BLM to conduct wild horse gather in eastern Nevada

ELKO, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Elko and Ely Districts will begin a wild horse gather on or about August 5, 2019 on the Antelope and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMA) located in eastern Nevada. In addition, gather operations will take place in areas outside the HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water, creating a public safety hazard. The BLM will conduct gather operations by using temporary water and bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water and hay; no helicopters will be used. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 1,250 excess wild horses, once gather operations are completed, approximately 1,544 wild horses will remain in the HMAs. The gather is expected to last approximately 60 days.

The purpose of this gather is to reduce the overpopulation of wild horses, in order to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size with what the land can support. The BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk. Removing excess animals would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.

As of March 1, 2019, the population of wild horses in the Antelope and Antelope Valley HMAs, was estimated at 2,794 – more than seven times above the target population of 187-361 wild horses. Additionally there are approximately 200 horses outside the HMA boundaries.  

As part of gather operations, approximately 50 wild horses will be gathered in the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope HMA continuing the 10-year Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program. This will provide the BLM the opportunity to determine the effectiveness of GonaCon-Equine on a small group of wild horses in a controlled environment with the possibility of expanded usage in future years, depending on the program’s results. Supporters of the project include the Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine County Commissions; and Nevada Department of Agriculture. Local resident and wild horse advocate Jeanne Nations is the Volunteer Project Coordinator.

The management level for the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope HMA is 30-35 wild horses. The management number is based on range conditions, water availability and acreage comparisons, as well as seasonal movement during the summer and drier winter months. The management objectives are to maintain a 50/50 ratio of studs to mares therefore the program’s goal is to gather all the horses in the area, remove excess wild horses stabilizing and maintaining a population of 30-35 wild horses within the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope HMA. All mares released will be retreated with the fertility-control vaccine GonaCon-Equine to reduce foaling rates and overall population growth.

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse 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. 

Because of the nature of the bait and water trap method, wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity; therefore, only essential gather operation personnel will be allowed at the trap site during operations.

All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corral, located in Fallon, Nev., where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.

The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-E030-2017-0010-EA Antelope and Triple B Complexes Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on December 21, 2017. Access the Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at ePlanning: Antelope and Triple B Complexes Gather Plan. The Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program Final Environmental Assessment, Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impacts is located at ePlanning: Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program

Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at 2019 Antelope and Antelope Valley Wild Horse Gather.

For More information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Bruce Thompson at (775) 753-0286 or b50thomp@blm.gov. For technical information on the Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Ben Noyes at (775) 289-1836 or bnoyes@blm.gov.


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.

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Bureau of Land Management

Office

Elko District Office

Contacts

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Greg Deimel
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