2016 Three Fingers Emergency Wild Horse Gather
The Three Fingers Herd Management Area (HMA) is 25 miles south of Vale, OR. The HMA is bordered on the east by the Owyhee Reservoir, on the south by the Leslie Gulch Road, and on the north by the Owyhee Dam. The herd population is currently estimated at 279—the Appropriate Management Level for the area is 75-150 wild horses.
Details of Gather
The Cherry Road Fire, which started August 21, 2016, burned portions of the Three Fingers HMA. Due to various issues, such as invasion of annual grasses, lack of water or steep terrain, the Three Fingers herd prefers to stay either in one of the two pastures within the HMA—the northern Wildhorse Basin pasture or the southern Riverside pasture. The reasoning for this is because these pastures have more ready access to forage and water sources.
The Cherry Road Fire burned approximately 90 percent of the Wildhorse Basin pasture, where more than half of the estimated 279 horse herd resides. The remaining horses reside in the Riverside pasture. Currently, the remaining 10 percent of the Wildhorse Basin pasture has limited water resources or forage.
For this reason, the Vale District BLM is planning to gather approximately 150 wild horses and transport them to the Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. It is estimated that between 80 and 120 wild horses will remain in the Riverside Pasture in the southern end of the HMA.
Our overall goal is to maintain a thriving ecological balance of the Three Fingers HMA, surrounding rangelands and to preserve the health and well-being of the Three Fingers herd.
THREE FINGERS HERD MANAGEMENT AREA: TOTAL GATHER STATS
Foals - 33
Mares - 55
Stallions - 67
The Full Force and Effect Decision Record for Three Fingers Herd Management Area Emergency Wild Horse Fire Gather Plan can be found here (PDF).
Horses are captured at temporary trap sites located within or adjacent to the HMA and then moved to a larger temporary holding facility, usually within an hour. At the holding facility horses are sorted by mares, studs, and foals to be transported by semi-truck to the Oregon Adoption facility near Burns/Hines OR. They will be available for adoption later in the year. For viewing, the public may visit the Corral Facility anytime between regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.