The Bureau of Land Management will begin the Antelope Valley HMA emergency wild horse gather

On or around July 25-27, 2020, the Bureau of Land Management, Elko District Office, Wells Field Office, will begin an emergency wild horse gather on the Antelope Valley Herd Management Area (HMA) located about 55 miles southeast of Wells, NV in Elko County Nevada. The action is needed due to lack of water, forage, and declining health of the wild horses associated with herd overpopulation. 

The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 50 wild horses from areas around the Deer Springs water source located within the Antelope Valley HMA. The gather is expected to last 60 days. The BLM will conduct gather operations utilizing temporary water and/or bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water and hay; no helicopters will be used.

The Antelope Valley HMA encompasses over 463,540 acres of public and private lands. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Antelope Valley HMA is 155-259. As of March 1, 2020, the estimated population was 953 wild horses, which does not include additional foals born this year. The current population estimate, including the 2020 foal crop, puts the HMA at approximately 1,144 wild horse or 442 percent over the high end of AML.

The gather is critical to ensuring the health of the HMA lands as well as the wild horses in the area, both of which are in jeopardy due to herd overpopulation and extremely limited water sources.  The emergency gather will also help prevent further degradation of the public lands, associated with excess wild horses, and help make progress toward restoring 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 BLM is committed to conducting safe and humane emergency gather operations as we work to save animal lives by reducing overpopulation and bringing herd size more in line with what the resources of the area can support,” said Gerald Dixon, Elko District Manager.

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 will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.

Due to the nature of the bait and water trap method, wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity; therefore, only essential gather operations personnel will be allowed at the trap site during gather operations.

All wild horses identified for removal will be transported to the Bruneau Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, located in Bruneau, Idaho, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit

Once the gather begins, gather reports and additional information for the “2020 Antelope Valley Emergency Wild Horse Gather” will be posted on the BLM website at For technical information, contact Bruce Thompson, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at (775) 753-0286 or

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Wells Field Office


Jenny Lesieutre