BLM Logo
Winnemucca District Office
Release Date: 07/30/13
Contacts: Mark Turney, (775) 623-1541;    
News Release No. 2013-021

BLM Issues Gather Decision for Blue Wing Complex Wild Horse Gather

Winnemucca, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office will begin an emergency gather on Aug. 2 to capture and remove 200 excess wild horses from the Blue Wing Complex area west of Lovelock, Nev. The emergency is needed because of declining conditions of the wild horses due to a lack of forage and declining numbers of available water sources due to severe drought.

The gather is expected to take about eight days and will be conducted by helicopter due to the terrain, the difficulty of access to water sources, and the overall skittishness of the wild horses. In this situation, a helicopter gather is the most effective method to ensure the overall health and safety of the animals.

According to Derek Messmer, acting field manager for the BLM Humboldt River Field Office, the wild horses within the Blue Wing Complex are moving farther away from their native ranges due to lack of forage and available water sources having been severely depleted.

“The current situation on the range is dismal and these wild horses, and the ecosystem they live in, need immediate relief,” said Messmer. “This emergency gather will help reduce the pressure on the water sources and range in the area, but it will not get us close to the AML.”

There are currently more than 1,574 wild horses within the proposed gather area based on flights conducted in June and on-the-ground monitoring. The wild horse appropriate management level (AML) for this area is 333 (low) to 553 (high) wild horses. The wild burro AML for this region is 55 (low) to 90 (high). The current population of burros is approximately 587; however, no burros will be captured or removed.

Removal of approximately 200 wild horses will lessen impacts to vegetation density, plant vigor, seed production, seedling establishment, and forage production relative to current conditions by reducing grazing pressures on drought-impacted rangeland resources. The gather also will help preserve the health and well-being of those animals removed from the range as well as those that will remain within the complex.

The BLM coordinates closely with the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDOA) Brands Division to provide Brand Inspectors during wild horse gathers. The NDOA brand inspectors must confirm the animals removed are wild and not domestic horses. Once verified, the Brand Inspector provides the BLM with a certificate to transport the animals. The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.

The gathered wild horses will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center near Reno, Nev. where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program.

“Wild horses removed from the Blue Wing Complex will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program,” said BLM Winnemucca District Manager Gene Seidlitz. “Those that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they 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 for slaughter.

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.

Winnemucca District Office   5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.      Winnemucca, NV 89445  

Last updated: 04-20-2015