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Battle Mountain District
Release Date: 07/30/10
Contacts: Thomas Seley , 775-482-7800 ,
News Release No. 2010-23

BLM Signs Final Decision Record for Paymaster and Montezuma Peak Wild Horse and Burro Gather

Battle Mountain, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office, has issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Paymaster/Montezuma Peak Wild Horse and Burro Gather. The decision is for the BLM to gather and remove excess wild horses so that about 23 wild horses remain in the Paymaster Herd Management Area (HMA) and 3 wild horses and 10 burros will remain in the Montezuma Peak HMA. The Paymaster HMA is located approximately 7 miles west of Tonopah, and the Montezuma Peak HMA is located about 26 miles south of Tonopah in Esmeralda County, Nevada. The gather is tentatively scheduled to begin during the first week of September 2010.

The gather is needed to achieve the Appropriate Management Level (AML) in order to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance for the remaining wild horse population, wildlife and vegetation. The BLM issued its Final Multiple Use Decisions between 1999 and 2007, establishing the AML at 38 horses for the Paymaster HMA and 3 horses and 10 burros for the Montezuma Peak HMA. The AMLs were set conservatively because of the lack of suitable habitat reflected by poor forage and water availability. Currently horses and burros are moving off the HMAs in search of food and water.

The gather will prevent emergency conditions resulting from overpopulation of wild horses and burros in this arid environment. The current wild horse population for the HMA is approximately 68 wild horses in the Paymaster HMA, and 81 wild horses and 71 burros in the Montezuma Peak HMA.

The BLM will use helicopters to gather the wild horses and burros and will transport the animals by motorized vehicles. The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, has proven to be the safest and most practical means for gathering excess wild horses.

Wild horses and burros removed from the range will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals through the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for, and will retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 law. The BLM does not sell or send any wild horses or burros to slaughter.

The gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Paymaster/Montezuma Peak Final Gather Plan EA. The EA, Decision Record, associated documents, maps and other information about the Paymaster and Montezuma Peak HMAs are posted on the BLM Battle Mountain website at

The BLM also will provide updates and information at the same Web address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather. For more information, please call the Tonopah Field Office Manager Tom Seley, 775-482-7800.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Battle Mountain District   50 Bastian Road      Battle Mountain, NV 89820  

Last updated: 03-26-2015