2023 Calico Complex Wild Horse Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The purpose of the gather is to maintain the appropriate management level for the Calico Complex HMAs, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Horses Act. The Complex is comprised of 4 herd management areas which are the Calico Mountains, Black Rock, Granite Range and the Warm Springs Canyon HMAs.
The BLM last conducted a gather of wild horses from the Calico Complex in September 2022; at that time, the BLM removed 863 excess wild horses. This current gather is classified as a selective removal targeting gather.
Details of Gather:
The gather began on October 1, 2023 using the helicopter-assisted method operation.
Appropriate Animal Management Level (AML) for the entire Calico Complex is 572-952. The plan is to gather approximately 761 wild horses, remove approximately 380 excess wild horses, treat approximately 172 mares with GonaCon Equine, a population suppression vaccine, release the treated mares and also release approximately 209 stallions back into the complex ranges.
The wild horses removed from the ranges will be taken to Palomino Valley Center, Off Range Corrals located in Reno, Nevada. Once animals arrive at the corral facilities, they will be checked by a veterinarian and prepared for the BLM’s adoption and sale program or long-term pastures or sanctuaries.
A Public Affairs Officer and Law Enforcement Officer will meet the public each morning at the pre-determined meeting location, to escort the group to the gather and/or holding locations. BLM staff will escort all media and/or visitors to and from the gather site each day.
All media and/or visitors wanting to go to the gather site should call the RSVP phone number located in the "What to Know Before You Go" document. The Lead PAO will notify members of the public and/or media of daily meeting times and locations for public viewing opportunities.
Because meeting times can change daily, it will be important to follow the instructions provided in the "What to Know Before You Go" document.
Please also familiarize yourself with "Visitation Protocols" and "Ground Rules" documents before you intend to observe a gather for useful information and travel tips.
For wild horse adoption information, please visit the BLM’s website at https://www.blm.gov/whb.
The Calico Complex comprises a total of approximately 539,865 acres (public and private) and is considered the primary gather area for this gather page, although the total gather area is approximately 1,041,000 acres to encompass horses and burros that have moved to non-HMA areas in their search for water, forage and space. It is bound on the east by the Black Rock Desert, on the north by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Sheldon Antelope Refuge, on the west by adjacent HMAs administered by the Surprise Field Office in Cedarville, California and by the small town of Gerlach, Nevada on the south.
Elevations within the Complex range from 3,920 feet along the Black Rock Desert to 9,056 feet at Granite Peak. Climate within the Complex is characterized by warm dry days, cool nights and low yearly precipitation that ranges from 4 inches at lower elevations to approximately 16 inches at higher elevations. Most precipitation occurs as winter snow. In the Great Basin high desert of Nevada, the average annual precipitation is often less than 11 inches (which defines the term desert). Drought conditions occur as frequently as 6 out of every 10 years. Drought is defined by the Society for Range Management as “…prolonged dry weather when precipitation is less than 75% of the average amount” (SRM 1989).
Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub communities at lower elevations to big sagebrush/bunch grass communities at higher elevations. Typical species at lower elevations include shadscale, bud sage, winter fat, black greasewood, squirrel tail, and Sandberg’s bluegrass. Species typical in higher elevations include low sagebrush, Wyoming big sagebrush, mountain big sagebrush, bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, Utah juniper, mountain mahogany, quaking aspen, needle grass, blue bunch wheatgrass, basin wildrye, squirreltail, Indian paintbrush, and phlox. Historic wildfire scars within the Black Rock Range HMA mainly support perennial bunchgrasses. Fire scars within the Granite Range HMA support primarily cheatgrass, a non-native invasive plant.
The area is utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. Typical wildlife species found in the area include mule deer, pronghorn antelope, chukar partridge, big horn sheep, coyote, and various rodents.
Horses within the complex are descendants of ranch horses that either escaped or were released into the area. Most horses exhibit a bay, brown or sorrel color pattern. It is not possible to provide any specific information about your wild horse.
As of 10/17/2023
(The gather operation was from 10/1 through 10/17/2023)
489 Wild Horses (173 Stallions, 257 Mares, and 59 Foals)
329 Wild Horses (20 Stallions, 250 Mares, and 59 Foals)
Animals Treated with Fertility Control:
0 Wild Horses (0 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
GonaCon: 0 (0 Mares)
145 Wild Horses (145 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
-Sudden / Acute: 0
-Pre-existing / Chronic: 15
Scroll to the bottom of this gather page for detailed “Daily Gather Reports"