2022 Calico Complex Wild Horse 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 Burros Act. The action is also necessary to reduce overpopulation of wild horses within and outside the HMAs, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size.
By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the Black Rock Field Office aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer. Removing excess wild horses would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front Northwest Resource Advisory Council.
Details of Gather:
The complex includes Black Rock Range, Calico Mountains, Granite Range McGee Mountain and Warm Springs Herd Management Areas (HMAs) which encompasses over 584,101 acres and has an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 572 – 952 wild horses. A helicopter survey conducted in May 2022, documented approximately 1,593 wild horses within and directly outside of the Complex – nearly 2-times above the high end of the established AML. The BLM plans to gather 1,076 by helicopter-assisted method and remove approximately 1,036 wild horses. Approximately 40 mares will be treated with fertility control.
All animals identified for removal will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corrals, located in Fallon, Nevada. Upon arrival to the facility, all animals will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program.
Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
Horses within the complex are descendants of ranch horses that either escaped or were released into the area. The majority of horses exhibit a bay, brown or sorrel color pattern, however there are a number of paint, palomino and buckskin horses as well. It is not possible to provide any specific information on parentage of wild horses in this area.
The BLM last conducted a gather of wild horses from the Calico Complex in January 2012; at that time, the BLM removed 960 excess wild horses. This current gather is classified as a selective removal.
Location: The Calico Complex is located in northwest Humboldt County and approximately 110 miles north of Reno, Nevada.
Topography/Vegetation: The terrain consists of steep north-south trending mountains made up of volcanic materials, separated by narrow valleys. Elevations within the HMA range from 4,000 feet along the Black Rock Desert to 8,491 feet at Division Peak. Climate is characterized by warm dry days, cool nights and low yearly precipitation that ranges from 6 to 8 inches at lower elevations to approximately 14 inches at higher elevations.
Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub communities along the Black Rock Desert, to low and big sagebrush/grass communities with intermingled mountain browse at upper elevations. Typical species in the salt desert shrub community include shadscale, budsage, bailey and black greasewood, indian ricegrass, and squirrel tail. Species in the low sagebrush community include low sage, needle grasses, squirrel tail and Sandbergs bluegrass. Species typical of the sagebrush/grass and mountain browse communities include mountain big sagebrush, bitterbrush, mountain mahogany, aspen, snowberry, rabbit brush, horse brush, needle grasses, basin wild rye, squirrel tail, indian paintbrush, arrowleaf balsamroot, and phlox.
Wildlife: The area is also utilized by domestic livestock during part of the year and numerous wildlife species. Typical wildlife species found in the area include mule deer, California bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, chukar partridge, coyote, bobcats, and various rodents.
As of 10/1/2022
Animals Gathered: 863 (330 Stallions, 400 Mares, and 133 Foals)
Animals Shipped: 837 (329 Stallions, 376 Mares, and 132 Foals)
Animals Treated with Fertility Control: 0
0 Wild Horses (0 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
GonaCon: 0 (0 Mares)
0 Wild Horses (0 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
-Sudden / Acute: 0
-Pre-existing / Chronic: 26
Scroll to the bottom of this gather page for detailed “Daily Gather Reports"