Bureau of Land Management to begin the FY2023 Desatoya Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Stillwater Field Office

Media Contact:

CARSON CITY, Nev. – On or about September 25, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management plans to begin a wild horse gather on and around the Desatoya Herd Management Area located approximately 60 miles east of Fallon in Churchill and Lander Counties, Nevada. The BLM will use the helicopter-assisted method.

The Desatoya Herd Management Areas encompasses 161,678 acres of public and private lands (157,836 acres of which are public) and has an Appropriate Management Level of 127-180 wild horses. Based on the March 2023, helicopter survey it is estimated there are approximately 152 wild horses within and directly outside the management area. This number does not include the 2023 foal crop.

The BLM plans to gather approximately 122 wild horses, remove approximately 24 excess wild horses, and treat up to 49 mares with GonaCon Equine, a population suppression fertility control vaccine. The mares vaccinated will be released back to the range along with up to 49 stallions.

The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

“We conduct gathers like this to maintain the current population of wild horses within the appropriate management level,” said Kim Dow, Carson City District Manager. “Consistent applications of fertility control such as GonaCon is one tool used to obtain this goal of a healthy population.”

By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for native wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk. Removing excess wild horses and burros supports significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front-Northern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse and burro gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors are committed to using the best available science and handling practices for wild horses and burros while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program.

All animals identified for removal will be transported to the Palamino Valley Off-Range Corrals, located in Reno, Nev. Upon arrival to the facility, all animals will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sales Program

Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the Desatoya Wild Horse Gather information hotline nightly no later than 5:00 p.m. at (775) 885-6101 to RSVP. The meeting time and location will be available by calling the hotline. If no RSVPs are received by 5:00 p.m., no public viewing will be available the following day.

The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM- C010-2021-0004-EA Desatoya Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed in February 2021. Access the Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at https://bit.ly/3rA0Gmk.

Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada under the 2023 Desatoya HMA Wild Horse Gather page. For technical information, contact John Axtell, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at jaxtell@blm.gov.

For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.


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.