Nevada Wild Horses & Burros

Herd Management Areas (HMAs)

Under the law, BLM is required to manage wild horses and burros only in those areas (Herd Areas) where they were found in 1971. Through land use planning, BLM evaluates each Herd Area to determine if it has adequate food, water, cover and space to sustain healthy and diverse wild horse and burro populations over the long-term. The areas which meet these criteria are then designated as Herd Management Areas.

If you’ve adopted a wild horse or burro, your paperwork will include the name of the HMA from which your animal was gathered. Information about Nevada’s HMAs can be found on this site. 

Click here to view the Nevada Herd Management Areas Map. If you would like to view the Nevada HMA map in details with major road highways marked, click here.

The number next to the HMA’s name refers to the field office or district which manages the HMA:

1 – Elko
2 – Winnemucca 
3 – Carson City 
4 – Ely 
5 – Southern Nevada 
6 – Battle Mountain

Of course, there is an exception…some HMAs managed by the Ely Field Office also have a “5”. This is because the Caliente Office now reports to the Ely Field Office rather than Las Vegas, as it did more than 30 years ago.)

A group of bachelors on the Owyhee HMA. A group of bachelors on the Owyhee HMA.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q – What if I can’t find my horse’s home listed here?
A – If you have adopted a horse or burro which strayed outside an HMA or was from a Herd Area, you will not find it on this site. The BLM strives to manage wild horses or burros in HMAs. So, if animals stray onto public lands not designated for wild horse or burro management, they may have been removed and placed in the adoption program.

Q – How accurate are the HMA boundaries?
A – Mapping of Herd Areas and HMAs was once done by hand. With modern technology like Geographic Information Systems (GIS), precise mapping is possible.

Q – What are the special status HMAs?
A – Special status HMAs are HMAs which have been designated as WH&B ranges due to unique herd characteristics, outstanding viewing opportunities, unique landscape or significant historical or cultural features. WH&B ranges may only be established after a full assessment of the impact on other resources and with public involvement through the land use planning process.

Nevada manages two special status HMAs. They are: the Nevada Wild Horse Range and the Marietta Wild Burro Range.

The Nevada Wild Horse Range is about 394,000 acres in the northeast corner of Nye County. It is cooperatively managed by BLM, the Fish and wildlife Service, the Nevada Division of Wildlife and the Department of Defense. It was designated as a wild horse range in 1962, nine years prior to the Act.

The Marietta Wild Burro Range near Hawthorne, Nevada is the nation’s only formally recognized wild burro range. At 68,000 acres, it is home to about 78-104 burros, and was dedicated in 1991, the 20th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Q – Why doesn’t BLM manage HMAs principally for wild horses and burros?
A – Under the law, BLM may designate specific herd management areas to be managed principally, but not necessarily exclusively, for wild horse or burro herds. As discussed above, Nevada manages two special status HMAs: the Nevada Wild Horse Range and the Marietta Wild Burro Range.

In passing the 1971 WFRHBA, Congress stated their intent: “The principal goal of this legislation is to provide for the protection of the animals from man and not the single use management of areas for the benefit of wild free-roaming horses and burros. It is the intent of the committee that the wild free-roaming horses and burros be specifically incorporated as a component of the multiple-use plans governing the use of the public lands.” (Senate Report No. 92-242).

Q – Why doesn’t BLM eliminate livestock grazing from Herd Management Areas so wild horses and burros can have this forage?
A – Under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), BLM is required to manage public lands under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. Managing use by cattle and sheep, together with wildlife and wild horses and burros, and a host of other uses is a key part of BLM’s multiple use management mission under FLPMA.