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Horse standing on burned landscape

2015 SODA FIRE EMERGENCY WILD HORSE GATHER

Gather Complete
8/27/15 - 9/04/15

Purpose of Gather:Wild Horse and Burro Logo

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Owyhee Field Office conducted an emergency wild horse gather within the Sands Basin, Hardtrigger and Black Mountain herd management areas (HMAs) as a means to maintain the health of the herds and protect rangelands, which were impacted by the 2015 Soda Fire.

Details of Gather:

On August 27, BLM began helicopter gather operations to gather and remove all horses within the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger HMAs to ensure health and safety of the horses during the upcoming winter months. A total of 65 horses were removed from Black Mountain HMA, leaving approximately 30 on the range to achieve the low appropriate management level for the Black Mountain HMA.  

Public Observation: 
 
As this is an emergency gather of horses that have already been stressed by fire suppression activities and lack of available forage, it is critical that trap sites are arranged as close to the horses as possible. As the area is scorched, there are not many options to situate/hide members of the public to safely view the gather operations without causing additional stress to the horses. 

A public observation day took place Thursday, August 27. 

Additionally, beginning on August 31, BLM hosted public tours to observe the horses at the Boise Wild Horse Corrals 1:00-2:00 p.m. each weekday. 

Directions to the Corrals:

From I-84, exit on Orchard Street (Exit 52) and go south for approximately 1.7 miles, which turns into West Gowen Road. Continue for 0.5 mile. Turn right (south) on Pleasant Valley Road and go approximately 4 miles. Turn right at the “Wild Horse Corrals.”

Find information on the gather on @BLMWHB and @BLMIdaho Twitter with hashtag #SodaFireGather. View photos from the gather on Flickr and videos on YouTube

Background:

The Soda Fire swept across 285,000 acres of land in southwestern Idaho, including 100% of the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger Wild Horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and a third of the Black Mountain HMA.

The horses from these HMAs have been observed by BLM staff on unburned islands of vegetation within the burned areas and supplemental feeding of the horses commenced on August 14. Due to the condition of the horses and the lack of forage to sustain them for any great period of time, an emergency gather was conducted.

Gather Reports

Thursday, August 27

Summary: 1 stud, 8 mares and 4 foals were gathered today from Sands Basin HMA and transported to the BLM Boise Wild Horse Corrals. All horses are doing well. Operations will continue tomorrow at the same trap site. 

Animals gathered:  13
Animals shipped:  13
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Friday, August 28

Summary: No horses were gathered today from Sands Basin HMA this morning. Operations resumed at the Hardtrigger HMA in the afternoon where 22 horses were captured. They are enroute to the BLM Boise Wild Horse Corrals.

Animals gathered:  22 (10 studs, 1 gelding, 9 mares, 1 mare/foal pair)
Animals shipped:  22
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Saturday, August 29

Summary: 31 horses were gathered today in the Hardtrigger HMA. One horse was euthanized in the field due to injuries sustained in the Soda Fire and another horse died at the BLM Boise Wild Horse Corrals after running into the panels.

Animals gathered:  31 (8 studs, 9 mares, 7 mare/foal pairs)
Animals shipped:  31
Total Deaths Today:  1
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 1

Sunday, August 30

Summary: There were 30 horses captured in the Hardtrigger Herd Management Area today. The trap was broken down and moved further south within the HMA where operations will resume on Monday. Of the 30 horses, several had visible burn injuries that had begun to heal. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

Animals gathered:  30 (17 studs, 1 mare, 6 mare/foal pairs) 
Animals shipped:  30
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Monday, August 31

Summary: 79 horses gathered from the southern end of the Hardtrigger Herd Management Area today. There were several minor to moderate burn injuries assessed on this group of horses as well. None of these injuries are life threatening. Operations will resume in the same location on Tuesday morning. 

Animals gathered:  79 (27 studs, 16 mares, 18 mare/foal pairs) 
Animals shipped:  79
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Tuesday, September 1

Summary: 11 horses were gathered today in the Hardtrigger Herd Management Area. Operations have now concluded in the Hardtrigger HMA and will resume in the Black Mountain HMA in the morning.  One horse was enthanized in the field due to severe burn injuries sustained in the Soda Fire.

Animals gathered:  11 (5 studs, 2 mares, 2 mares/foal pairs)
Animals shipped:  11
Total Deaths Today:  1
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 1

Wednesday, September 2

Summary: 64 wild horses were gathered from the Black Mountain Herd Management Area today. The trap was moved to a different location within the Black Mountain HMA to capture another group of horses. A September 1 census flight counted 97 horses instead of the anticipated 80, so the goal is to gather 82 and return 15 to reach the low Appropriate Management Level of 30.

Animals gathered:  64 (25 studs, 5 mares and 17 mare/foal pairs) 
Animals shipped:  64
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Thursday, September 3

Summary: Operations wrapped up in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) after capturing 14 horses today. This leaves 19 on the HMA; A group of horses including 4 mares which were treated with the fertility control vaccine Porcine Zona Pellucida will be returned to the Black Mountain HMA to reach the low Appropriate Management Level of 30. The trap was moved to a different location within the Sands Basin HMA, where operations will resume on Friday, September 4. 

Animals gathered:  14 (6 studs, 2 mares, 3 mare/foal pairs)
Animals shipped:  14
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Friday, September 4

Summary: The Soda Fire Emergency Wild Horse Gather operation wrapped up today after gathering 15 more horses in the Sands Basin Herd Management Area (HMA). It is likely the remaining horses (approximately 42) in Sands Basin will be caught using a water/hay bait trap method within the next several weeks. A total of 279 horses were gathered during this operation. Additionally, a group of Black Mountain HMA wild horses were returned to the HMA this afternoon; four of the horses were mares which were treated with the fertility control vaccine Porcine Zona Pellucida. 

Animals gathered:  15
Animals shipped:  15 (8 studs, 1 mare, 3 mare/foal pairs)
Total Deaths Today:  0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

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A death labeled as "acute" is when an animal dies or is euthanized due to acute injuries or medical conditions brought about by the gather and removal process including those that occur during capture, sorting and holding at the gather site. This term will include animals that die for known or unknown reasons thought to be related to gather activities. 

A death labeled as "chronic/pre-existing" is when an animal dies or is euthanized for reasons related to chronic or pre-existing conditions such as body condition, lameness, serious physical defects, etc. This term will include animals that are euthanized for conditions not brought about by the gather activity.

Veterinary Reports

There are no veterinarian reports to display at this time. 

Adoption Information

Horses in a corral.

Wild horses not returned to the range after recovery entered BLM’s Adoption Program or the Mustang Heritage Foundation's Trainer Incentive or Extreme Mustang Makeover programs. 

For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

Cumulative Totals

Animals Gathered
279

Animals Returned to Home Range
10

Animal Deaths
3

*Includes non-gather related deaths. See details in "Gather Reports"

DOWNLOADS

Know Before You Go (62.88 KB)

Hardtrigger and Black Mountain Map (634.43 KB)

Sands Basin Map (273.72 KB)

Soda Fire Burn Map (6.54 MB)