UPDATE: The gather has concluded. We will update the Post Gather Updates page with information about the release of certain horses from the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area gather back to the range when we have more details. We invite and encourage the public to consider adopting a wild horse. The Onaqui Mountain wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Online Corral Adoption on October 12-19, 2021.
The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives BLM the direction for protecting and overseeing wild horses and burros on public lands. In managing these animals, the BLM works to maintain a thriving ecological balance that supports healthy horses on healthy rangelands. Heavy to severe wild horse grazing (especially during drought conditions) jeopardizes the health of rangelands, wetlands, wildlife habitats, and ultimately animal health and body condition.
The Appropriate Management Level – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – for the Onaqui Herd Management Area is 121-210 horses and the current population is over 475 (not including the current years foals).
Details of Gather
Helicopter drive-trapping operations began on July 13 and concluded on July 18, 2021. Approximately 296 excess wild horses will be removed. The gather is necessary to address several issues in the HMA. The HMA is currently experiencing exceptional drought conditions. Due to these drought conditions the horses have declined in body condition over the last year due to a lack of forage. This gather will allow BLM to aggressively implement population growth suppression (which is already occurring on the HMA through remote darting) to slow population growth, maintain population size within AML, and to reduce the number of excess wild horses that need to be removed from this HMA in the long term.
Most of the adoptable horses will be shipped to the Delta, Utah Wild Horse & Burro Facility. Most of those horses that are to be released back to the HMA will be shipped to Sutherland, Utah Off-Range Contract Facility. The Delta facility is currently closed to the public. Once the horses have settled down and had time to acclimate, the Delta facility will be opened to the public for viewing, adoption and/or sale. The Sutherland facility is not an open public facility; thus, no public observation will be authorized at that location.
Gather operations concluded on July 18, 2021.
Every effort will be made to accommodate everyone interested. Some days of the gather may not provide a viewing opportunity due to variable circumstances such as moving the trap location (not gathering), no safe area to view activity or disguise vehicles, rainy or windy conditions (not gathering), poor vehicle access, etc.
Notice on the days where no viewing opportunity exists will likely be given on short notice – perhaps the evening before or the morning of the gather operation. Due to the high interest, BLM will make every effort to provide the viewing opportunities as possible. The number of public/vehicles that attend each day will determine the best observation location.
Access to and distance from the capture site location will be determined jointly by the Contractor and the BLM's Contracting Officer's Representative prior to gather operations. Safety of the horses, crew and public, is our top priority.
The Onaqui Mountain wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Online Corral Adoption on October 12-19, 2021. It takes approximately one week for animals to be awarded and scheduled for pickup. It may be late-October before the horses are available at the Delta facility on a first come, first served basis.
For more information about adopting online, visit the How To Adopt Or Purchase A Wild Horse on our website. Prospective adopters or purchasers should follow the steps to complete an application and submit it online.
To find out more about the release of certain horses back to the range and the pending adoption event in mid-October, first check our Social Media sites. Go to our Facebook or Twitter pages—you do not need to have an account on these sites to view the content. You may also call the Utah Wild Horse & Burro hotline at 801-539-4050 or email at BLM_UT_WHB@blm.gov.
The supporting planning documents for the Onaqui HMA gather are available on the BLM’s ePlanning web site.