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State Herd Area: Little Humboldt (NV)

Little Humboldt HMA

The Little Humboldt Herd Management Area (HMA) is located western Elko County, approximately 45 miles north of Winnemucca, Nevada. The HMA contains approximately 75,000 acres of public and private lands.

Terrain in the area consists of north-south trending mountains separated by broad valleys. The elevation ranges from 4,500 feet to 7,738 feet. The climate is continental and semi-arid with warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters. Precipitation ranges from 6 to 14 inches, occurring primarily in the winter and spring. The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. Typical wildlife species found in the area include chukar, sage grouse, deer, antelope, coyotes, and various birds, rodents and reptiles.


The area's vegetative composition is almost entirely the sagebrush-grass types typical of the cold desert and Great Basin. Low sagebrush and big sagebrush predominate throughout the greatest portion of the area. Other plant species include downy brome, Thurber's needlegrass, Indian ricegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, squirreltail, bluegrass, spiny hopsage, green rabbitbrush,  grey rabbitbrush, bud sagebrush and winterfat. Small wet meadows occur throughout the area, primarily in the higher elevations. Forage species for wild horses are primarily the perennial grasses: needlegrass, ricegrass, wheatgrass, squirreltail, and bluegrass.

The appropriate management level (AML) for wild horses in the HMA is managed in a range from 75 to 120 head. Periodic removals are conducted to maintain the population within the management range. Horses within the HMA are descendants of ranch horses that either escaped or were released into the area. The majority of the horses in the HMA exhibit a bay, brown, black, or sorrel color pattern. Palominos, buckskins, pintos, grays, roans and white horses are also found in the area. Most adult horses are around 12 to 14 hands high (48 to 56 inches).

Herd Description

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