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Elko District Office
Release Date: 06/24/10
Contacts: Heather Emmons , 775-861-6594 ,
News Release No. 2010-33

BLM Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather to Begin July 9

Elko, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Tuscarora Field Office, is scheduled to begin the Tuscarora wild horse gather on July 9, and it will last about three weeks. The BLM will remove about 1,137-1,197 wild horses located on the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs), and including about 425 wild horses located outside the Rock Creek HMA, northwest of Elko, Nev., in Elko County.

The BLM estimates there are about 1,550 wild horses in the gather area and any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released back to the HMAs so that the remaining population is within the appropriate management level range of 337-561. The mares released back to the range would be vaccinated with PZP-22 (Porcine Zona Pellucida) fertility control vaccine. The gather, removal and fertility control are intended to slow population growth, maintain population size within the appropriate management levels and extend the time before another gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed. Additionally, adjustment of sex ratios of the gathered animals to be returned to the HMAs may be made to 60 percent male/40 percent female ratios. The Tuscarora Field Office issued the Decision Record for the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas Gather Plan on June 7.

The BLM will announce public observation days for the gather and will regularly provide updates and information on its website at:

“The current wild horse population in these HMAs is more than three times what the range can sustain,” said Field Manager David Overcast. “We need to gather and remove the excess wild horses to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the land and address the horse populations that have moved outside the HMA boundaries. By keeping the wild horse population within the appropriate management levels, we can prevent further deterioration of Lahontan cutthroat trout streams, riparian zones, wildlife habitat, wilderness values and other important resources in these HMAs.”

The forage and water supplies have become very limited due to extreme drought conditions in the HMAs. Climate data from the National Weather Service shows that precipitation for the current water year (beginning Oct. 1, 2009) is about 30 percent below the thirty-year average. Additionally, the HMAs also have been severely impacted by catastrophic wildfires in 2001 and 2006.

The BLM will use helicopters to gather the wild horses and will transport the animals by motorized vehicles. The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, has proven to be a safe, effective, and practical means for gathering excess wild horses from the public lands, and large scale geographic areas such as the Tuscarora gather area. Horses removed from the range will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals. Unadopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and treated, and will retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

The gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas Gather Plan Final EA. The EA, a video about the gather and other gather-related information are posted on the BLM website at:

For more information, please call Tuscarora Field Manager David Overcast, 775-753-0320.

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.

Elko District Office   3900 East Idaho Street,      Elko NV 89801  

Last updated: 06-24-2010