HEBER, Ariz. - A Heber man is concerned that someone is shooting wild horses in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. Robert Huchinson says he found two dead wild horses in the forest this week, both with gunshot wounds.
He says the horse carcasses are about 5 miles from his home. He's lived in the area for 25 years. Huchinson says he's not sure who is responsible, but says bear hunters may be to blame. He admits he's a wild horse lover, but knows some people in the area are not.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture animal services department tells 12 News shooting wild horses is illegal anywhere in our state.
Jim Molesa of the Navajo County Sheriff's Office says his agency is investigating, but has no leads at this time. He says there are some people near Holbrook who look at the horses as pests, rather than majestic animals. He adds the animals are sometimes known to trample gardens and vegetation.
According to information in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF) website, the Forest Service and other state agencies and Arizona State University are conducting research to come up with a plan for wild horse population management.
The ASNF anticipates having a proposed action plan developed by the end of 2017. The planning and public comment process on the proposed action is expected to occur in 2018, followed by the environmental analysis and development of a management plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory by 2020.