2023 Palomino Buttes Wild Horse Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The Palomino Buttes Herd Management Area gather is being conducted 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.
Details of Gather:
Helicopter drive-trapping operations will tentatively begin August 14, 2023, and are expected to last approximately three days, though exact start and end dates will be determined by the contractor’s availability.
For the Palomino Buttes HMA, the Appropriate Management Level – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – is 32 to 64 horses. The current population estimate is around 254 horses.
Approximately 225 horses are planned to be gathered – 200 will be removed, and around 25 mares will be returned to the range following fertility control application.
The public is welcome to view the Palomino Buttes gather. You must call ahead, by 5 p.m. PST the previous day, to let us know of your planned attendance: 541-573-4519.
Travel to and from the capture site will be done caravan-style, with observers in their own vehicles, following an agency representative. Observers must attend a pre-viewing briefing prior to departure to the HMA at 4:30 a.m. at the BLM Burns District Office, 28910 Hwy 20 West in Hines. Observers arriving at the viewing area without first attending a briefing or making prior arrangements with the BLM shall not participate in the observation day.
Observation is held on a first come, first served basis. Every effort will be made to accommodate everyone interested each day; however, participation may be limited and/or some days of the gather may not provide a viewing opportunity due to variable circumstances such as moving the trap location (not gathering), no safe area to view activity or disguise vehicles, rainy or windy conditions (not gathering), poor vehicle access, etc.
Notice on the days where no viewing opportunity exists will likely be given on short notice – perhaps the day before or the morning of the gather operation. You may attend multiple, consecutive observation days as long as you are within the first come, first served maximum (if one is set).
Access to and distance from the capture site location will be determined jointly by the Contractor and the BLM's Contracting Officer's Representative prior to gather operations. Safety of the horses, crew and public, is our top priority.
Animals gathered from the range will be transported to Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines. Horses not selected for return to the range will be prepared for adoption or sale into private care.
The Palomino Buttes HMA is located 15 miles southwest of Burns, Oregon, on the south side of Hwy 20/395. The area is in arid, high desert country and is characterized by flat to gently rolling hills and canyons covered with Big Sagebrush, Low Sagebrush and Western Juniper.
For more information and to find the progress of the gather and/or whether or not a viewing opportunity exists each day, first check our Social Media sites: Facebook or Twitter — you do not need to have an account on these sites to view the content. You may also call Tara Thissell, BLM Burns District Public Affairs Specialist, at 541-573-4519 or email email@example.com.
This gather began on August 14 and concluded on August 16, 2023.
Animals Gathered: 192
Animals Shipped: 192
Animals Returned to Home Range: 0
Animal Deaths: 0