In 1971, wild horses and burros were found roaming across 53.8 million acres of Herd Areas (HAs), of which 42.4 million acres were under the BLM's jurisdiction. Today the BLM manages wild horses and burros in subsets of these HAs, known as Herd Management Areas (HMAs) that comprise 31.6 millionacres, of which 26.9 million acres are under BLM management.
Location/Habitat: Located in the Wassuk Mountain Range of Lyon and Mineral Counties approximately three miles east of Walker Lake north of Hawthorne, the Wassuk HMA encompasses approximately 54,000 acres.
The topography of the HMA ranges from rolling hills (approximately 5,500 feet) to the tops of several peaks approximately 8,000 feet.
Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit at lower elevations during July and August and can drop to as low as 10 degrees during December and January.
Average annual precipitation is strongly influenced by elevation and varies from six to 20 inches. Wildlife: Because of the diverse topography and various habitat types, many species of wildlife exist within the HMA, including lizards, rodents, raptors (including prairie falcons and golden eagles), bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and mule deer. Vegetation: Dominant vegetation consists of pinyon-pine, greasewood, shadscale, sagebrush, cheatgrass, Indian ricegrass, pine bluegrass, Nevada bluegrass, Sandberg bluegrass, Thurber needlegrass, Idaho fescue and bottlebrush squirreltail.
Herd Description: The appropriate management level for this HMA is between 109 to 165 horses.
Most coat colors can be found among the Wassuk horses. The horses generally stand 14 to 15 hands high (56 to 60 inches measured from the ground to the top of their withers). Many of these animals are quite adept at negotiating rugged terrain because most of the terrain is steep and rocky. It is generally accepted that these horses originated from escaped ranch stock.