'A' is for A**

An isolated but thriving population of federally managed wild burros in northwestern Arizona’s Mojave Desert is adversely affecting wildlife species and desert habitat. Wanna hunt them?

For decades, sportsmen in the region have battled with the federal government and animal advocates over the wandering herds of burros, thought to be the remnants of pack animals left behind by prospectors in the late 1800s.

In recent testimony at the monthly meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in Bullhead City, commissioners were told that an alarmingly large and rapidly expanding burro population is damaging wildlife habitat, crowding out wildlife species and incurring costs to state and federal taxpayers.

“This is a significant issue that is having a direct impact on our community—and others around the state—and must be resolved,” said Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady said. “Due to a lack of proper management, the population of burros is now expanding at an alarming rate and is creating a public safety and ecological concern for our residents.”

State agencies are federally prohibited from managing burro populations. Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is authorized to maintain appropriate numbers of burros, but local/regional burro management efforts have been hampered by a lack of funding and support from Congress and senior federal leaders.

The foraging burros share habitat relied upon by bighorn sheep, mule deer, Gambel’s quail, sensitive migratory songbirds and other wildlife species in that portion of the sprawling Mojave Desert.

While most desert wildlife species consume only parts of plants that easily grow back, burros also eat the bark and even remove whole limbs from trees, often leaving only stumps. They consume native grasses down to the roots, preventing them from rejuvenating, muddy waterholes used by other wildlife and disturb sensitive nesting grounds. In some cases, where the habitat damage is severe and long term, wildlife has been displaced from its native territory.

Currently, in the Black Mountains between Kingman and Bullhead City, BLM resource management plans call for a maximum population of 478 burros, but the area currently has between 1,746 and 1,827 burros—nearly four times the prescribed limit. Other parts of the state have burro populations more than nine times “appropriate management levels” established by Congress and administered by the BLM.

“We are now in a position where an over-abundance of a single, non-native, feral species now outnumbers our native iconic bighorn sheep in the Black Mountains,” said AG&F Commission Chairman Robert Mansell. “Burros are having a negative impact on our fragile desert ecosystems, competing with sensitive wildlife species for forage and water, and are destroying desert vegetation. As the agency responsible for conserving Arizona’s wildlife, that’s very concerning and indicative of a larger problem that must be addressed.”


North American Hunter Top Stories

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For decades, sportsmen in the region have battled with the federal government and animal advocates over the wandering herds of burros, thought to be the remnants of pack animals left behind by prospectors in the late 1800s.

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In recent testimony at the monthly meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in Bullhead City, commissioners were told that an alarmingly large and rapidly expanding burro population is damaging wildlife habitat, crowding out wildlife species and incurring costs to state and federal taxpayers.

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“This is a significant issue that is having a direct impact on our community—and others around the state—and must be resolved,” said Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady said. “Due to a lack of proper management, the population of burros is now expanding at an alarming rate and is creating a public safety and ecological concern for our residents.”

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State agencies are federally prohibited from managing burro populations. Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is authorized to maintain appropriate numbers of burros, but local/regional burro management efforts have been hampered by a lack of funding and support from Congress and senior federal leaders.

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The foraging burros share habitat relied upon by bighorn sheep, mule deer, Gambel’s quail, sensitive migratory songbirds and other wildlife species in that portion of the sprawling Mojave Desert.

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While most desert wildlife species consume only parts of plants that easily grow back, burros also eat the bark and even remove whole limbs from trees, often leaving only stumps. They consume native grasses down to the roots, preventing them from rejuvenating, muddy waterholes used by other wildlife and disturb sensitive nesting grounds. In some cases, where the habitat damage is severe and long term, wildlife has been displaced from its native territory.

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[MEDIA:1535202]

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Currently, in the Black Mountains between Kingman and Bullhead City, BLM resource management plans call for a maximum population of 478 burros, but the area currently has between 1,746 and 1,827 burros—nearly four times the prescribed limit. Other parts of the state have burro populations more than nine times “appropriate management levels” established by Congress and administered by the BLM.

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“We are now in a position where an over-abundance of a single, non-native, feral species now outnumbers our native iconic bighorn sheep in the Black Mountains,” said AG&F Commission Chairman Robert Mansell. “Burros are having a negative impact on our fragile desert ecosystems, competing with sensitive wildlife species for forage and water, and are destroying desert vegetation. As the agency responsible for conserving Arizona’s wildlife, that’s very concerning and indicative of a larger problem that must be addressed.”

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Talk With Other Hunters Here

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For decades, sportsmen in the region have battled with the federal government and animal advocates over the wandering herds of burros, thought to be the remnants of pack animals left behind by prospectors in the late 1800s.

In recent testimony at the monthly meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in Bullhead City, commissioners were told that an alarmingly large and rapidly expanding burro population is damaging wildlife habitat, crowding out wildlife species and incurring costs to state and federal taxpayers.

“This is a significant issue that is having a direct impact on our community—and others around the state—and must be resolved,” said Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady said. “Due to a lack of proper management, the population of burros is now expanding at an alarming rate and is creating a public safety and ecological concern for our residents.”

State agencies are federally prohibited from managing burro populations. Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is authorized to maintain appropriate numbers of burros, but local/regional burro management efforts have been hampered by a lack of funding and support from Congress and senior federal leaders.

The foraging burros share habitat relied upon by bighorn sheep, mule deer, Gambel’s quail, sensitive migratory songbirds and other wildlife species in that portion of the sprawling Mojave Desert.

While most desert wildlife species consume only parts of plants that easily grow back, burros also eat the bark and even remove whole limbs from trees, often leaving only stumps. They consume native grasses down to the roots, preventing them from rejuvenating, muddy waterholes used by other wildlife and disturb sensitive nesting grounds. In some cases, where the habitat damage is severe and long term, wildlife has been displaced from its native territory.

[MEDIA:1535202]

Currently, in the Black Mountains between Kingman and Bullhead City, BLM resource management plans call for a maximum population of 478 burros, but the area currently has between 1,746 and 1,827 burros—nearly four times the prescribed limit. Other parts of the state have burro populations more than nine times “appropriate management levels” established by Congress and administered by the BLM.

“We are now in a position where an over-abundance of a single, non-native, feral species now outnumbers our native iconic bighorn sheep in the Black Mountains,” said AG&F Commission Chairman Robert Mansell. “Burros are having a negative impact on our fragile desert ecosystems, competing with sensitive wildlife species for forage and water, and are destroying desert vegetation. As the agency responsible for conserving Arizona’s wildlife, that’s very concerning and indicative of a larger problem that must be addressed.”

Talk With Other Hunters Here

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