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Release Date: 06/09/12
Contacts: Heather Emmons , 775-623-1541 ,
News Release No. 2012-19

BLM Conducts First Day of Emergency Wild Horse Gather

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) emergency wild horse gather in the Jackson Mountains started on Friday, June 8, with the capture of 27 animals in the drought stricken southern end of the Herd Management Area (HMA). The gather operations started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at approximately 10:00 a.m. because of windy conditions. The gather resumed today at 6:00 a.m.
“Gather operations were conducted in a slow and patient manner,” said BLM Winnemucca District Manager Gene Seidlitz. “The contractor and the BLM employees followed the guidance outlined in our agency expectations document, which was developed to ensure humane capture and handling of wild horses during a gather operation.”
The document, which is posted on the BLM Nevada website at, lists 24 points to ensure the humane handling of wild horses during gather operations. 
Some of the points are:
  • Gather helicopter may not come in contact with an animal.
  • Foals will not be left behind or orphaned in the field.
  • Mares with dependent foals will be separated from other animals in a designated mare/foal pen, until they can be shipped to the BLM preparation facility.
  • The BLM and the contractor will ensure that the distance animals are brought to the gather site is based on the terrain, environmental conditions, and animal health. 
  • Electric prods may not be used routinely and may not be applied to sensitive areas.
The emergency gather was started three weeks before the end of the foaling season, which is usually March through June. To prepare for mares with foals and horses in declining body conditions, the BLM is taking some added measures:
  • Provide additional pen space at the short-term holding corrals to ensure mares and foals have more dedicated pens in which to pair up and be closely monitored.
  • Provide additional pen space for weaker animals to be separated from stronger ones for added care.
  • Closely monitor animal condition at the trap location and temporary holding corrals.
  • Closely monitor weather conditions and temperatures to avoid gathering animals during hot temperatures.
According to Seidlitz, prior to starting the emergency gather, the BLM closely monitored the condition of the animals, and the availability of forage and water. 
“Our hope was that the gather could start in July,” said Seidlitz. “It increasingly became apparent that the condition of the animals was deteriorating to the point that holding off gathering would put us in the position of gathering animals in declining health if we waited.”
The BLM began the initial steps involved with water trapping through the placement of a temporary water trough and storage tanks and by hauling water, but this activity scattered the animals away from dwindling water sources. 
“We determined the placement of panels for a water trap would further add to the skittish behavior of the horses, and we discontinued water trapping efforts and kept as low a human presence as possible, so the horses would continue to come in to drink,” said Seidlitz. “The BLM hauled about 5,000 gallons of water a week for five weeks to troughs set up in the southern end of the HMA.”
The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center north of Sparks, Nev., where they will receive health checks, fresh water and grass hay. These animals will be available for adoption. The Center is open to the public six days a week. For more information, call the Center at (775) 475-2222.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

Last updated: 06-12-2012