BLM to conduct emergency wild horse gather of Sand Wash Basin wild horses


Northwest DO

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CRAIG, Colo. – To protect the health of wild horses and rangelands, the Bureau of Land Management will begin an emergency wild horse gather Sep. 1 of excess wild horses from the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area (HMA) about 45 miles west of Craig in Moffat County. The BLM plans to gather approximately 783 wild horses and return about 50 wild horses back onto the HMA after treating 25 mares with fertility control.

This emergency gather prevents impacts to wild horses and the environment due to exceptional drought and lack of forage. There are an estimated 896 wild horses in and around the Sand Wash Basin HMA – approximately 746 wild horses within the HMA and 150 excess wild horses outside the HMA.

The BLM is committed to maintaining a healthy wild horse herd on healthy public lands,” said Little Snake Field Office Manager Bruce Sillitoe. “This emergency gather will prevent further deteriorating body condition of the wild horses into the winter due to limited forage resources.

The gather will also allow the BLM to proactively implement population growth suppression, maintain population size within the Appropriate Management Level of 163-362 wild horses, and reduce the number of wild horses that need to be removed from this HMA in the long term to sustain a healthy population and a thriving natural ecological balance.

The BLM will conduct gather operations using drive trapping which has been proven effective and humane. The gather is expected to last approximately 14-25 days. Gathered horses will be transported to the BLM facility in Canon City for adoption or sale.

When possible, the media and public will be allowed to observe the gather when safety requirements have been fulfilled and without negatively impacting the agency’s ability to gather wild horses. The BLM has established the Sand Wash Basin HMA Gather Info Line at (970) 673-7768 for an update on the next day’s gather activities, meeting times, and location. You must call ahead by 8 p.m. Mountain Time the previous day to let us know of your planned attendance.  

For information about the Sand Wash Basin HMA Gather, visit: For more information on BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, 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.