2022 Buffalo Hills 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 Horses Act.
By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the Black Rock Field Office aims to implement a maintenance gather to apply fertility control to released mares with minimal removal to achieve low end of Animal Management Level (AML) for the Buffalo Hills Complex (complex). 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 gather began July 1, 2022 and will be conducted by the helicopter assist method. The agency plans to gather 383, remove approximately 353 excess wild horses and treat up to 30 Mares with Gona Con Equine. ***If you would like to view the release of the mares, please RSVP to email@example.com for the meeting location and time.
The horses will be transported to Palomino Valley Center, Off Range Corrals, in Reno, NV. Once animals arrive at the holding facilities, they will be checked by a veterinarian and prepared for the BLM’s adoption and sale program or long-term pastures or sanctuaries.
To keep the public informed and allow reasonable access to gather operations, agency staff plan to schedule daily public visitation opportunities to view the gather operations.
A Public Affairs Officer and Law Enforcement Officer will meet the observers each morning at the pre-determined meeting location, to escort the group to the gather and/or holding sites. Agency staff will escort all media and/or visitors to and from the gather site each day. The “What to Know before You Go” information and “Visitation Protocol and Ground Rules” are provided in the links to the right.
All media and/or observers wanting to go to the gather site will be directed to call the “Buffalo Hills Complex Wild Horse Gather information hotline” at 775-861-6700 for daily meeting times and locations.
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 that either escaped or were released into the area, and horses that were raised for the cavalry remount program. The majority of horses exhibit a bay, brown or sorrel color pattern.
The agency last conducted a gather of wild horses from the complex in 2020; at that time, the agency removed 63 excess wild horses, and 176 excess wild burros. This current gather is classified as a selective removal targeting 353 excess wild horses for removal to achieve AML. gather includes helicopter-assist gather, and transportation of wild horses from trap sites to a central temporary holding facility. The complex current estimated population is 541 wild horses.
Location: The Buffalo Hills Herd Management Area (HMA) is located in central Washoe County, approximately 70 miles north of Reno, Nevada.
Size: The area consists of 125,207 acres of BLM land and 6,654 acres of a mix of private and other public lands for a total of 131,861 acres.
Topography/Vegetation: The terrain in the area consists of a circular shaped basaltic plateau dominated by large rugged rocky canyons. Elevations within the HMA range from 3,823 feet along the Smoke Creek Desert to 6,832 at Poodle 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 12 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 include shadscale, budsage, winterfat, black greasewood, indian rice grass, squirrel tail and Sandbergs bluegrass. Species typical of the sagebrush/grass communities include low sage, Wyoming and mountain big sagebrush, bitterbrush, rabbit brush, Utah juniper, needlegrasses, basin wild rye, squirrel tail, indian paintbrush 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, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, chukar partridge, coyote, and various rodents.
This gather began July 1.
Animals Gathered: 380
380 Wild Horses (147 Stallions, 184 Mares, and 49 Foals)
Animals Shipped: 369
369 Wild Horses (141 Stallions, 180 Mares, and 48 Foals)
Animals Treated with Fertility Control: 0
0 Wild Horses (0 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
GonaCon: 0 (0 Mares)
1 Wild Horse (0 Stallions, 1 Mare, and 0 Foals)
-Sudden / Acute: 2
-Pre-existing / Chronic: 8
Scroll to the bottom of this gather page for detailed “Daily Gather Reports"