Bureau of Land Management to begin the FY2024 Blue Wing Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Humboldt Field Office

Media Contact:

Lovelock, Nev. – On or about July 08, 2024, the Bureau of Land Management plans to begin a wild horse and burro gather on and around the Blue Wing Complex (Complex) located near Lovelock, Nev., using the helicopter-assisted method.

The Complex has four Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and five Herd Areas (HAs) which encompasses over 2,283,300 acres of public and private lands and has an Appropriate Management Level of 333-555 wild horses and 55-90 burros. Based on a helicopter survey conducted in May 2023, approximately 1,912 wild horses and 476 burros are residing within and directly outside the Blue Wing Complex – nearly 3-times above the high end of the established management level.

The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 1,373 excess wild horses and 356 excess wild burros.

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. The action is also necessary to reduce overpopulation of wild horses and burros within and outside the area, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses and burros in the region, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by balancing herd size.

We conduct gathers like this to maintain a thriving ecological balance.” said John Mitchell, Humboldt River Field Manager. “As always, we are committed to the safety of our staff, public, and wild horses and burros.”

By balancing 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 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 horses identified for removal and 77 burros will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corrals, located in Fallon, Nev., the remaining burros will be transported to Axtell Off-Range Corrals in Axtell, Utah. 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 RSVP by calling nightly at (775) 623-1567 before 5PM PST to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time.

The gather is being conducted under the DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2015-0034-EA Blue Wing Wild Horse and Burro Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on 10//23/2017.  The decision record can be accessed at the national NEPA register at URL https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/66599/510  

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-winnemucca-do/2024-blue. For technical information contact the Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, Garrett Swisher, at (775) 623-1500.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit

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.