BLM WYOMING RED DESERT COMPLEX GATHER (2020)
Background and Details of Gather:
The BLM Wyoming Rawlins and Lander field offices will remove wild horses from the Red Desert Wild Horse Complex. This continues a gather that initially began in August 2018 but concluded early when off-range corrals reached maximum capacity.
The complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek herd management areas (HMAs), spanning 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land in south-central Wyoming.
The BLM plans to remove approximately 2,400 horses to return wild horse populations to within the appropriate management levels and ensure long-term viability of sage-grouse populations in the area. The appropriate management level for the complex is 480-724 horses, and its current estimated population is approximately 3,000 horses.
Following the gather, the BLM will return a small number of mares and stallions to the complex to ensure genetic variability and preserve the New World Iberian genotype present in the complex. All mares returned will be treated with fertility control.
The gather will begin on or after October 10, 2020, and will continue for about 4-8 weeks.
The BLM uses a federal contractor to gather wild horses from HMAs where the BLM has determined excess animals exist. The contractor uses a helicopter to locate and herd horses toward a set of corrals. The helicopter is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse to lead the gathered horses into the corrals. If needed, the ground crew may assist the helicopter by roping the horses from horseback.
The BLM takes very seriously the humane treatment of wild horses and burros during gather operations. Helicopters have been shown to be the most humane method to gather horses.
Opportunities are available for the public to observe gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. If you are interested in watching the gather, you must contact Sarah Beckwith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observers must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle, and footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions. Public restrooms will not be available onsite.
The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply:
- Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household.
- Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as restrooms will not be available.
- Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well.
Follow the Red Desert Complex Gather on @BLMWyoming and @BLMWHB Twitter.
The BLM will transport all wild horses removed from the range to holding facilities in Rock Springs, Wyoming; Canon City, Colorado; and other locations to be determined where the horses will be freeze branded, vaccinated, dewormed and given a Coggins test. The corrals receiving the horses from the gathers will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses.
Some of the horses will be taken to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland for gentling before being made available for adoption.
Gathered wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. If you are interested in taking home a wild horse from this gather, please get pre-approved and get ready for the first events in the New Year!