LITTLE MOUNTAIN HERD MANAGEMENT AREA, NV
The Miller Flat and Little Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMAs) are located in southcentral Lincoln County, Nevada approximately 2 miles northeast of Caliente, NV. These HMAs are roughly 146,000 acres in size and covers an area known locally as Miller Wash and the Little Mountain range, for which they get their names. Climate in the area is quite harsh, with winter temperatures well below freezing and summer temperature well over 100 degrees F. 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 nine small springs found on both private and Public lands (primarily within the Miller Flat HMA), Clover Creek (a viable trout stream), as well as water troughs installed for livestock grazing. The resident horses within the Little Mountain HMA have to travel to the Miller Flat HMA as there are only 2 very small springs within its borders. 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, 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 nonpoisonous snakes.
The vegetation within the HMAs 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 Miller Flat 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 amount of grass. Large areas of the sagebrush and P/J have been burned (naturally and intentionally) 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 HMAs 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 roans, and other colors occurring, also. These horses average approximately 13-14 hands tall and weigh about 600-800 pounds.