DEER LODGE CANYON HERD MANAGEMENT AREA, NV
The Deer Lodge Canyon Herd Management Area (HMA) is located in south-central Lincoln County, Nevada, approximately 10 miles northeast of Panaca. This HMA is roughly 107,000 acres in size and covers an old mining district known as Deer Lodge, which was located within
Deer Lodge Canyon. Climate in the area is quite harsh, with winter temperatures well below
freezing and summer temperature well over 100 degrees Farhenheit. The area has had snow in May and 90 degree heat as late as November. Rainfall averages only 8-14 inches per year,
divided almost equally between summer and winter. Summer rains are localized, short and very intense while winter/spring rains are gentler and over a wider area. Permanent water sources
consist of springs as well as water troughs installed for livestock grazing. The animals
sometimes have to travel several miles from food to water and back during the drier part of the year. Horses drink at least once each day during the hotter part of the year, but only every second day during the winter and early spring.
The horses share the area with desert mule deer, elk, coyotes, grey fox, bobcats, and mountain lions, as well as many species of small wildlife. Birds include the rare prairie falcon, ravens,
quail, starlings, horned larks and many more. Reptiles include many species of lizards and both poisonous (rattlesnakes) and non-poisonous snakes.
The vegetation within the HMA is typical of the Great Basin types with big sagebrush, forest lands (pinyon-pine/juniper), and bunch grasses. The foothills and valley bottoms are dominated
by sagebrush and rabbitbrush communities with grass in the understory. The Deer Lodge area contain extensive stands of pinyon-pine and juniper (P/J) trees. These communities have a very
limited understory of sagebrush and other mountain shrubs and small amounts of grass. Large areas of the sagebrush and P/J have been burned (naturally and intentionally) and chained, or
being planned to be burned, and then planted with grass species to increase the forage capacity for livestock as well as wild horses and wildlife. The scattered pockets of perennial grasses
within the sagebrush and P/J communities supply the majority of the forage for the horses.
The horses that exist within these HMA are generally descendants of early ranch horses and cavalry remount horses. These horses show bloodlines of quarter horses, Arabians, thoroughbreds, and many other breeds including draft horses. The predominate colors are bay and sorrel with a few buckskins, and other colors occurring. These horses average approximately
13-14 hands tall (52-56 inches) and weigh about 600-800 pounds.