Bureau of Land Management concludes the FY2021 Stone Cabin Emergency Wild Horse Gather


Bureau Of Land Management

BLM Office:

Tonopah Field Office

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Battle Mountain, Nev. – On Oct. 26, 2021, the Bureau of Land Management Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office concluded the 2021 Stone Cabin Herd Management Area (HMA) emergency wild horse gather.  The BLM gathered and removed 314 wild horses from areas within and outside of the HMA located in Nye County.  The action was necessary due to lack of water, and declining health of the wild horses. Gather operations were conducted using the water and bait trap method.

The purpose of the gather was to humanely and safely gather drought impacted and compromised wild horses within the Stone Cabin HMA. Monitoring of the Stone Cabin HMA during spring and summer 2021 revealed limited availability to water and forage. Due to the exceptional drought, little to no forage grew this year in Stone Cabin Valley. The gather was critical to ensuring the future health of the HMA lands as well as the wild horses in the area, both of which are in jeopardy due to herd overpopulation, limited water and extremely limited forage.

The declining range conditions coupled with overpopulation have led to decline in body condition scores (BCS) of the wild horse population. The average body condition of the horses in the HMA is a BCS of 3.0 (Thin), and many horses are BCS of 2.0 (Very Thin), with some horses observed as a BCS 1 (Emaciated). Several springs are available to sustain minimal water needs, but with no forage, the condition of the horses is expected to continue to decline and lead to widespread suffering and death through the remaining summer months. 

Through removal of excess wild horses, the BLM aims to support recovery from exceptional drought conditions and return of perennial key grasses once normal precipitation patterns return which will ensure future herd health and fitness. Livestock grazing permittees have already removed livestock due to the absence of forage and exceptional drought conditions. The BLM will continue to monitor resource conditions.

“By conducting this gather, the BLM was able to reduce the risk of starvation and dehydration for the wild horses in the area while making progress toward achieving a thriving natural ecological balance on public lands,” said Doug Furtado, Battle Mountain District Manager.

The BLM transported wild horses removed from the range to the Sutherland Off Range Corrals in Sutherland, Utah, to be readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. Wild horses not adopted or sold 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.

For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
Additional information about this gather can be found on the “2021 Stone Cabin HMA Emergency Wild Horse Gather” posted on the BLM website at https://go.usa.gov/xFvEU.

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.