BLM Plans South Steens Wild Horse Gather


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Burns District Office

Media Contact:

Tara Thissell

HINES, Ore. – Today the Bureau of Land Management announced plans to gather wild horses within and immediately adjacent to the Souths Steens Herd Management Area. The helicopter gather will begin around September 10, and BLM officials expect to remove approximately 450 excess wild horses.

The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives BLM the direction for protecting and overseeing wild horses and burros on public lands. In managing these animals, the BLM works to maintain a thriving ecological balance that supports healthy horses on healthy rangelands. The South Steens HMA can sustainably support 159 to 304 horses, while allowing for other animals and resource uses. The current population estimate is 1,148 adults and 222 foals.

“This gather is a critical part of our effort to promote animal welfare on the range,” said Jeff Rose, BLM Burns District Manager. “It’s especially important this year with declining water availability.”

The gather will also reduce degradation of public lands by the over-sized herd. Animals gathered from the range will be transported to Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines. At the corral, about 50 horses will be selected for return to the range, up to 25 of which will be mares treated with Zonastat-H contraceptive. The remaining horses will be prepared for adoption or sale into private care.

The South Steens HMA is about 70 miles southwest of Burns and 10 miles south of Frenchglen along Highway 205 and the Steens Mountain south loop road.

The public is welcome to observe the gather. Details on viewing opportunities are available here: Supporting National Environmental Policy Act documents for this gather are available at this same location.

The gather is expected to last approximately ten days, though exact start and end dates will be determined by the contractor’s availability. For more information, contact Tara Thissell at or (541) 573- 4519.

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.