capital is where you'll find the home of the Libby corporation's pumpkin industry.

As one of the most popular crops in the United States, 1.5 billion pounds (680,000,000 kilograms) of pumpkins are produced each year. The top pumpkin-producing states include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 95% of the U.S. crop intended for processing is grown in Illinois.

Nestlé, operating under the brand name Libby's, produces 85% of the processed pumpkin in the United States, at their plant in Morton, Illinois. In the fall of 2009, rain in Illinois devastated the Nestlé crop, resulting in a shortage affecting the entire country during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

Pumpkins are a warm-weather crop that is usually planted in early July.

And how about Pumpkin Chucking?

Yes, it is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible.

Catapults, Trebuchets, Ballistas and even Air Cannons are the most common mechanisms.

Believe it or not, there are Gamers in every sport, and in Pumpkin Chucking some pumpkin chuckers breed and grow special varieties of pumpkin under specialized conditions to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving a throw.

So when is "pie" a bad thing? Well, in pumpkin chucking, when a pumpkin doesn't hold together on launch - that's called "pie"! For chuckers, a pumpkin coming apart and turning into pumkin haze in the air is the worse site there is.

Pumpkin Festivals? 

About 20 years ago, I waded through the mob over on the California coast at one of my favorite places on earth, Half Moon Bay, California - which on normal days is only about an hour from where I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On the weekend of the Annual Pumpkin Festival, its bumper to bumper over the hills to the tiny town, and that hour trip may take two or more. And yes, once there, it's a mad house sort of festival of fun and good foods.

Pumpkin growers in the area compete to see whose pumpkins are the most massive. And yes, the ffestival is a time for this to take place.

Half Moon Bay's annual Pumpkin Festival draws over 250,000 visitors each year and includes the World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

The Weigh-Off is where farmers from all over the US compete to determine who can grow the heaviest pumpkin. The winning pumpkin regularly tops the scale at more than 1500 pounds.

Leonardo Urena, from Napa, California, grew the winner of the 2011 Weigh-Off with a 1,704-pound Atlantic Giant, setting a new California State record.

The record for the world's heaviest pumpkin was broken on September 30, 2012, at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts when Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island, entered a pumpkin weighing 2,009 pounds.

And yes, as expected, Guinness World Records is always recording who is the newest winner.

So besides using pumpkins to make my favorite pies, feed livestock, and cut up at Halloween, pumpkins are used to make soups, breads, beers, coffees, ice creams, and they are good for us medically.

Oh, and yes, they are also people who love to chuck them.

But for me, as much fun as pumpkin chucking looks, I take my pumpkin in pies.

The way I look at it, I'm tired of people telling me what's bad for me. Let me be an adult, and yes, trust me that I'm smart enough to know what is good for me and waht's not.

With everything being labeled as being bad for us, it seems that there really aren't that many things anymore that people will not slap a WARNING labe on. And no, I don't really know if they have gotten to pumpkin pies or not!

But I do know this, they taste great and are really good for us. Besides being nutritious, they taste wonderful and are good for the soul!

So my friends, now that we know just how wonderful and healthy pumkins are for us, this information can be used as a great excuse to our really needing that second piece!

File:Pumpkin Pie.jpg

Story by Tom Correa

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Whom To Thank When There’s No Recipient?

The Atheist’s Thanksgiving Dilemma

Written by John F. MacArthur

November 21, 2012

Thankfulness is one of the distinguishing traits of the human spirit. We sense the need to say thanks, and we realize we ought to be more grateful than we are.

We furthermore perceive that we are indebted to (and accountable to) a higher power than ourselves — the God who made us. According to Scripture, everyone has this knowledge, including those who refuse to honor God or thank Him.

Ingratitude is dishonorable by anyone’s reckoning, but to be willfully ungrateful toward the Creator is to deny an essential aspect of our own humanity.

The shame of such ingratitude is inscribed on the human conscience, and even the most dogmatic atheists are not immune from the knowledge that they ought to give thanks to God.

Try as they might to suppress or deny the impulse, “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them,” according to Romans 1:19.

During a November 2009 debate in England sponsored by a rationalist group known as Intelligence Squared, Richard Dawkins admitted that when he looks at the Milky Way or the Grand Canyon, he is overcome by a profound feeling of thankfulness.

“It’s a feeling of sort of an abstract gratitude that I am alive to appreciate these wonders,” he said. “When I look down a microscope it’s the same feeling. I am grateful to be alive to appreciate these wonders.”

To whom does an atheist like Mr. Dawkins express such gratitude?

I’m by no means the first person to point out this conundrum.

In fact, the Internet is peppered with failed attempts to justify an atheistic celebration of Thanksgiving.

Atheists insist they are not ungrateful. They confess that they feel thankful, and they clearly sense a need to avoid the ignominy of brazen ingratitude on a cosmic scale — especially at Thanksgiving.

One atheist has practically made a hobby of writing articles to explain why atheists feel the need to be thankful and to answer the question of whom they might thank. His best answer?

He says atheists can be grateful to farmers for the food we eat, to doctors for the health we enjoy, to engineers for the advantages of modern technology, to city workers for keeping our environment clean and orderly — and so on.

Here’s the problem with that: Tipping the waitress or tipping one’s hat to sanitation workers doesn’t even come close to resolving the problem of whom Mr. Dawkins should thank when he looks at the stars, stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or studies the world of countless wonders his microscope reveals in a single drop of pond water.

Of course, we ought to be thankful on a human level to people who help make our lives better.

But if thanking people exhausts your sense of blessedness and satisfies that “sort of … abstract gratitude” you feel when pondering the vastness of the universe, you have already suppressed your own conscience to a frightening degree.

Your worldview is spiritually bankrupt.

Another atheist writer, acknowledging this problem, says the answer is easy for her: She is grateful to her lucky stars.

“What it comes down to,” she writes, “is that an atheist is generally thankful for good luck, serendipity.”

That’s an odd and ironic answer from a point of view that repudiates theism on the grounds that it is not “rational” to believe in God.

After all, the starting point for atheistic materialism is the equation nobody times nothing equals everything. What could possibly be more irrational?

Furthermore, chance (luck, fortune, happenstance, fate—whatever label you want to put on it) is not a force or intelligence.

“Chance” has to do with mathematical probability. Flip a coin and there’s a 50-50 chance it will come up tails. But “chance” has no power to flip the coin, much less design an ordered universe.

Nevertheless, that’s how atheistic materialists have trained themselves to think.

Chance is the ultimate creator. In the words of one Nobel Prize-winning atheist, “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

Fortune has thus been personified — imbued with the power to determine, order and cause everything that happens.

That’s mythology, not science.

At the end of the day, the atheist is no more rational and no less superstitious than the astrologist who thanks impersonal “lucky stars” for good fortune.

On some level, atheists themselves surely realize this.

Proof of their internal angst is seen in the fact that so many of them are not content merely to disbelieve.

They are militant in their opposition to God. They hate the very thought of God and would love to have every mention of Him removed from public discourse — as if that would somehow remove the burden of their own ingratitude and relieve the pangs of a guilty conscience.

But as Scripture says, it is the ultimate folly to try to suppress our own innate sense of obligation to our Maker.

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” says Psalm 14:1. In short, to deny God is to debase one’s own mind and dehumanize the whole person.

That’s why we remind ourselves to give thanks to God — specifically, the one true God who has revealed Himself in Scripture as a God of grace and forgiveness, who so loved the world that He gave His Son as an atonement for sin, so “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness,” according to 1 Peter 2:24.

He graciously compels us to thank Him, and He himself should top the list of things we are thankful for.

-- end article.

Editor's Note:

Reprinted here on American Cowboy Chronicles unedited and with pleasure.

John F. MacArthur is president of The Master’s College and Seminary, host of internationally-syndicated radio show “Grace to You,” and author of nearly 400 books and study guides.

God Bless You and Yours!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

South Dakota Ranchers Need Our Help

Yes, after the catastrophic October 2013 snowstorm,  South Dakota Ranchers still need our help.


In early October of this year, 2013, South Dakota and its neighboring states were hit with a snow storm of historic proportions. While states were hit, South Dakota caught the full brunt of the the storm.

Four to five feet of snow fell in the Black Hills area during the storm, killing at least 100,000 head of livestock, South Dakota state officials say.

South Dakota was hit the hardest and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association estimates that parts of the state lost at least 5 to 10 percent of its cattle.

Ranchers were encouraged to take carcasses to sites which were built to state Animal Industry Board guidelines.

At one site in western South Dakota more than two 20-foot-deep disposal pits were opened to help ranchers dispose of tens of thousands of livestock carcasses piled up since the early October blizzard decimated herds.

The already saturated by the quickly melting snow, made it difficult for ranchers to traverse the vast terrain to assess losses and tend to stressed but surviving animals.

Behind that epic blizzard another snowstorm slammed into the Black Hills. It did nothing to help the situation, bringing a foot of snow, it only complicate the mess.

Animal Industry Board rules require carcasses to be burned, buried to a depth of 4 feet or disposed of by a licensed rendering plant within 36 hours of death, though South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard had waived the standard time frame, recognizing the difficulty in meeting that deadline.

Ben Kantack, a former South Dakota State University Extension entomologist, said he worries about dead cattle hidden in remote locations, saying they will create public health issues as they decompose.

He said ranchers need to make sure their surviving cattle don’t come into contact with a carcass or drink from water where one is rotting.

Kantack was concerned about water contamination.

The pits were dug specifically to avoid such health problems, as burial sites must be at least 1,000 feet from surface water, floodplains, rivers or private or public drinking water wells.

Burial is also prohibited when the primary subsurface material 20 feet below the bottom of the pit is primarily sand or gravel or when the depth to an aquifer is less than 20 feet from the bottom of the pit.

Ranchers in South Dakota were afraid they may lose everything after the freak storm - killing as many as 100,000 cattle.

Matt Kammerer, a 45-year-old rancher whose family has operated in South Dakota’s Meade County since 1882, told that he lost 60 cattle in the storm, or one-third of his entire herd.

" ... It’s just dead cow after dead cow, where they’ve gotten caught in dams, streams, fences, you name it. They’re dead everywhere."- Rancher Matt Kammerer

“You’re talking about $120,000 of assets that are just gone,” Kammerer said Friday by phone. “And we still owe the banks, too. It’s like driving a brand-new pickup off a cliff and still having to make payments.”

Kammerer painted a gruesome scene north of Rapid City, where a record 23 inches of snow fell.

“It’s just unreal,” he said. “There are cattle that are 8 or 9 miles away from the pasture they were in, just lying dead. And within that whole stretch, it’s just dead cow after dead cow, where they’ve gotten caught in dams, streams, fences, you name it. They’re dead everywhere.”

Carcasses of mature cows as well as calves were floating downstream local waterways in droves, Kammerer said, stoking fears of a potential outbreak of disease.

“If you don’t get those picked up and buried, you’re looking at the possibility of disease or possibly contamination,” he said. “You’ve got to get them all picked up.”

Most ranchers in the state lost anywhere between 50 to 75 percent of their herds, according to Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, which represents 1,500 ranching operations.

“We’re certainly looking at tens of thousands if not pushing 100,000 at this point,” she said of the dead livestock.

Aside from the economic losses, which will be severe once finally tallied, the unprecedented storm has left an “incredible emotional burden” on the state’s ranchers, Christen said.

“They know how dependent these livestock are on them and they’re absolutely emotionally devastated at the losses they’re seeing,” she said. “It’s been extremely difficult.”

In the days since the storm, Christen said ranchers are now focusing on providing medical care to the animals that did survive.

“That really has to be the priority before we start counting loss,” she said. “They need to make sure they’re safe and that they stay healthy now.”

Gary Cammack, a 60-year-old rancher near Union Center in Meade County, said he lost about 15 percent of his herd, including 70 cows and some calves, which normally sell for $1,000.

A mature cow usually brings in $1,500 or more, he said.

Livestock were initially soaked by 12 hours of rain before 48 consecutive hours or snow and winds up to 60 mph, Cammack said.

Matt Kammerer said his ranch will be able to recover, but he’s more worried about his fellow cattlemen.

“We just had one of the worst droughts ever and now we take a hit like this,” Kammerer said, his voice cracking with emotion.

“It’s just catastrophic. I’m going to be fine; it’s my counterparts … it’s my neighbors, my friends, the people you can’t even look in the face to tell them that you’re sorry.”

So how big was the snowstorm?

The unusually early and enormous snowstorm over that weekend caught South Dakota ranchers and farmers unprepared, killing tens of thousands of cattle and ravaging the state's $7 billion industry — an industry left without assistance because of the federal government shutdown.

Across the state, snow totals averaged 30 inches, with some isolated areas recording almost 5 feet, The Weather Channel reported.
The storm was accompanied by hurricane-force wind gusts, which drove some herds seeking shelter miles from their ranches.

A trail of carcasses left a gruesome sight, said Martha Wierzbicki, emergency management director for Butte County, in the northwestern corner of the state.

"They're in the fence line, laying alongside the roads," Wierzbicki told The Rapid City Journal. "It's really sickening."

Ranchers have no one to ask for help or reimbursement. That's because Congress has yet to pass a new farm bill, which subsidizes agricultural producers.

State Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch called the early-season blizzard "devastating to our producers," saying his agency was trying to figure out a response.

In the meantime, he said, the best farmers and ranchers could do was to meticulously document their losses, with detailed photos, for use when and if claims can be processed.

The most immediate concern was the proper disposal of the dead livestock, which state law says must be burned, buried or rendered within 36 hours — for the health not only of surviving herds but also for people.

"That can be a significant source of disease spread, so we want to make sure those carcasses are burned, buried or rendered as quickly as possible," Dustin Oedekoven, South Dakota's state veterinarian, told the Journal.

But the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association warned that the effects would be felt for years afterward. Not only were tens of thousands of calves killed, but so were thousands more cows that would have delivered calves next year.

And the stress of the storm will leave its mark on surviving herds, the South Dakota State University Agricultural Extension Service said, leaving the remaining cattle vulnerable to ruinous diseases with names like infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine respiratory syncytial virus and bovine viral diarrhea virus.


Ranchers donate cattle after South Dakota blizzard kills livestock

November 25th, 2013

One to start a new herd. This one from Russ Allderdice runs onto the J S Livestock yard in Havre, Montana.

Russ Allderdice and other area ranchers brought cattle to the stockyard throughout the day to send to the South Dakota ranchers whose cattle was ravaged by the October blizzard.


Nov. 21, 2013: Rene Brown locks up a cattle delivery at the J S Livestock yard in Havre, Montana. Brown collected cattle donations from area ranchers to send to the South Dakota Ranchers whose cattle was ravaged by the October blizzard. (AP/Havre Daily News, Lindsay Brown)

Hope on hooves is arriving in South Dakota, one heifer at a time.

A month after the freak snow storm dumped 4 to 5 feet of snow on South Dakota, 45 donated head of cattle from Montana designed to serve as breeding stock were sent to ranchers in The Mount Rushmore State.

Another 400 cattle, including yearling and bred heifers worth as much as $75,000, have also been sent to South Dakota from neighboring Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota to help the afflicted ranchers get back on their feet ahead of the looming harsh winter.

“The support from other states has been phenomenal,” Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, told early Monday, November 25th.

“We have volunteers from in the state who have helped with cleanup, we have people from surrounding states who shipped heifers and about $1.5 million has been donated to the Rancher Relief Fund.”

Christen estimated in the days after the storm that as many as 100,000 cattle would ultimately die as a result of the “devastating” storm, although state officials have said the blizzard killed roughly 14,000 cattle, more than 1,200 sheep, nearly 300 horses and 40 bison.

She still expects that number to “go up quite a bit” in coming weeks.

Part of the problem, Christen said, is that state officials have relied on self-reporting from ranchers, some of whom may be dealing with the guilt of not suffering widespread losses like their counterparts.

“They’re a very private, self-sufficient group,” Christen said of ranchers.

“The emotional flow of this whole thing has been incredible. These ranchers define themselves as caretakers of their animals and many of them feel they have failed in their role.”

Christen continued: “Many of them say, ‘Well, our neighbors had it worse,’ and some of them haven’t reported those losses due to survivor’s guilt. Many of these ranchers won’t be able to financially survive this. There’s an incredible amount of guilt among those who are going to survive. Many of them wish they can do more for others.”

Two people desperate to make a difference were Montana ranchers Rene Brown and Alisha Burcham, who began gathering cattle donations from northern Montana through Heifers for South Dakota.

The organization selected family ranches that had herds of roughly 160 cattle but lost up to 60 percent of them in the storm.

“Twelve hours this way with that storm and that could have been us,” Brown told The Associated Press.

Brown, a rancher near Chinook, Mont., could not be reached for comment early Monday. Her brother-in-law, Earl Brown, started moving the donated cattle on Friday.

“I told him I wanted to get a pot load of cattle together to send to South Dakota,” she continued.

“He told me I couldn’t do it and that if I did, he would drive them there. Well, we did and even have donations for the fuel, so he’s donating his time for the drive.”

Many small producers in South Dakota did not have insurance due to high costs, she said.

“Congress may approve some disaster aid, but that’s not a sure thing and they can’t even pass a farm bill,” Brown said.

But frankly, these people don't wait for Congress.

“This donation will make a big difference to ranchers in South Dakota. I knew the Hi-Line would come through, but it is humbling to see this come together.”

The South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund was established by a consortium of livestock organizations following the blizzard and has thus far raised $1.5 million, Christen said.

An application deadline of Dec. 31 has been set in order to assess the number of applicants and the severity of those applicants’ needs.

“The outpouring of support for the West River ranchers who lost animals during the blizzard has been overwhelming,” South Dakota cattleman Cory Eich said in a statement.

As more winter comes, Christen said colder conditions have helped the cleanup effort by drying up large mud patches created by melted snow and water runoff.

“The snow has melted and we’ve had some new snowfall, but there’s not a lot on the ground,” she said. “The ground is freezing though, which is actually helping things because it’s easier to move around these ranches and get to remote areas.”

And while the long-term financial outlook looks dicey for some ranchers, especially young breeders, Christen said livestock producers in South Dakota have plenty to be thankful for ahead of the holiday season.

“It has been incredible to see the kind of support we have gotten,” Christen told “It’s really kind of beyond words. It’s been very humbling.”

American farmers and ranchers are some of the toughest people on the face of the earth. They endure when others fail, and they don't ask help from anyone.

These great Americans who feed us and the world need our help.

If you would like to contribute to the The South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund, please do so by clicking on the links below and give what you can to help those who really need our help.

At this time, let's be the ones who showed what we are made of and help our neighbors in South Dakota!    

If one link doesn't work, please try the other.

BHACF/SD Rancher Relief Fund  

Ranchers Relief Fund   

Thank you, and God Bless you!

Tom Correa
American Cowboy Chronicles

Monday, November 25, 2013

George Zimmerman's Actions & Character

Dear Readers,

Last year, I wrote an article saying why I supported George Zimmerman in his case.

I have gotten a lot of email on this. While many are laced with profanity calling me everything in the book, and yes there have been many who have threatened me and my family, some are simply comments calling people like me who would not hesitate using a gun to protect myself  - cowards.

I usually hit delete and move on not worrying about it.

I've just received this latest comment on that post which I decided was so typical of the people who have wrote, yet was not threatening, that I wanted to share it with you:

Anonymous November 19, 2013 at 2:35 PM

"it's not hard to kick a cowards ass. Put a gun in his hand and now he is a hero. It would have never happened if the coward didn't have a gun. He even pulls guns on women. Guarantee you he would never do that that to a full grown man or anyone with a gun in their possession.. Keep supporting losers cowboys! Do you know the real origin of cowboys?"

This is my reply to that person:

While I agree that it's true that it's not hard to kick a coward's ass, what does that have to do with anything? Nothing really.

As for George Zimmerman,  I've NEVER said in any editorial that he is a hero of any sort.

I have said that he was being sat on and was having his head beaten into the concrete pavement, in what is commonly known as a "ground and pound," and to my belief of the facts given to the public -- he used his pistol as a last resort to save his own life.

I believe that you would have done the same thing if you felt that your life was in mortal danger, I know that I would.

For me, if for any other reason, simply because my training says that in a combat situation -- I should use everything in my personal arsenal to stay alive.

Now, like many of you, I have read about Zimmerman's latest problems with the law.

I've never addressed the man's "character" restricting myself to only talk about his actions against Martin.

He could be a card cheat and a woman beater, a bum and a low life, on the other hand he can be someone who volunteers his life to the sick and needy - I don't know the guy.

I only know what I would have done if I had a younger stronger assailant on top of me trying to kill me by smashing my head into the cement.

I would have used everything including shooting Martin in the case that I've described.

As for Zimmerman breaking the law himself and assaulting others, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for that crime..

As for me and others supporting losers, well I would support you if you were in the same situation as he was on his back that night and you used your legally carried pistol to save your own life.

If your character as a man is a loser, that doesn't take away from the fact that you have the right to defend yourself - loser or not.

As for the origin of cowboys? Yes, I know the origin. What does that have to do with your accusing me of supporting some loser like yourself who was within the law to act as he did?

Write me, let me know why you feel it would have been OK for Martin to go ahead and kill Zimmerman, but it was not OK for a loser like Zimmerman or you to protect his or your own life?

Ask yourself this, if you were armed and on your back. And yes, you felt that you were about to die, knowing that you carried a gun for self-defense -- would you have used it? Or, and be honest, would you have really allowed Martin to kill you by smashing your head into the concrete pavement?

Write me to tell me if you would have taken what you call the coward's way out - or would you have not done everything that you could to stay alive?

If you put yourself in Zimmerman's place, are honest with yourself, and still say that you wouldn't have shot Martin - then you are a bigger coward than most.

Only a true coward, a real loser, wouldn't do everything in his or her power to stay alive when faced with the prospect of death.

Thanks for your comment,
Tom Correa

Also ...
I find that there are two camps when it come to the whole George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin case.

The first camp is made of Conservatives who believe that we all have a right, a moral obligation, a duty, to use "every means" at our disposal to fend off danger and protect our lives.

We in that camp understand that "every means" also means using a gun if we have one.

The second camp is made up of Liberals who believe that while it is OK to kill a helpless child before birth, and forgive those on Death Row, that we are duty bound to run away if we can -- and of course, if that is useless, they feel that we should simply allow aggressors to kill us without a fight using everything at our means.

I believe that Liberals would have rather seen George Zimmerman die, be found dead after having his head caved in, than see him defend himself with a gun or a knife or a brick or whatever.

For the record ...

Since I have been asked, let me answer.

The fights that I have been in were never something called "friendly fights." I have never been in, nor ever seen, such a thing called a "friendly fight."

Each and every fight that I have ever been in, I immediately understood that the man who I was fighting wanted to hurt or kill me.

And yes, I in turn obliged them meeting force with force and moreso - all with the same intent.

I never tried to hit and run, or shake their hands afterwards. I was taught that anything short of fighting "all out" is a waste of time.

Those who have tried to hurt me in the past fully understand that I don't believe in rules when trying to preserving my life - or protecting those I hold dear.

Maybe it is my Marine training, but I truly believe that one who does not fight with every means available, to the fullest extent of his or her abilities, is the real coward!

Some call my training barbaric and vicious in a civilized world, but frankly I expect one to fight in an altercation with the same zeal and effort, wanting to use any and every means at their disposal, the same as if they were fighting cancer - with the desire to stop it or kill it.     
That's just how I see it.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

RANDOM SHOTS - Obama Lies Again, More HealthCare Cancellations Coming, Benghazi Consulate Pled For Their Lives, and More!


Second Wave of HealthCare Plan Cancellations Coming Soon!

A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall -- right before the mid-term elections next year.

The next round of cancellations and premium hikes is expected to hit employees, particularly of small businesses.

While the administration has tried to downplay the cancellation notices hitting policyholders on the individual market by noting they represent a relatively small fraction of the population, the swath of people who will be affected by the shake-up in employer-sponsored coverage will be much broader.

An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute shows the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges.

They predict up to 100 million small and large business policies could be cancelled next year.

Under the health care law, businesses with fewer than 50 workers do not have to provide health coverage. But if they do, the policies will still have to meet the benefit standards set by ObamaCare.

For workers, their experience could mirror that of the already 5 Million or so Americans on the individual market who have already received cancellation notices because their plans did not meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act.

Though the administration describes these accounts as "anecdotal" -- and has already delayed the employer mandate by a year -- studies suggest otherwise.

The International Franchise Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have studied the impact and say the president's health care law has resulted in higher costs and fewer full-time positions.

A survey showed 31 percent of franchise businesses, and 12 percent of non-franchise businesses, have already reduced worker hours.

It also showed 27 percent of franchise businesses, and 12 percent of non-franchise businesses, have replaced full-time workers with part-time employees.

So goes the "fundamental CHANGE" that Obama supporters asked for!

Yes, those who voted for Obama are to blame here!

I can only hope that the people in the pictures, those who blindly supported the unqualified liar to be President, get their HealthCare cancellation notices first.

Yes, that would only be justice!


Benghazi Consulate was "Pleading For Their Lives" on Night of Attack

November 20, 2013,, Catherine Herridge reported that State Department employees at the Benghazi compound knew they were in a death trap and made a series of radio distress calls to the CIA annex during the terror assault last year.

That is a fact according to congressional sources familiar with recent testimony on the attack from five CIA personnel.

Sources told Fox News that the radio calls, which were described in closed testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, were characterized as almost frantic, with State Department employees who knew they could not defend themselves "pleading" for their lives.

When the CIA team arrived from the annex about a mile away, they found the State Department employees without guns that could adequately protect them; one of the agents was found hiding in the consulate, apparently in a closet.

The testimony lends more weight to repeated claims, in the wake of the attack, that the consulate was not adequately protected despite being located in a volatile and violent area prone to attack.

When the CIA personnel were asked for their reaction to the administration's initial explanation that an anti-Islam video and a demonstration gone awry were to blame for the attack, Fox News is told they were seething with anger because everything on the ground -- from their perspective -- showed it was a premeditated attack.

At least three of the five -- who were all in Benghazi -- responded to the scene that night.

The witnesses testified that five mortars rained down on the annex in less than a minute.

They pointed to those details as more evidence of a professionally trained team, describing the attack on the annex as akin to a professional hit on the operation in order to drive it out of Benghazi.

Congressional sources say the testimony seems to further conflict with and undercut the briefing three days after the attack by then-CIA Director David Petraeus, who likened the attack to a flash mob.

When pressed on the number and precision of the mortars, Petraeus offered that Benghazi was flooded with mortars, and played down their accuracy by suggesting they could have been fired from the back of a pick-up truck.

When then secretary of state Hillary Clinton appeared on the Hill, first she tried to claim that no one knew it was a terrorist attack while emphasising that it was due to their made up story about on the anti-Islam Youtube video; then she said, "What difference does it make?!"

Someone should have told her that there is a big difference in getting help to try to save the lives of four American versus simply letting them die by not bothering to get them any help at all!


Oprah and Bill Clinton get National Awards

Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton were among the 16 other Democrat campaign donors who were awarded Medals of Freedom by President Obama this morning at the White House.

It proved out the fact that you can be a racist as in the case of Oprah and a liar who came within a few votes of being Impeached as President as in the case of Bill Clinton -- and still be seen as great Americans by the Obama White House.


Obama The Liar Rides Again!

It was reported that Obama lied again during a HealthCare conference call with his supporters, all community organizers, claiming that "more than 100 MILLION Americans' have enrolled" in the

Monday evening he held a conference call with his most ardent supporters, Organizing for Action.

During the conference call, Obama told his supporters that nearly one-third of the entire population of the United States has signed up for ObamaCare.

Imagine that!

In reality, Health and Human Services announced the ObamaCare enrollment numbers for the first 32 days of this expanded open enrollment period was 26,794.

If it is true that liar liar pants on fire, than Obama is smoke'n!


A Few Fun Facts About The U.S. Constitution

1. The 13th amendment that Abolished Slavery: 100% Republican support, 22% Democratic support.

2. The 14th amendment which Granted Citizenship to Freed Slaves: 100% Republican support, 0% Democratic support.

3. The 15th amendment which granted Black Americans the Right to Vote: 100% Republican support 0% Democratic support.

Yes, Republicans, and not Democrats, have been the real Champions of Civil Rights for Black Americans - but if you listen to Democrats its not that way at all!

Our American heritage and history is something that needs to be remembered, especially when being told the opposite of what really took place.

And yes, factual history is good to know, even if it breaks your Liberal Bullshit Detector whenever a Democrat speaks!

bullshit meter photo: bullshit-o-meter bullshit-o-meter1.gif
Liberal Bullshit Detector

Story by Tom Correa

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oprah calls Obama's Critics Racists and says Death Is The Answer

Dear Readers,

Oprah Winfrey says that President Obama's critics are motivated by racism, and that death is the answer.

Did she mean that death is the only way to stop us who criticize the president? Sounds like it to me.

Though Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest women in the world, let's be frank here and admit that Liberals like her, especially those in the Entertainment Industry, just aren't very bright.

Take for example, the old super-lib Barbra Streisand who once said, "Republican control of the House has resulted in poison in the water, salmonella in the food, carbon dioxide in the air and toxic waste in the ground." 

Yes, she said it as if it were true. Just as if she believes that Republicans are responsible for every ill in the world including the Black Plague, the fall of Rome, and the attack on 9/11.

And yes, Whoopi Goldberg did in fact utter the very stupid statement, "I don't really view communism as a bad thing."

Jane Fonda put Communism this way, saying, "I would think that if you understood what Communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees, that we would someday become communists."

Of course, that's coming from two wealthy women who understand nothing about the real world practical application of Communism as applied by Stalin and Mao -- who of course slaughtered millions of their own people and exported death around the world all in an attempt to enslave mankind for the good of the Communist Party.

When it comes to anti-Constitution celebrities, we'd have to search pretty hard to find one who tops the big Rosie. Yes, Rosie O'Donnell obviously believes that the 2nd Amendment should be null and void.

We know this because she said, "I think there should be a law - and I know this is extreme - that no one can have a gun in the U.S."

As much as Big Rosie would love being the number one anti-American in Hollywood with the dumbest quote, she's only tied with Janeane Garofalo who said, "Our country is founded on a sham: our forefathers were slave-owning rich white guys who wanted it their way. So when I see the American flag, I go, 'Oh my God, you're insulting me.' That you can have a gay parade on Christopher Street in New York, with naked men and women on a float cheering, 'We're here, we're queer!' -- that's what makes my heart swell. Not the flag, but a gay naked man or woman burning the flag. I get choked up with pride."

But no, not all ignorant quotes from celebrities come from those who may profit from being an American -- but hate America.

For example, academy award winning actress actor Meryl Streep decided to show her ignorance of the uses of oil besides that of using it for cars, by saying, "If everybody that had two cars had a Prius instead of an SUV, we wouldn't be in the Middle East right now." 

Of course no one told her that electric cars means a need for more electrical power, which of course means more power plants, which means more coal or nuclear energy use -- but those are just pesky details that liberals are not good with. 

Besides, she probably does care about that other half a barrel of oil which is used to make over 6,000 commonly used household products that have absolutely nothing to do with cars or energy.

But again, why let little details like that ruin a stupid quote from a celebrity. 

Singer/environmentalist Sheryl Crow famously said, "I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required."

And no, I don't even want to speculate on her personal hygiene habits.

Of course there was actor Richard Gere who told an audience in New York City right after 9/11, "In a situation like this, of course you identify with everyone who's suffering. But we must also think about the terrorists who are creating such horrible future lives for themselves because of the negativity of this karma. It's all of our jobs to keep our minds as expansive as possible. If you can see the terrorists as a relative who's dangerously sick and we have to give them medicine, and the medicine is love and compassion. There's nothing better."

This week we had a couple of really stupid celebrities come out and prove to the world just how truly dumb they are.

First it was Tom Cruise who compared "acting" to actually fighting in Afghanistan, then it was my favorite racist -- Oprah Winfrey.

The gal that is in fact one of the richest people in the entire world, says some really dumb things. 

This is not new because I read a few weeks or so ago where she actually said it before, but while promoting her movie "The Butler" in Great Britain, Oprah Winfrey said that critics of Barack Obama are motivated by racism.

There is nothing new about celebs calling whites racist, but they don't see themselves as racists - yet there is a lot of evidence pointing to black racism against every other race in America.

But being frank, their favorite targets are white people - both physically violent and through statements which the media gives them a pass for saying.

Take for example Jamie Foxx talking about his movie "Django Unchained," he said, "I play a slave. How black is that? I have to wear chains. How whack is that? But don’t worry. I get free. I save my wife and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?"

As racist as that is, it doesn't really rank very high when compared to the very ignorant
Oprah Winfrey during this last week.
As I said, that's not really that new because she did say it before when she called all white people racists deep down.

In that interview, she said that a white person didn't have to utter a slur or say anything offensive at all -- she said that it was needed because deep down all white people are racists.

What makes this quote different is that this time she said that ultimately, "demographic pruning" would be needed to stamp out racism.

No kidding!

Oprah told BBC's Will Gompertz, "There are still generations of [white] people, older [white] people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they [those white people] just have to die."

Gompertz also asked Winfrey if it had ever crossed her mind that Obama has faced racism.

"Probably it's crossed my mind more times than it's crossed your mind," she said. "I think that there is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he is African American. There's no question about that and it's the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody's thinking it."

This is not the first time Winfrey has made such statements regarding race.

Yes, earlier this year, she falsely claimed that "millions" of blacks were lynched because of race.

"You cannot be my friend and use that word around me. It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it. … I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree," she told Parade magazine in July.

The Tuskegee Institute, however, put the number of lynchings both black and white between 1882 and 1968 at 4,743, far short of the "millions" claimed by Winfrey.

Today, the Democrat Party does not want to own up to its Racist and Segragationist past policies.

And yes, they certainly don't want Americans to know that white Republicans in the South during the Reconstruction Era there to help freed blacks were also lunched routinely by that great Democrat organization called the Ku Klux Klan.

Since Obama's 2008 election, Liberals have reacted like Pavlov's dogs to any criticism of the president by falsely accusing those critics of racism.

Now, can you imagine if some white man or woman said the same things that Oprah said but in reverse?

Imagine the uproar if a white person came out and told BBC's Will Gompertz, "There are still generations of [black] people, younger [black] people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they [those young blacks] just have to die before anything gets better."

Can you imagine the uproar?

Yes, there's no question about the racism which Oprah exhibits. And yes, I see Oprah Winfrey as part of the problem with America today.

She is successful, wealthy, powerful, and influential. She has made a great deal of money and had helped put a man without any experience or competence in the White House.

She did not do it for reasons such as skill, leadership qualities and outstanding qualifications, but rather simply because of his skin color.

Then, when that man reveals himself as being crooked, a liar, and is totally incompetent - she defends him by calling his critics racists.

She is so totally consumed with defending Barack Obama's failure as president that she is ignoring the fact that even black people see him for who he really is - a total failure.

Oprah is a racist, but also clever.  She knows too well that its much easier to call white people racists, than to have to explain why over 55% of the black Americans who voted for Obama - now say they wish they hadn't.

Story by Tom Correa

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The BLM, Wild Horses & Burros

Dear Readers,

Since some of you have written asking about the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and their administration of the Wild Horses and Burros on America's public lands, I figured that I'd look it up and get what I could regarding this subject.

A lot of the facts below come from the National Academy of Sciences and the BLM, as well as a few more sources.

Controversy over roundups of wild horses roaming the ranges in 10 Western states is reaching a boil, with ranchers, horse advocates and even the government itself in agreement that the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Bureau Program is "out of control."

The National Academy of Sciences released a review almost earlier this year on the BLM’s controversial wild horse program, saying “continuation of business-as-usual practices will be expensive and unproductive for BLM and the public it serves.”

Does the Interior Department and BLM intend to embrace the reforms included the report and if so when-- or would they not?

Since 1971, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior has been responsible for managing the majority of free-ranging horses and burros on arid federal public lands in the western United States.

In the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the U.S. Congress charged the BLM with the “protection, management, and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands.”

BLM was charged to protect America's Wild Horses because, the legislation noted, “wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West … and [they] are fast disappearing from the American scene.”

In the mid-20th century, horse and burro populations were affected by competing uses for the land, including livestock grazing, and by roundups, from which the animals were often sold for slaughter.

The protection provided in the 1971 legislation built on the "Wild Horse Annie Act" (P.L. 86-234), passed in 1959, which prohibited the use of motorized vehicles, including aircraft, to hunt free-ranging horses and outlawed the poisoning of watering holes on public lands.

The agency was also tasked with managing and controlling the population because of the multiple uses of public lands.

Public lands provide habitat to horses and burros, but they are also used for recreation, mining, forestry, grazing for livestock, and habitat for wildlife, including mule deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep.

Because of that, although the act stipulated that free-ranging horses and burros were "an integral part of the natural system of the public lands" and were to be managed "as components of the public lands"  -- it limited their range by definition to “their known territorial limits” in 1971.

Such public lands were to be "devoted principally but not exclusively to [horse and burro] welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands."

In addition, horses and burros were to be managed at "the minimal feasible level."

BLM management of the Wild Horse and Burros should "achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands, protect wildlife habitat, and prevent range deterioration."

That goal is been giving the BLM fits!


Free-ranging horses and burros have successfully sustained populations in North America for over 300 years, and no large predator widely overlaps with their territory.

Horses became domesticated about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago in the region of the Black Sea. Once man tamed the horse, horses performed many duties.

Horses are herd animals. They live in groups and help one another survive.

The word mustang comes from the Spanish word "mustengo," which means “ownerless beast.”

The American mustangs originally came from the Spanish stock of horses brought to America in the beginning of the 16th century.

Besides living in Western states: California, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, Montana, North Dakota and New Mexico, America's Wild Horses also live on islands off the Atlantic coast, as well as on the mainland.

Small populations of horses live on Sable Island (Canada), Assateague Island (coast of Maryland and Virginia), Shackleford Island (off the coast of North Carolina) and Cumberland Islands (off the coast of Georgia).

Over 100 years ago there were an estimated 2 million mustangs roaming the range. While the number varies depending what source is used, between 42,000 and 25,000 mustangs roam the United States today.

The BLM estimates that 40,605 wild horses and burros (about 33,780 horses and 6,825 burros) are roaming on BLM-managed range-lands in 10 Western states, based on the latest data available, compiled as of February 28, 2013.

Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years.

As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes.

The estimated current free-roaming population exceeds by nearly 14,000 the number that the BLM has determined can exist in balance with other public range-land resources and uses.

The maximum appropriate management level (AML) is approximately 26,677.
Off the range, as of October 2013, there were 49,103 other wild horses and burros fed and cared for at short-term corrals and long-term pastures.

Specifically, there were 14,269 horses and 1,261 burros in corrals - for a total of 15,530 animals] and 33,573 horses in pastures.

The combined figure of 49,103 animals in holding compares to the BLM's total holding capacity of 52,909.

All wild horses and burros in holding, like those roaming Western public range-lands, are protected by the BLM under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.


In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53.8 million acres known as Herd Areas of which 42.4 million acres were under the BLM's jurisdiction.

Today the BLM manages wild horses and burros in 179 subsets of these Herd Areas - known as Herd Management Areas - that comprise 31.6 million acres, of which 26.9 million acres are under BLM management.

"So what happened to the 'missing' 22.2 million acres on which wild horses and burros were found roaming?"

Good question. What happened to the 22.2 Million Acres?

In 1971, wild horses and burros were found roaming across 53.8 million acres of Herd Areas, of which 42.4 million acres were under the BLM's jurisdiction.

Today the BLM manages wild horses and burros in 179 subsets of these Herd Areas (known as Herd Management Areas) that comprise 31.6 million acres, of which 26.9 million acres are under BLM management.

So what happened to the 22.2 million acres on which these animals were originally found roaming?

The answer may surprise you, or make you angry!

Fact is, no specific amount of acreage was “set aside” for the exclusive use of wild horses and burros under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

The Act directed the BLM to determine the areas where horses and burros were found roaming and to manage them "in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands."

The law also stipulated in Section 1339 that "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the [Interior] Secretary to relocate wild free-roaming horses or burros to areas of the public lands where they do not presently exist."

Of the 22.2 million acres no longer managed for wild horse and burro use:

  • 6.7 million acres were never under BLM management.
Of the 15.5 million other acres of land under BLM management:

  • 48.6 percent (7,522,100 acres) were intermingled ("checkerboard") land ownerships or areas where water was not owned or controlled by the BLM, which made management infeasible;
  • 13.5 percent (2,091,709 acres) were lands transferred out of the BLM's ownership to other agencies, both Federal and state through legislation or exchange;
  • 10.6 percent (1,645,758 acres) were lands where there were substantial conflicts with other resource values (such as the need to protect habitat for desert tortoise);
  • 9.7 percent (1,512,179 acres) were lands removed from wild horse and burro use through court decisions; urban expansion; highway fencing (causing habitat fragmentation); and land withdrawals;
  • 9.6 percent (1,485,068 acres) were lands where no BLM animals were present at the time of the passage of the 1971 Act or places where all animals were claimed as private property.
These lands in future land-use plans will be subtracted from the BLM totals as they should never have been designated as lands where herds were found roaming; and

  • 8.0 percent (1,240,894 acres) were lands where a critical habitat component (such as winter range) was missing, making the land unsuitable for wild horse and burro use, or areas that had too few animals to allow for effective management.
And of course, the problem with laws is that they have to be followed as written, and no common sense be applied, for example: Under the 1971 Act, horses and burros may not be re-located to other public lands where they were not found roaming when the law was passed.

Pretty sad isn't it.


Congress appropriated $74.9 million to the Wild Horse and Burro Program in Fiscal Year 2012, which ended September 30, 2012.

Of that year's expenditures of $72.4 million, holding costs accounted for $43 million or 59.3 percent of the expenditures.

Gathers and removals cost $7.8 million (10.8%); adoption events cost $7.1 million (9.8%).

The $2.5 million difference between appropriations and expenditures is the amount of money “obligated” to certain activities but not actually spent.

Removing Wild Horses and Burros from the Range and Placing Animals in Adoption

To help ensure that herd sizes are in balance with other public range-land resources and uses, the BLM removed 8,255 animals (7,242 horses and 1,013 burros) from the range in Fiscal Year 2012, which ended September 30, 2012.

The Bureau placed 2,583 removed animals into private care through adoption in FY 2012 -- down from 5,701 in FY 2005.

Since 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM has adopted out more than 230,000 horses and burros.

Population Growth-Suppression Treatments

The BLM is tasked with the job of monitoring the population size to determine where there is an excess of horses and burros - such a situation is to be identified when “a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship” is threatened.

It is BLM’s responsibility to determine when that relationship is under threat and to remove animals to achieve balance.

Legislation allows for the destruction of old, sick, or lame animals, but excess animals removed from the range may be adopted.

By law, those for which there is no adoption demand are to be "destroyed in the most humane and cost efficient manner possible" - however, the destruction of healthy, unadopted free-ranging horses and burros has been restricted either by a moratorium instituted by the director of BLM or by the annual congressional appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior in most years.

The BLM applied 1,051 PZP (porcine zona pellucida) fertility-control treatments to mares in FY 2012.

They released 180 more stallions than mares back into herds during gather operations, for a grand total of 1,195 population growth-suppression treatments in FY 2012.

With regard to a call by advocacy groups for a moratorium on all BLM gathers of herds?

This is said to be untenable for a couple of reasons:
  • Given the fact that herds grow at an average rate of 20 percent a year and can double in size every four years.
  • The ecosystems of public range-lands are not able to withstand the impacts from overpopulated herds, which include soil erosion, sedimentation of streams, and damage to wildlife habitat.
Sale Authority

About 8,400 wild horses and burros immediately became eligible for sale under the December 2004 sale-authority law (the so-called "Burns Amendment").

This law directs the BLM to sell "without limitation" to any willing buyers animals that are either more than 10 years old or have been passed over for adoption at least three times.

Since 2005, the Bureau has sold more than 5,400 horses and burros.

It has been and remains the policy of the BLM, despite the unrestricted sales authority of the Burns Amendment, not to sell any wild horses or burros to slaughterhouses or to "kill buyers."

The proceeds from the sale of the eligible animals are used for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program, as directed by Congress under the sale-authority law.

Since 1989, adoptions have seldom exceeded the number of animals removed from the range.

In the 2000s, the discrepancy neared a 2:1 ratio of animals removed to animals adopted.

Because of that, the BLM’s effort to control horse and burro numbers by removing animals from the range has led to the stockpiling of “excess” horses and burros in holding facilities.

In fiscal year 2012, more than 45,000 animals were in holding facilities, and their maintenance consumed almost 60 percent of the Wild Horse and Burro Program’s budget.

BLM’s Legal Mandates

The BLM manages the nation’s public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

The Bureau manages wild horses and burros as part of this multiple-use mandate.

The BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (as amended by Congress in 1976, 1978, 1996, and 2004).

This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands.

The problem is that there are those who see America's Wild Horse as a nuisance. Those people believe that Wild Horses and Burros should be eradicated, and access to the land shut off to ranchers.  

As for the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, Section 1333 of that law mandates that once the Interior Secretary "determines...on the basis of all information currently available to him, that an overpopulation exists on a given area of the public lands and that action is necessary to remove excess animals, he shall immediately remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels."

So with the majority of the horses being in the West, and most likely a political appointee who doesn't know the situation of the problems will be in charge of their destiny, one can only wonder if the remaining horses have a chance at survival.

The Wild Horse situation in America is a problem that bureaucrats in Washington won't be able to figure out.

And sadly, some of those in the field know their jobs are on the line if they voice opposition to some of the relocation and/or removal policies that will lead to the destruction of our Wild Horses.

The goal is supposed to be protecting free-ranging horses and burros while managing and controlling them to achieve a vaguely defined thriving natural ecological balance within the multiple-use mandate for public lands.

This goal has challenged the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program since its inception. And to many today, the BLM is failing to meet the challenge.

by Tom Correa