2022 Blue Wing Complex Wild Horse and Burro Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, to restore 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 Horses Act. By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the HRFO aims to implement a maintenance gather to apply fertility control to released mares with minimal removal to achieve low end of AML for the HMAs. This gather also address resources issues related to drought and past fire damage and protect Habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope and mule deer. Removing excess animals will enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health.
Details of Gather:
The Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office (HRFO), on August 1, 2022, began the gather and removal of approximately 200 excess wild horses and 800 excess wild burros from lands in and around the Blue Wing Complex.
Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff, contractors and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The Humboldt River Field Office staff will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.
The gather staff anticipates that viewing opportunities will be limited due to logistics regarding private land, terrain, and weather. Pending the location of the trap sites, viewing opportunities are subject to change. If the traps are located on privately property, public observation will not be offered. If the traps are on public lands, public observation will be offered daily. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the gather hotline the night before you wish to observe gather operations no later than 5:30 p.m. at (775) 861-6700 to RSVP. It is strongly advised to RSVP due to potential last minute trap site moves.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
Horses within the HMA are descendants of ranch horses and horses that either escaped or were released into the area. The majority of horses exhibit a bay, brown or sorrel color pattern. Burros within the HMA are the descendants of pack animals used by miners and sheep ranchers. The majority of the burros exhibit a gray color pattern, however pinto burros are also found in the area. It is not possible to provide any specific information on parentage of any wild horse found within the area.
Location: The Blue Wing Complex is located in western Pershing County, approximately 65 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada.
Size: The Blue Wing Complex gather area is approximately 2,283,000 acres.
Topography/Vegetation: The terrain in the area consists of north-south trending mountains separated by broad valleys. Elevations within the HMA range from 4,000 feet along the valley floor to 6,592 feet on Black Mountain. Climate is characterized by warm dry days, cool nights and low yearly precipitation that ranges from 4 to 6 inches at lower elevations to approximately 8 inches at higher elevations. Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub communities at lower elevations to big sagebrush/grass communities at upper elevations. Typical species in the salt desert shrub community includes shadscale, budsage, winterfat, black greasewood, Indian rice grass, squirrel tail and desert needlegrass. Species typical of the sagebrush/grass communities include low sage, Wyoming sagebrush, desert peach, rabbit brush, needlegrass, basin wild rye, squirrel tail, Indian paintbrush and phlox.
Wildlife: The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. Typical wildlife species found in the area include mule deer, pronghorn antelope, chukar partridge, coyote, and various rodents.
Gather concluded August 12
Animals Gathered: 1022
218 Wild Horses (86 Stallions,107 Mares, and 25 Foals)
804 Wild Burros (336 Jacks, 406 Jennies, and 62 Foals)
Animals Shipped: 1008
214 Wild Horses (86 Stallions, 106 Mares, and 22 Foals)
794 Wild Burros (329 Jacks, 403 Jennies, and 62 Foals)
-Sudden / Acute: 2
-Pre-existing / Chronic: 12
Scroll to the bottom of this gather page for detailed “Daily Gather Reports"