2022 Cedar Mountain Wild Horse Gather and Population Growth Suppression
From the horses shipped to the Axtell Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility, 50 mares will be selected and treated with GonaCon vaccine & booster shot then released back onto the range along with 12 additional studs bringing the total number released to 100. The date of release is Nov. 14, 2022.
Purpose of Gather:
The gather decision supports the BLM’s continuing efforts to conduct gathers, administer population growth suppression (PGS) vaccines, utilize intrauterine devices (IUDs), and equip wild horses with global positioning system (GPS) tracking units (either collar or tag) and remove excess wild horses within and outside of the Cedar Mountain HMA to an AML of 190-390 individuals through one or more gathers. The target population will be low- to mid-Appropriate Management Level.
Details of Gather:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to gather approximately 700 wild horses from within and outside of the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, using the helicopter drive-trapping method.
Opportunities are available for the public to observe daily gather operations through BLM-escorted tours, if conditions remain safe for both the horses and participants and gather operations are not disrupted. Observers must provide their own transportation, water, and food. No public restrooms will be available. The BLM recommends weather-appropriate footwear and neutral-colored clothing. Binoculars and four-wheel-drive or other high-clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended due to terrain and potential weather conditions. Details about the BLM-escorted tours will be updated each evening during the gather and announced daily on the BLM gather hotline at 801-539-4050.
Gather operations will begin on Dugway Proving Grounds where there will be no public viewing on Saturday Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18. Beginning on Monday, Sept. 19 where individuals should meet at the Flying J Travel Center located at 1605 Saddleback Blvd in Lake Point, Utah where tours will depart at 5:30 a.m. MT.
All excess wild horses identified for removal will be transported to the Axtell Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility in Axtell, Utah, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. Those that are not placed into a new home will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they live off the rest of their lives on grass pastures.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit the Wild Horse and Burro Program page.
Wild horses have occupied the Cedar Mountains since the late 1800s. It is suggested that the original stock was controlled by the Standard Horse and Mule Company that provided remounts for the U.S. Army. However, many of the horses on the Cedar Mountains are descendants of horses that escaped from local ranches. In recent years horses have been introduced from other Herd Management Areas from Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming and other HMAs from within Utah.
The dominant colors within the herd area are bay and black. Other colors found include pinto, sorrel, red and blue roan, buckskin, palomino, and gray.
The wild horses on the Cedars are classified as average in size. Mares weight 750 to 800 pounds and stallions weigh 850 to I,000 pounds.
The Cedar Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) is located 45 miles west from Salt Lake City, Utah, and south of I-80. The HMA extends from Hastings Pass southward to the Dugway Proving Grounds.
Size and AML
The HMA contains 197,275 acres of BLM lands and 14,317 acres of Federal, State-, and privately-owned land for a total of 211,592 acres.
Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub and sagebrush to grass-juniper and juniper barren ground type at the higher elevations. Majority of the area is made up of cheatgrass as the dominant vegetation type.
The extreme valley bottoms on the east side of the Cedar Mountains are in the greasewood shrub type due to high exchangeable sodium. Annuals such as cheatgrass, Halogeton and Russian thistle have invaded large areas. A fire interval of three to five years has established in these areas. As a result, the salt desert shrub and sagebrush types are largely absent within cheatgrass areas. Furthermore, fire rehabilitation seedings on the bench areas have had limited reestablishment of shrubs. Cheatgrass and seeded wheat grasses have resulted in abundant forage throughout Skull Valley.
Water sources within the HMA include stock reservoirs, springs and intermittent streams fed by winter snows and spring runoff. Resource damage has occurred especially near water sources where distinct horse trailing is evident. Water flow from sources in the area has decreased and, in some instances, ceased altogether. Emergency gathers were completed in 2004 and 2018 due to the lack of water resources for the horses in the HMA.
The Cedar Mountain HMA areas provide important forage, water, shade, and cover for a variety of wildlife. The higher elevation portion of this area is dominated by juniper and provides for species such as elk, mule deer, and various migratory birds. The foothills consist of desert shrub and species like pronghorn which prefer this type of habitat.
The foothills of the Cedar Mountains provide breeding, nesting, and foraging habitat for numerous raptor species. Some of the raptor species that nest and/or use the area include golden eagle, prairie falcon, red-tailed hawks, Swainson's hawk, ferruginous hawks, a variety of owl species, and other raptors.
Migratory birds in North America are primarily neotropical species that nest in the United States during the summer and migrate south. The HMA is utilized by juniper-obligate and sage-obligate bird species as well as transient and migratory populations of birds in the spring and fall of each year.
This gather began on Sept. 17, 2022.
Animals Gathered: 638
637 Wild Horses (249 Stallions, 259 Mares, and 130 Foals)
Animals Shipped: 592
592 Wild Horses (204 Stallions, 258 Mares, and 130 Foals)
Animals Released: 38
38 Horses (38 Studs, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
Animals Treated with Fertility Control: 0
0 Wild Horses (0 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)
-Sudden / Acute: 2
-Pre-existing / Chronic: 6
Scroll to the bottom of this gather page for detailed “Daily Gather Reports"