BLM Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather Concludes


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Nevada State Office

Media Contact:

Terah Malsam

Reno, Nev. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), concluded a wild horse helicopter gather on the Owyhee Complex in Northern Nevada on Sunday, December 4th. The BLM gathered 1,832 wild horses across three Herd Management Areas (HMA) and outside in non-HMA locations near the complex.  A total of 402 horses, both mares and studs, were released back onto the range. All mares identified for release, a total of 199, were treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the remaining population within the HMAs. PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years. 

“This gather was a management action necessary to lessen the impacts of the overpopulation of wild horses in the Owyhee Complex within important Greater Sage Grouse habitat” said Alan Shepherd, BLM Nevada Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager. “These types of actions are in conformance with the 2015 Nevada and Northeastern California Greater Sage Grouse Sub-regional Plan Amendment.”

The purpose of the gather was to remove excess wild horses in order to prevent further deterioration of Greater Sage grouse habitat within the Sagebrush Focal Area (SFA) in northern Elko and Humboldt Counties. Overpopulation of wild horses leads to the degradation of rangeland resources, which adversely impacts habitat for other species as well as the horses themselves. The Owyhee Complex is located in both the Elko and Winnemucca Districts and encompasses the Owyhee, Little Owyhee, Rock Creek, Snowstorm Mountains, and Little Humboldt HMAs. The gather took place within the Owyhee, Little Owyhee, and Rock Creek HMAs which contains the majority of the SFA area within Nevada. The total gather area was comprised of 1,120,763 acres of both private and public lands. For detailed information on the entire gather operation, visit the 2016 Owyhee Wild Horse Gather website.

All the horses identified for removal were transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center north of Reno, NV where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Horses not adopted will be placed in off-range pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter. For information on how to adopt a wild horse, visit the BLM Wild Horse & Burro adoption website.

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.