WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI
ROCKY CREEK HERD
Rocky Creek is a stream that rises in Buckeye Township and flows northeast to the Current River in Bowlan Township. According to research by the University of Missouri, the creek got its name from the descriptive nature of the stream bed. I have hiked through and driven across Rocky Creek many times, verifying that the name is accurate!
The Rocky Creek herd is probably the most elusive and difficult to find. We can go months at a time or even longer between finding them. Their natural habitat remains very wild and rugged, even in modern times. It is like time stands still in this area.
I had to search for two years to find them for the first time, and I live within 15 to 30 minutes of areas they have been known to frequent.
The terrain is rugged, and the horses are very aware of the people in their space.
You can view the photographs of the current and historical members of the Rocky Creek herd below this paragraph.
The members of each herd change over time because of several factors. Lead stallions are known for visiting other herds and bands to steal mares. Yes, that is correct; the stallions swoop in and steal mares from other herds. Also, because of the monitoring and management of the herd per the law, sometimes members are gathered up to keep the size of the herds within the bounds of the legal agreement.
ROCKY CREEK HERD PHOTOS
|April 25, 2022
||KMHF||0||We hiked the main fields but were unable to cross the creeks because of high water. There was no sign of the herd in the front three fields this time.|
|April 15, 2022||KMHF||?||We arrived at KMHF a little before daybreak in hopes of seeing this incredible and very elusive herd.|
|April 09, 2022||KMHF||16||We found the herd at KMHF # 4 around 11:30 AM. They ran within less than one minute of seeing them. We did get a couple of videos and a few photos of them before they ran. We tracked them and I saw them go into # 5 and then lost them. We crossed 3 creeks and hiked 3.2 miles today and uncovered a lot of new places to find them in the future. Later on our way out, we found them a second time at NN-B and by the time we got out of the truck and down to where we saw them, they were already gone. This is the first time ever that we found this herd twice in one day at two different locations. We found from MWHL that someone had found the herd near KM around 7 AM and this may explain why they were so intolerant of us. It appears they crossed RC and went through the woods over to NN-B. This is extremely rugged terrain and there is no chance of us exploring this possible route on foot.|
|April 05, 2022||KMHF||0||We searched the first 3 at KMHF and did not find the herd. We identified the path where they ran away from us the last time on March 26th. I crossed the creek and followed the trail across 2 more creeks and found what appeared to be a good next step for tracking them.|
|March 26, 2022||KMHF||16||
We searched all of the fields at 106B and explored the old homestead at Klepzig, the NN-A and NN-B fields, and the Robinson area. After a very long dry period (since July 5, 2020), we found a herd of 16 at KMHF.
It was a fantastic experience, and we got some incredible video footage today with them. I got a few photos, but my main focus was video today.
|Mar 19, 2022||KMHF, 106BF||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|Mar 13, 2022||KMHF, PR||0||
I did not find the herd today. We found fresh tracks and signs of the herd at KMHF. Today, MDC was doing controlled burns over NN towards Rocky Falls and the mill.
|Mar 05, 2022||106B, PM, KMHF, PR||0||I did not find the herd today.
|Mar 02, 2022||106B, PM, KMHF, PR||0||I did not find the herd today.
|Feb 26, 2022||106B, PM, KMHF, PR||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|Feb 20, 2022||106B, PM||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|Feb 13, 2022||106B, PM||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|Feb 12, 2022||106B/PM/OB||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|Feb 06, 2022||106B, PM, PR||I did not find the herd today.|
|January 28, 2022||106B, PM, PR||0||I did not find the herd today.
|January 24, 2022||106B||15||A friend found the herd today along Current River and counted 15.
|January 2, 2022||0||We Did not find the herd today.
|August 01, 2021||KM, NN-A, NN-B||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|April 25, 2021||KM, NN-A, NN-B||0||I did not find the herd today.
|April 21, 2021||PM||?||A friend found an unverified number today at the location.|
|January 16, 2021||PR||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|December 21, 2020||PR, NN-A||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|November 21, 2020||PR, NN-A||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|September 01, 2020||PR, NN-A||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|August 26, 2020||KM||?||A friend reported an unverified number of horses near Klepzig.
|August 02, 2020||PR||0||I did not find the herd today.
|July 5, 2020||PR||?||I found an unverified number of horses in the Mark Twain National Forest.|
|July 4, 2020||PR||?||I found an unverified number of horses in the Mark Twain National Forest.|
|July 3, 2020||PR||14||I found 14 horses in the Mark Twain National Forest.
|April 17, 2020||NN-A, NN-B||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|April 09, 2020||NN-A, NN-B, NN-C, RC-A, RC-B||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|April 06, 2020||NN-A, NN-B||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|April 05, 2020||NN-A, NN-B||0||I did not find the herd today|
|March 06, 2020||NN-B||12||
I found 12 members of the herd today at NN-B.
HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI
Shannon County is home to a beautiful herd of wild horses. It is located in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system and the only place in the state where wild horses still roam free. It hasn't been an easy path for the wild horses over the last 100 years, and it would be foolish to think current conditions couldn't change and put the horses back in danger again.
During the 1980s, the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses, and people were outraged.
In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal to protect the horses and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land.
The national park service started removing the wild horses in a profoundly upsetting way to residents and horse lovers around the country. The people of Shannon County and horse lovers around the country rallied together, and the Wild Horse League of Missouri was formed.
Luckily, by 1996 the Wild Horse League of Missouri, which formed in 1992 to save the wild horses, received help from the people of Shannon County, Congressman Bill Emerson, Senators Kit Bond, and John Ashcroft.
Their tireless efforts paid off, and President Clinton signed a bill into law on October 3, 1996, to make the wild horses of Shannon County a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Now, people worldwide visit Shannon County in hopes of seeing these majestic wild horses.
The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to capture some of the horses when the herd exceeds 50. The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes.
It is important to remember that these horses are wild. When looking for them, be sure not to approach them or attempt to feed them. It is essential to keep these animals wild and free and for you to be safe. The horses are big, strong, and unpredictable and for your safety, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses.
The Wild Horses of Missouri are generally organized into 4 herds and 5 bands to include: Shawnee Creek, Broadfoot, Round Spring, and Rocky Creek. You can click on each of the herd names and review the latest information about each herd. If you would like to get more information on where to find the Wild Horses of Missouri, review my detailed online guide for the latest information.
O'Brien, Anna. "Place Names Of Five Central Southern Counties of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1939.