BLM to conduct Desatoya Herd Management Area wild horse gather


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Carson City District Office

Media Contact:

Carson City, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management, Carson City District, Stillwater Field Office will begin a wild horse gather on or about December 4, 2019, at the Desatoya Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) located approximately 77 miles east of Fallon, Nevada. The purpose of the gather is to prevent degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands.

The BLM plans to gather approximately 450 wild horses and remove 431 excess wild horses. Approximately 127 wild horses will remain in the Desatoya Mountains HMA, once gather operations are complete. The gather is expected to last approximately 14 days. The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method.

Desatoya HMA encompasses approximately 161,700 acres of public and private lands and has an Appropriate Management Level of 127-180 wild horses. A helicopter survey of the Desatoya HMA conducted in July 2019, documented 558 wild horses within and directly outside of the HMA.

The gather is part of a landscape multi-year habitat restoration and maintenance project, which was implemented in 2012, and is located on public lands in Churchill and Lander County, Nevada.  The HMA overlaps the Desatoya and Reese River sage grouse population management units and the Desatoya Wilderness Study Area. The Desatoya HMA consists of approximately 69% of the estimated 230,000 acres of the Habitat Resiliency, Health, and Restoration Project area.   

By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer. Removing excess animals would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse and burro gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.

All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center in Reno, Nevada where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program.  

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, as long as it does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff or observers and that it does not disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on or about December 4, 2019, weather and logistics permitting. Those who want to view gather operations are asked to call the Desatoya Gather Hotline to RSVP at (775) 885-6101 at least one day in advance to receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times. The hotline will be updated each day by 6:30 p.m.

The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-CO10-2011-0513-EA-Desatoya Herd Management Gather Plan Phase of The Desatoya Mountains Habitat Resiliency, Health, and Restoration Project signed in July 2012. Access the Decision Record and Environmental Assessment at

Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at For technical information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist John Axtell at (775) 885-6146 or  

For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.