Just an interesting side note: most of the wild mustangs found in the west are not true mustangs. The origin of the english word "mustang" comes from the spanish word "mestano". The BLM tracks more than 200+ mustang herds in the west. Based on genetic testing however, only two herds in the entire west that have pure genes going back to the original spanish "barb" horses: the Kiger/Riddle herd in Oregon & the Sulpher Springs herd in Utah. The other herds have been "watered down" with other species of horse from ponies to draft horses, from thoroughbreds to loose cavalry mounts.
The typical/ideal example of a true mustang will have the dun factor gene with dorsal stripe and barring on the legs like a zebra. It will have a bi-colored mane and tale. It's face will be darker or cobwebbed than its body color (like a roan) with black outline around hooked ears. They usually stand between 14 & 15 hands tall.
Now apaloosa's are a whole different matter.
As I see it, mustangs are part of the old romantic west and have earned a place there. But most of the wild horses of today are not true mustangs. We need to find a happy medium. IMHO, we need to save the true mustangs and maybe a couple of the other unique herds. There are enough adopters out their take handle their surplus growth. The other 90% of the wild horses need to go. Having said that,the political environment is not yet right.
Selling tags is a great idea! We do that for the valued native species, why not sell tags for the unwanted in areas; horses, pigs, WOLVES, etc.. I grew up as a rancher and it is still very common to rope wild horses and take them to auction for extra money. Maybe not completely legal or ethical by some standards, but it is completely untraceable and common place across the rural west. Might as well make some money off of it, and make it legal! I know lots of people that would pay to be legal. Would you pay extra to legally drive 60 in a 55, of course you would!
I agree totally. Unfortunately the 71' law prevents it. Too many horse loving voters back east and in California to do anything about it. It would be political suicide for a politician to try to reform the law. We either pay to have them removed and feed, with tax dollars, or we let them destroy the range. This is bad for both ranchers and hunters.
They would make nice long range practice targets though.
I own some BLM mustangs. They are much harder to deal with than my quarter horses and paints.
Most of these horses aren't worth anything and do tremendous damage to the ecosystem. The only problem with using them for target practice is how do you know which ones are wild and which are loose on a grazing permit on public land?