I kinda buy into that theory. I think it depends on how many horses or cattle are in a given area. I certainly don't know for sure but here where I live it's "open range" and where you find stock there is no game (elk deer) until the stock move on. As the stock move around so do the animals. We also run goats in this country for noxious weed control and let me tell you if you want to scoot the game animals out of a drainage just run a herd of goats in there.
During elk season I make note of where on the range the stock are being pastured at a given time and hut elsewhere. Usually by elk season especially if there is weather my neighbors have gathered their stock and moved them down out of the prime elk country.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. Sir Winston Churchill.
Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. Einstein
I am not sure about how this applies to wild horses but I think it deffinetly applies to cattle and other livestock.
My theory is elk and deer dont really like to be around those domestic animals. The reasons I think that are:
1. Cattle are noisy. My theory is that with a bunch of cattle making noise it eliminates one of defense senses of elk. Hunting around mooing cows annoys me and I am guessing it annoys elk as well.
2. Cattle are stinky. Cattle usually carry quite a bit of odor. My theory is all that smell masks many other smells and elk are not comfortable with that. in my opinion an elks ability to smell is their strongest defense. Take that away or diminish it in any way and I think they loose comfort.
3. Where domestic animals people aren't to far behind. We all know how much elk love to be around people. I get the hunch they may associate the two.
4. Competition for food. They all are eating the same thing more or less. Who wants competetion at your diner plate.
When I am hunting and I see cattle I will move on. Some of my honey holes that hold elk all the time are vacant when cattle graze the area.
I know the post has more to do with Wild Horses but I dont see why some of those things cant apply to both?
"Skin that one, pilgrim, and I'll get you another!"
That was what I'd always heard. On an elk hunt in the Indian Peaks area of western Utah, we saw just the opposite. A small herd of mustangs bolted out of a small stand of trees and there were several elk running with the pack. The next morning my friend with the elk tag downed a nice 364 BC bull in the same area. Go figure....
...for my .02 I'll just say I've OFTEN seen deer and antelope in particular in feeding WITH cattle and sometimes with horses. And occasionally I have seen elk feeding in near cattle. Good theory from the hunters standpoint I suppose, but far from a hard and fast rule. Just reporting my observations.
Probably a lot of variables in play, but in general I think feral horses have a negative impact on elk and other wildlife. I've seen them drive elk off a waterhole, and their grazing habits can definitely limit the amount of forage left for others. Some of the newer guzzlers installed for wildlife have features that help keep horses out.