Recently gathered horses in a pen.

2015 Little Fish Lake Wild Horse Gather

Gather Complete
2/8/15 - 2/18/16

Purpose of Gather:Wild Horse and Burro Logo

BLM planned to gather wild horses threatened by lack of forage from within the HMA. 

Details of Gather:

The Bureau of Land Management’s Tonopah Field Office concluded the Little Fish Lake wild horse gather on February 10, successfully removing 140 excess wild horses from the Little Fish Lake Herd Management Area and releasing seven horses back into the HMA. 

BLM staff utilized the Henneke body condition scale to classify gathered wild horses. On a scale from one to nine the Little Fish Lake horses were generally a body condition score of 2 (very thin) to 3 (thin), with a few wild horses observed to be higher or lower. The studs that were released back into the HMA were a body condition of 4 or better. 

The original plan was to gather and ship 100 horses and release any gathered above that number back into the HMA after treating the mares with fertility control. After observing the condition of the horses in the gather corral it was determined they were not healthy enough to be released and the amount of forage available in the HMA would have led to further decline in their condition.

The gather was conducted by a contractor using a helicopter to locate and guide wild horses toward a set of corrals. The use of helicopters, authorized in the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, has been proven to be a safe, effective and practical means to gather wild horses. 

Public Observation: 

The BLM is committed to providing as much public access as possible, however, the Herd Management Area is rugged and remote and public safety is our first priority.  BLM staff will be available each day to escort the public into observation areas.  For the latest information call the local Hotline at 775-861-6700, option 3 for the latest information about observation opportunities.


In June of 2012, the BMD issued the Drought EA and associated Drought Detection and Monitoring Plan (DDMP), which addressed potential environmental impacts associated with livestock and wild horse and burro management actions carried out during drought within the BMD. The Drought EA established clearly defined drought indicators and Drought Response Triggers that when met or exceeded could prompt the implementation of one or a combination of management actions, or Drought Response Actions (DRAs). The Drought EA analyzed a range of management alternatives, or DRAs, that would be implemented to mitigate the effects of drought and to address emergency situations. 

Drought conditions in 2013 have resulted in insufficient amounts of forage to support the existing population of wild horses within the Little Fish Lake HMA. Upon review of drought monitoring data, the TFO has decided that wild horse capture and removal is the appropriate DRA for immediate protection of wild horses, rangeland, and wildlife resources. Prior to the conclusion that wild horse removal from the HMA was necessary; other DRAs were examined and deemed infeasible for this particular situation. 

The Little Fish Lake HMA borders the Little Fish Lake Wild Horse Territory (WHT) managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Future planning for the HMA and WHT would be comprised of a comprehensive, jointly developed Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP). The HMAP will consist of plans for habitat improvements, management for genetic health and stability, and a thriving natural ecological balance.

For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email

Gather Reports

Sunday, February 8

Summary: 31 horses gathered today. Body condition was 2-3 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Weather was partially cloudy with temperatures in the mid-low 40s.

Animals gathered: 31 (18 mares, 13 studs)
Animals shipped:  0
Total Deaths Today: 0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Monday, February 9

Summary: 85 horses gathered today. Body condition was a 3 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Weather was partially cloudy with temperatures in the low 50s.

Animals gathered: 85 (45 studs, 40 mares)
Animals shipped:  31 
Total Deaths Today: 0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Tuesday, February 10

Summary: 31 horses gathered today. Body condition was a 2 (very thin) to 3 (thin) on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Weather was sunny with temperatures in the mid 50s.

Animals gathered: 31 (14 studs, 17 mares)
Animals shipped:  74
Total Deaths Today: 0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0

Wednesday, February 11

Summary: 7 studs were released back into the HMA today. Only animals with good body condition (4 or better) were released. No mares were treated with fertility control and released due to low body condition and the feeling they would further decline given the condition of the HMA. Weather was 50 degrees and sunny.

Animals gathered: 0
Animals shipped:  35 (16 studs, 11 mares, 8 yearlings) 
Total Deaths Today: 0
Acute: 0
Chronic/Pre-existing: 0


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 pen for adoption.

Horses gathered during the operation will be available for adoption from the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Ridgecrest, California. 

Cumulative Totals

Animals Gathered

Animals Returned to Home Range

Animal Deaths

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


Official gather documents can be accessed on ePlanning

Information Materials: