2021 Barren Valley Complex Emergency Wild Horse Gather
SHEEPSHEAD/HEATH CREEK HMA

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The Bureau of Land Management’s Vale District Malheur Field Office plans to begin the Barren Valley Complex Emergency Wild Horse Gather on or about September 8, 2021.

Overview

The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives BLM the direction for protecting and overseeing wild horses and burros on public lands. In managing these animals, the BLM works to maintain a thriving ecological balance that supports healthy horses on healthy rangelands. Heavy to severe wild horse grazing jeopardizes the health of rangelands, wetlands, wildlife habitats, and ultimately animal health and condition.

In the Barren Valley Complex, an excessive horse population coupled with severe drought conditions has resulted in an inadequate supply of water and forage to sustain animal health through the remainder of the season. Local ranchers have been assisting BLM with providing water to the horses while the gather was planned.

Details of Gather

The complex is located in southern Malheur and Harney Counties and includes Coyote Lake/Alvord-Tule Springs, Sheepshead/Heath Creek and Sand Springs Herd Management Areas (HMAs). The three HMAs are managed as a complex because horses routinely move between the three areas, which span nearly 1 million acres. Gather operations may also take place in areas outside the Complex where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling across roads and highways.

The BLM will utilize the services of a helicopter contractor to gather and remove up to 1,900 excess wild horses. In June 2021, approximately 2500 wild horses were counted in the complex. The Appropriate Management Level – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – for this area is 459-892 horses.

Public Observation

Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM anticipates viewing opportunities will begin on or about September 8, 2021, weather and logistics permitting. Observers must contact Public Affairs Specialist Larisa Bogardus at lbogardus@blm.gov or 541-523-1407 no later than 12 p.m. MST to request viewing the following day. Viewing is not guaranteed and is limited to no more than 12 people per day. Observation will be offered to those on the viewing list in order, based on the date in which interest was expressed in attending the gather.

Observers will be informed of the designated meeting location the night before. It will likely be in or near Burns Junction, Ore., two hours southwest of Boise, ID, but could be farther afield, depending on the location of gather operations.

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.

Viewing is not guaranteed. 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.

Observers must attend a pre-viewing briefing with the gather Public Affairs Specialist at the designated meeting location prior to departure for the HMA. Observers arriving at the viewing area without first attending the briefing shall not participate in the observation day.

Viewing at the temporary holding facilities may be allowed if it is determined safe and undisruptive by the contractor, and at the discretion of the landowner if private property is used.

The number of media and public in the gather observation site may be limited in order to allow for social distancing. The CDC has offered guidance to help people visiting public lands prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health. 

Adoption

Animals gathered from the range will be transported to BLM’s Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Bruneau, Idaho, and Reno, Nev. About 100 horses will be selected for return to the range when conditions allow. The remaining horses will be prepared for adoption or sale into private care or long-term holding.

Other

For more information regarding viewing, contact gather Public Affairs Specialist Larisa Bogardus at lbogardus@blm.gov or 541-523-1407. Viewing will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, with no more than 15 viewers allowed per day.

The gather is expected to last 30 days, though exact start and end dates will be determined by the contractor’s availability. Supporting National Environmental Policy Act documents for this gather are available on the BLM’s ePlanning web site at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/1504535/510.

For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

Daily Gather Reports

October 18, 2021

Animals gathered: 0

Animals shipped: 38 (3 stallions, 25 mares, 10 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Today we moved trap and did not gather.

October 17, 2021

Animals gathered: 61 (21 stallions, 30 mares, 10 foals)

Animals shipped: 37 (8 stallions, 19 mares, 10 foals)

Animal deaths: 1 — A 20-year-old mare with a body score of 1 was euthanized.

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 1.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 4 p.m. Sunny, high 74°F.

October 16, 2021

Animals gathered: 40 (9 stallions, 21 mares, 10 foals)

Animals shipped: 36 (8 stallions, 19 mares, 9 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 1.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 4:30 p.m. Sunny, high 71°F.

October 15, 2021

Gather operations resumed today in the Coyote Lake/Alvord-Tule Springs HMA.

Animals gathered: 49 (23 stallions, 18 mares, 13 foals)

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 2 to 3.5. Gather operations ended at 6:45 p.m. Sunny, windy, high 56°F. One public viewer was on site.

October 4, 2021

Animals gathered: 0

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 0

Other: No gathering took place today.

October 3, 2021

Animals gathered: 0

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 0

Other: No gathering took place today.

October 2, 2021

Animals gathered: 3 (1 stallion, 1 mare, 1 foal)

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Scores were 3. Gather operations ended at 6 p.m. Clear, sunny, high 86°F.

October 1, 2021

Animals gathered: 0

Animals shipped: 70 (3 stallions, 41 mares, 26 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: No gathering took place today.

September 30, 2021

Animals gathered: 0

Animals shipped: 32 (24 stallions, 8 mares)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: No gathering took place today.

September 29, 2021

Animals gathered: 86 (21 stallions, 43 mares, 22 foals)

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 3 to 4. Gather operations ended at 2:50 p.m. Sunny, high 71°F.

September 28, 2021

No gathering or shipping was conducted today. Trap was moved to Coyote Lake/Alvord-Tule Springs HMA.

September 27, 2021

Animals gathered: 12 (5 stallions, 4 mares, 3 foals)

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 2 — A 6-month-old stud was euthanized due to a large hernia and a 3-year-old stud due to preexisting blindness or eye abnormality.

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 2.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 10:15 a.m. Cloudy, windy, high 76°F. Trap was moved to Coyote Lake/Alvord-Tule Springs HMA.

September 26, 2021

Animals gathered: 0

Animals shipped: 40 (17 stallions, 9 mares, 9 foals)

Animal deaths: 1 — A 20-year-old mare was euthanized due to poor condition/unlikely to improve.

September 25, 2021

Animals gathered: 41 (18 stallions, 14 mares, 9 foals)

Animals shipped: 39 (0 stallions, 27 mares, 12 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 2.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 3:30 p.m. Sunny, high 82°F.

September 24, 2021

Animals gathered: 54 (23 stallions, 18 mares, 13 foals)

Animals shipped: 78 (37 stallions, 22 mares, 19 foals)

Animal deaths: 1 — A 3-month-old filly was euthanized due to pre-existing fracture.

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 2.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 3:30 p.m. Sunny, high 82°F.

September 23, 2021

Animals gathered: 51 (22 stallions, 18 mares, 11 foals)

Animals shipped: 31 (24 stallions, 9 mares)

Animal deaths: 1 – A 4-year-old mare was euthanized due to a club foot.

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 3 to 4. Gather operations ended at 3:30 p.m. Sunny, high 76°F.

September 22, 2021

Animals gathered: 33 (15 stallions, 10 mares, 8 foals)

Animals shipped: 41 (10 stallions, 19 mares, 12 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 2.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 3 p.m. Sunny and clear, 76°F.

September 21, 2021

Animals gathered: 65 horses (25 stallions, 28 mares, 12 foals)

Animals shipped: 42 (27 mares, 15 foals)

Animal deaths: 1 – A yearling mare with pre-existing blindness/eye abnormality was euthanized.

Other: Henneke Body Scores ranged from 2.5 to 4. Gather operations ended at 4:10 p.m. Sunny and clear, 79°F.

September 20, 2021

Animals gathered: 67 (17 stallions, 35 mares, 15 foals)

Animals shipped: 35 (15 stallions, 15 mares, 5 foals)

Animal deaths: 3 – a yearling stallion with physical defect/deformity of large hernia; an 11-year-old stallion and a 4-year-old stallion with pre-existing condition/physical defect club foot were euthanized.

Other: Gather operations ended at 3:15 p.m. Sunny and clear, high 72°F.

September 19, 2021

Animals gathered: 27 (9 stallions, 13 mares, 5 foals)

Animals shipped: 41 (1 stallion, 6 mares to Bruneau, ID; 26 stallions, 8 mares to Fallon, NV)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Gather operations ended at 12 p.m. due to high winds. Overcast, high 56°F.

September 18, 2021

Animals gathered: 0 (0 stallions, 0 mares, 0 foals)

Animals shipped: 44 (8 stallions, 24 mares, 12 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: No gathering due to high winds in the trap area. Overcast, high 56°F.

September 17, 2021

Animals gathered: 76 (25 stallions, 39 mares, 21 foals)

Animals shipped: 40 (3 stallions, 35 mares, 2 foals to Fallon, NV)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 2.5-4; Gather operations ended at 2:30 p.m. Sunny and clear, high 90°F. One public observer was on site.

September 16, 2021

Animals gathered: 12 (1stallions, 9 mares, 2 foals)

Animals shipped: 78 (17 stallions, 17 mares to Bruneau, ID; 27 mares, 17 foals to Fallon)

Animal deaths: 1 – a 16-year-old mare with pre-existing condition/physical defect of blindness was euthanized.

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 2.5-4; Gather operations ended at 9:45 a.m. due to wind. Sunny and clear, high 71°F. One member of the media and one public observer were on site.

September 15, 2021

Animals gathered: 106 (37 stallions, 52 mares, 17 foals)

Animals shipped: 77 (33 stallions, 21 mares, 20 foal)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 2.5-4; Gather operations ended at 3:25 p.m. Sunny and clear, high 87°F. Two public observers were on site.

September 14, 2021

Animals gathered: 87 (33 stallions, 34 mares, 20 foals)

Animals shipped: 73 (34 stallions, 21 mares, 18 foal)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 3-4; Gather operations ended at 3:25 p.m. Sunny and clear, high 88°F. Three public observers were on site.

September 13, 2021

Animals gathered: 88 (38 stallions, 32 mares, 18 foals)

Animals shipped: 36 (23 stallions, 12 mares, 1 foal)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 3-4; Gather operations ended at 4:55 p.m. Sunny and clear, high 90°F. Three public observers were on site.

September 12, 2021

Animals gathered: 8 (3 stallions, 4 mares, 1 foal)

Animals shipped: 43 (26 mares, 17 foals)

Animal deaths: 1 – A 3 -year-old mare with pre-existing condition/physical defect of a clubfoot was euthanized.

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 3-4. Gather operations ended at 11:15 a.m. and trap was moved from Sand Springs HMA to Sheepshead/Heath Creek. Sunny and clear, high 81°F. Two public observers were on site.

September 11, 2021

Animals gathered: 86 (25 stallions, 39 mares, 22 foals)

Animals shipped: 71 (44 stallions, 18 mares, 9 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 2.5-4; gather operations ended at 4:15 p.m. Sunny and clear, high 83°F.

September 10, 2021

Animals gathered: 24 (9 stallions, 9 mares, 6 foals)

Animals shipped: 114 (36 stallions, 60 mares and 18 foals)

Animal deaths: 0

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today was 2.5-4; gather operations ended at 4:15 p.m. Gathering was suspended at 10 a.m. today due to high winds and rain. High 78°F.

September 9, 2021

Animals gathered: 100 (45 stallions, 37 mares, 18 foals)

Animals shipped: 42 (3 stallions, 20 mares, 19 foals)

Animal deaths: 3 – a 4 year-old mare, 3-year-old stallion and 2-year-old stallion euthanized with pre-existing condition/physical defect of blindness/eye abnormality.

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today is 2-4; gather operations ended at 2 p.m. Sun and smoke, high of 101°F.

September 8, 2021

Animals gathered: 98 (30 stallions, 49 mares, 19 foals)

Animals shipped: 0

Animal deaths: 2 – a 15-year-old stallion euthanized with pre-existing condition/physical defect of blindness/hematoma in eye; a 7-year-old mare with pre-existing condition/physical defect of fractured fetlock.

Other: Henneke Body Score of animals gathered today is 2-4; gather operations ended at 2 p.m. Sun and smoke, high of 100°F.

Cumulative Totals

Animals Gathered:
1274

Animals Shipped:
1213

Animal Deaths: 17 — 2 euthanized (9/8); 3 (9/9); 1 (9/12); 1 (9/16); 3 (9/20); 1 (9/21), 1 (9/23), 1 (9/24); 1 (9/26); 2 (9/27); and 1 (10/17) for pre-existing conditions (details in daily reports)

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