2015 Kiger and Riddle Mountain Wild Horse Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to gather wild horses from the Riddle Mountain and Kiger Herd Management Areas (HMA), as well as those horses that have left the HMAs to surrounding lands, remove excess horses, select horses that fit the characteristics of the Kiger Mustang (as described in the 1996 Riddle Mountain and Kiger Wild Horse HMA Plan), and return those horses to the range to re-establish the low ends of each HMA's AML following the gather.
Details of Gather:
In August 2015, approximately 73 wild horses would be gathered from Riddle Mountain HMA, with approximately 48 excess wild horses removed. Approximately 141 wild horses would be gathered from Kiger HMA, with approximately 105 excess wild horses removed.
It is anticipated 2-3 capture sites (traps) will be used to collect wild horses from the HMAs. Trap site corrals will typically be approximately 800 square feet. With secondary disturbance areas such as trap wings, total surface disturbance will be approximately 2,400 square feet (0.05-acre) per trap site. Trap wing configuration will vary, depending on terrain and materials. Trap sites will be selected during the gather operations. Traps are built as close to the horses' location as possible.
Horses removed from the Kiger and Riddle Herd Management Areas will be available for adoption from Oregon's Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines at a competitive bid adoption event October 1-4, 2015.
No other horse in America is quite like the Kiger Mustang found on Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon. Most wild horses are of mixed influence and characteristics while the Kiger Mustangs possess many characteristics of the original Spanish Mustang.
The public is welcome to attend the Kiger and Riddle Mountain wild horse gather and must read the Field Observation Protocol information before visiting. Observation will be held daily during the Kiger HMA portion of the gather, with a maximum number of 15 people attending each day. There is no safe and adequate viewing opportunity for the capture site in the Riddle Mountain HMA.
If you are interested in observing the gather, you must contact Tara Thissell at the BLM Burns District Office to have your name added to the viewing list. Observation will be offered to those on the viewing list in order based on the date in which you expressed interest in attending the gather. The earlier you express interest, the higher in the observation order your name will appear.
The estimated gather start date is proposed for the last week in August or the first week of September. The dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations. Some days of the gather may not provide a viewing opportunity at the capture site, due to variable circumstances such as moving the trap location (not gathering), no safe area to view activity or disguise vehicles, 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 must check in, in person, individually, with the BLM official at the meeting site (Burns District BLM Office, 28910 Hwy 20 W; see Field Observation Protocol for more specifics) to be considered. Observers will be led in a caravan to and from the gather site by BLM employees. Personal, high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles are REQUIRED. If you do not have adequate transportation to the observation area, you may attempt to carpool with other observers (at their discretion), but this option is not guaranteed. 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.
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, Burns District BLM Public Affairs Specialist, at 541-573-4519 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kiger and Riddle Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMAs) lay about 50 miles south of Burns, Oregon, and are bordered by Kiger Gorge on the west and East Steens Road on the east. The "Kiger" horses, as they are commonly known, have had an almost 100 percent adoption rate since 1986. The respective Appropriate Management Level (AML) herd sizes are 33 head for the Riddle HMA and 51 for the Kiger HMA. Due to the small herd size, popularity and adoptability, PZP contraceptives and returning/releasing geldings into the wild are not considered for these herds.