Interested in the use of motorized vehicles to manage wild horses and burros? The BLM wants to hear from you!

As part of its efforts to manage and protect the health of wild horses and burros and the public lands on which they live, the Bureau of Land Management often uses motorized vehicles such as trucks, utility vehicles, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to conduct necessary operations important for keeping wild herds and land healthy. 

Helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft are commonly used to conduct population surveys or to determine locations of wild horses and burros on public lands. As herds outgrow resources available to them on public lands, the BLM may use helicopters to help gather large numbers of animals across rugged terrain, normally as a guide to bring animals into established traps. 

Helicopter flying over a desert
Helicopters are often used to spot and gather wild horses or burros from overpopulated herds.

Pick-up trucks, utility vehicles and ATVs may also be used for monitoring or other activities associated with managing wild horses and burros, such as conducting fertility control operations, delivering supplies and bringing hay and water to animals. Vehicles are also used to transport BLM and contractor personnel. 

Trucks with trailers are also used to move animals from trap site to holding facilities, and from holding facilities to other facilities and off-site events for adoption and sale activities.  

Horses being released from a horse trailer onto the range.
A pick-up truck and trailer are used to shuttle horses back to their herd management area as part of a fertility control operation.

When carrying out wild horse and burro management activities, the BLM adheres to humane handling standards outlined in its Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy. The BLM developed the standards in collaboration with animal welfare experts from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service - Veterinary Services. The standards will be reviewed periodically to incorporate the best available science, husbandry and handling practices applicable for wild horses and burros.

This is your chance to make your voice heard! To comply with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the BLM is hosting a hearing on the use of motorized vehicles for managing wild horses and burros May 25, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. MT via Zoom video conferencing. 

To provide comment during the virtual public hearing, members of the public may register in advance by May 22. Written comments may also be sent in advance of the hearing to BLM_HQ_MotorizedVehicleHearing@blm.gov. Please include ‘‘Motorized Vehicle Comment’’ in the subject line of the email. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. Mountain Time on May 24. Please review the Rules of the Zoom prior to registration

For more information, read the news release

Learn more about wild horse and burro herd management