Barren Valley Wild Horse Gather

The Barren Valley Complex comprises three Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in southeastern Oregon. Historically, the HMAs has been gathered simultaneously and separately. Gathering the HMAs separately was not always successful due to wild horses crossing into adjoining HMAs during gather operations; therefore, the HMAs have been designated as a complex to facilitate simultaneous gather operations.

The Bureau of Land Management's Vale District, Jordan Field Office is proposing to gather up to 650 wild horses. Approximately 460 wild horses would remain in the complex after the gather is completed, and sex ratios would be managed for a 60% male/40% female sex ratio of wild horses that would be released back to the HMA. The gather would occur in September 2011. Fertility control will be applied to mares released back to the HMA.

The removal of excess wild horses is necessary to achieve the appropriate management level (AML) within the individual HMAs. AML is the point at which the population is consistent with the land's capacity to support the horses in balance with other public rangeland uses and resources. Monitoring studies indicate that excess wild horse use of the range is contributing to the range's deterioration in the Sheepshead/Heath Creek HMA and adjustments need to be made throughout the Barren Valley Complex to balance horse numbers. The proposed gather will help the BLM make progress in meeting rangeland health standards and ensure the sustainability of the public lands.

For more up to date information and to find photos and/or video of the gather please check our Social Media sites. Click on the Facebook or Twitter icon below. Note: you do not need an account to view content.

Details of Gather

Our overall goal is for the range to achieve or maintain a thriving natural ecological balance.

Coyote Lake/Alvord Tule Springs
Animals Gathered Animal Deaths Animals Returned to HMA
2 (gather related),
5 (non-gather related)
(view Coyote Lake/Alvord Tule Springs detailed gather reports)
154 (84 Studs, 70 Mares)
Sheepshead/Heath Creek
Animals Gathered Animal Deaths Animals Returned to HMA
0 (gather related),
1 (non-gather related)
(view Sheepshead/Heath Creek detailed gather reports)
131 (73 Studs, 58 Mares)
Sand Springs
Animals Gathered Animal Deaths Animals Returned to HMA
0 (gather related),
0 (non-gather related)
(view Sand Springs detailed gather reports)
39 (26 Studs, 13 Mares)

PROPOSED ACTION - Barren Valley Complex

The estimated current wild horse population for the Barren Valley Complex is approximately 700 horses. The Proposed Action is to gather approximately 650 wild horses within and immediately outside the HMAs. Approximately 460 wild horses would remain in the Complex at the completion of the gather.

It is anticipated several capture sites (trap) will be used to capture wild horses from the HMAs. Trap site configuration will vary, depending on terrain and materials. Trap sites will be selected during the gather operations. Traps are built as close to the horses' location as possible.

All capture and handling activities including capture site selections will be conducted in accordance with standard Operating Procedures described in Appendix A of the EA.

Public/Media Gather Viewing Opportunities

Wild Horse Gather
The BLM will provide opportunities for the media and the public to safely observe activities at the Barren Valley Complex wild horse gather if there is interest. Observers must read Know Before You Go (PDF) information before visiting. Daily attendance is limited to 10 people, who will be included in the order that their request is received by the BLM. You may attend multiple, consecutive observation days as long as you are within the first-come first-served maximum.

To express your interest in being an observer, please call 541-473-6333, and leave your name, a contact number, and your preferred date(s). You must confirm your plan to attend by 8:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) on the day prior to your visit, or the next person on the register will be notified of that opening if no one registers to be an observer we will not have an observation day. We will make every effort to post the next observation date, meeting location and meeting time for observers prior to 7:00 p.m. MDT each day so you can register prior to 8:00 p.m. MD (see above).

The Barren Valley Complex Gather is tentatively set for September 10-30, 2011. Timing may change depending on weather and gather operations; the most current updates are available by phone at 541-473-6333, or by following us on Facebook and/or Twitter. Some days of the gather may not provide a viewing opportunity at the capture site for a variety of reasons: the trap location may not work (not gathering), the area may not be safe for viewing activities (prudent distance from helicopter operations) or being able to disguise vehicles may disrupt the gather. The BLM might receive very little advance notice when viewing is unavailable; as soon as we have that information it will be posted on the phone line, and we will call those who registered for that day.

BLM employees will guide observers to and from gather sites. We recommend that your vehicle have high clearance with 4-wheel drive capability. The gather Contractor and BLM's Contracting Officer's Representative will plan the access to (and the distance from) the capture site before operations begin, to allow for the safety of the horses, the gather operations crew, and the public. Safety is always our top priority.

To learn about or follow the progress of the gather, click on the Facebook or Twitter icon below—you do not need an account on these sites to view the content. Another chance to view the horses is at Oregon's Wild Horse Corral Facility near Hines, Oregon. It is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., for viewing and animal observation.


Horses removed from the Barren Valley Complex will be available for adoption from Oregon's Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines at a competitive bid adoption later in 2011.

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