The BLM to gather Onaqui wild horses to help address wild horse overpopulation and exceptional drought conditions in Tooele and Juab counties
Tooele, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Salt Lake Field Office will soon begin gather operations to address wild horse overpopulation from within and outside of the Onaqui Herd Management Area, including horses on Dugway Proving Grounds, in Tooele and Juab counties. The gather is scheduled to begin on July 11, 2021 and is expected to last up to 12 days.
The BLM will gather wild horses from state, private, U.S. Forest Service, military, and BLM lands. Some horses will be removed and some will be returned to the herd management area. All returned mares will be treated with a fertility control vaccine to help stabilize manage population increases. The appropriate management level – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – for the Onaqui Herd Management Area is 121 to 210 horses, and the current population is more than 475 (not including the current year’s foals).
The gather is necessary to address several issues in the herd management area, which is currently experiencing exceptional drought conditions. Due to these drought conditions the horses have declined in body condition over the last year due to a lack of forage. This gather will allow BLM to proactively implement population growth suppression (which is already occurring on the herd management area through remote darting) to slow population growth, maintain population size within appropriate management level, and reduce the overpopulation of wild horses which need to be removed from this herd management area in the long term.
The gather is anticipated to start on Sunday July 11, 2021 within Dugway Proving Grounds Military Base. This day of the gather will be closed to the public due to military travel restrictions. The start of gathering on public lands within the Onaqui Herd Management Area and associated viewing opportunities will begin on Monday July 12. Those interested in observing should meet at the northeast end of the Walmart parking lot located at 99 West 1280 North in Tooele, Utah, where tours will depart at 5:30 a.m. MDT.
Access to and distance from the capture site location will be determined jointly by the Contractor and the BLM's Contracting Officer's Representative prior to gather operations. Safety of the horses, crew, and public is our top priority.
The horses to be released back to the herd management area will be released at the gather site, or shipped to Sutherland, Utah Off-Range Contract Facility. The Sutherland facility is not an open public facility; thus, no public observation will be allowed at that location. The adoptable and/or sale horses will be shipped to the Delta, Utah Wild Horse & Burro Facility. Once the horses have had time to acclimate, the Delta facility will be opened to the public for viewing. Horses removed from the Onaqui gather will be available for adoption via the BLM Online Corral Adoption beginning in mid-October.
For more information and to find the progress of the gather and/or whether or not a viewing opportunity exists each day, first check our social media sites and the gather webpage: www.blm.gov/utah. Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages for updates. You may also call the Utah Wild Horse & Burro hotline at 801-539-4050 or email at BLM_UT_WHB@blm.gov.
The supporting planning documents for the Onaqui Herd Management Area gather are available on the BLM’s ePlanning web site.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.