WINNEMUCCA — On or around Oct. 11, the Humboldt River and Tuscarora Field Offices (HRTFO) will begin a wild horse gather on the Owyhee Complex located approximately 30 miles northeast of Paradise Valley in Humboldt and Elko Counties, Nevada. 

The Owyhee Complex encompasses over approximately 1.055M acres of private and public lands and consists of five herd management areas (HMAs) which include the Little Humboldt, Little Owyhee, Owyhee, Rock Creek and Snowstorms HMAs. 

The HRTFO will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method.

The HRTFO plans to gather approximately 947 wild horses, remove approximately 615 wild horses, and treat and release up to 185 mares from the Owyhee Complex gather area. 

The released mares will be treated with Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) fertility control.

The total Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Owyhee Complex is 621-999. On May 20, 2021, the BLM conducted an aerial flight or population inventory count where the current estimated population is 1,188 wild horses, which includes foals born this year. 

The most recent gather was completed in 2018.

The purpose of the gather is 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 Burros Act. 

By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the HRTFO aims to address resources issues related to drought and past fire damage and protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope and mule deer. 

Removing excess animals will enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health.

“The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse and burro gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered,” said Humboldt River Field Office Manager, Kathleen Rehberg. “The BLM staff and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.”

All wild horses identified for removal will be transported to the Sutherland Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Sutherland, Utah, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. 

For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.

Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff, contractors and observers, or disrupt gather operations. 

The HRTFO staff will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. 

The gather staff anticipates that viewing opportunities will be limited due to logistics regarding private land, terrain, and weather.

Pending the location of the trap sites, viewing opportunities are subject to change. 

If the traps are located on privately property, public observation will be limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If the traps are on public lands, public observation will be offered daily. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the gather hotline nightly no later than 5:30 p.m. at (775) 861-6700 to RSVP. It is strongly advised to RSVP due to potential last minute trap site moves.

The HRTFO is conducting the gather under Owyhee Complex Herd Management Area Gather Environmental Assessment signed in October of 2012. To view the Decision Record, go to https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/33902/510.

Gather reports and additional information for the “2021 Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather” will be posted on the BLM website at here. For technical information, contact Morgan Weigand, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at 775-623-1500 or email BLM_NV_WDO_WHB@blm.gov.