2019 Pine Nut Mountains Wild Horse Gather
The Pine Nut Mountain HMA wild horse gather concluded in October 2019
The first phase of the Pine Nut Mountains Wild Horse Gather started on Thursday, February 7, 2019. Because of weather conditions, the gather was suspended on February 20, 2019, after gathering 340 excess wild horses. The second phase began July 29, 2019.
Purpose of Gather:
The purpose of the gather operation is to prevent further degradation of the public lands associated with over-grazing by an overpopulation of wild horses. As of June 20, 2019, the BLM estimated approximately 228 wild horses roamed the Pine Nut Mountains HMA..
Details of Gather:
The BLM Carson City District's Sierra Front Field Office plans to gather approximately 148 wild horses and remove approximately 109 wild horses from within and outside the Pine Nut Mountains Herd Management Area beginning July 29, 2019. The animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Reno, Neveda.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to view gather operations, provided that it does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff, or observers, and does not disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on or about July 29, 2019, weather and logistics permitting. Those who want to view gather operations are asked to call the Pine Nut Gather Hotline at (775) 885-6101 at least one day in advance to receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times. The hotline will be updated each day by 7:00 p.m.
Animals gathered will be made available for adoption at Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center in Reno through the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Those that are not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their "wild" status and protection under 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Pine Nut Mountains HMA is between 118-179 animals. Current population estimates as of June 20, 2019, are 228 wild horses.
The last gather of the Pine Nut Mountains HMA occurred in February 2019. The most recent inventory was conducted June 20, 2019. During this inventory, 228 wild horses were observed in the Pine Nut Mountains. Horses outside of the HMA were included in this calculation as horses can move between the HMA and areas outside of the HMA.
A portion of the Pine Nut Mountains HMA contains habitat for the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Greater sage-grouse (sage-grouse). The DPS was proposed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the Federal Register on October 28, 2013. On April 23, 2015 the USFWS withdrew the proposed listing due, in part, to commitments by multiple Federal and state agencies to continue conservation measurements outlined in the Bi-State Action Plan for Conservation of the Greater Sage-grouse Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (Bi-State Action Plan). The sage-grouse is currently considered a Nevada Species of Special Concern. Portions of the HMA include formerly proposed critical habitat for the sage-grouse. The Bi-State Action Plan identifies this area as a priority area for maintaining wild horse numbers at AML and within designated herd boundaries to minimize the risk of excessive use levels to upland and riparian areas, and range expansion thus further impacting sage-grouse habitat.