CARSON CITY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District, will initiate the first of three wild horse gathers in western Nevada on approximately Wednesday, November 17, 2010, and extending into December. The three scheduled wild horse gathers include the following:
Lahontan Herd Management Area (HMA), starting approximately November 17. BLM will gather and remove approximately 94 excess wild horses from the vicinity of the HMA, which is south of the Lahontan State Recreation Area in Lyon County, about 35 miles east of Carson City, Nev. The gather is expected to be completed in two to three days.
Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA), starting approximately November 20. BLM will gather wild horses within the Pine Nut HMA so that approximately 45 mares can be treated with Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22), a two-year fertility control vaccine, to slow herd reproduction and reduce the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. Horses gathered from within the HMA will all be released back where they were gathered. There are also approximately 67 excess horses residing well outside of the HMA boundaries. Between 12-20 of these horses are 12+ miles outside of the HMA in a mix of public and private lands in the Fish Springs area of Douglas County. The rest of the 67 horses residing outside of the HMA are primarily in the Buckskin Range of Lyon County. These 67 excess horses will be gathered and removed. The gather is expected to be completed in five to seven days.
Pilot Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA), starting approximately November 27. BLM will gather horses within the Pilot Mountain HMA so that approximately 76 mares can be treated with Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22), a two year fertility control vaccine, and released back into the HMA to achieve ecological balance. Approximately 53 excess wild horses within the HMA will also be gathered and removed. The gather is expected to be completed in seven to ten days.
The Pilot Mountain gather originally included gathering a band of approximately 104 wild horses currently residing on the Hawthorne Army Depot, but that action has been suspended to give the Depot and the BLM time to fully investigate a proposal from horse advocate groups for solving immediate safety concerns of horses drifting onto U.S. Highway 95 and for the long-term maintenance of the band of horses currently on the Depot.
The gathers, birth control treatments and limited removals are intended to reduce or maintain the herd population sizes to within the appropriate management levels necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands.
The BLM coordinates closely with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division to provide Brand Inspectors during wild horse removal efforts across the State. NDOA brand inspectors must verify the animals are excess wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Once verified, the Brand Inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals. Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses and burros which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands. The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.
Excess wild horses are scheduled to be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse Adoption Facility, 23 miles north of Sparks, Nevada, where they will be prepared for adoption the BLM’s adoption program. Wild horses for which there is no adoption demand will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.
Gather Visitation Protocol
There will be no closure of the public lands and therefore, the public lands within the HMAs will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions. The BLM has established protocols for public observation/visitation to the gather sites and temporary holding corrals to ensure overall safety of the public, the BLM and gather contract staff and the animals. The observation protocols, a Know Before You Go visitor guidelines handout for each gather and daily gather updates are posted on-line at: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_programs/wild_horse_and_burro.html
Public Visitation/Observation Days
Since the location of specific gather trap sites and temporary corrals may not be known until as little as 12 hours in advance, BLM will provide an escort at 6:30 a.m. each morning of gather operations to guide interested parties to the designated observation area for each day’s operation. All site observers must have their own 4-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance and spare tires. The temporary holding corrals and trap sites are usually very remote with limited access roads and possibly adverse weather conditions. Be prepared to walk cross-county for up to a mile to each day’s designated observation area.
Media or members of the public who wish to observe a gather are asked to RSVP to Fran Feinhandler, BLM Carson City District Contact Representative, at (775) 885-6000, with the date and HMA they wish to observe. BLM will meet observers at the following meeting places:
Lahontan HMA Gather: meet BLM personnel in front of Buckland’s Station (part of Lahontan State Recreation Area) on the east side of U.S. 95 Alternate, 8.6 miles south of its intersection with U.S. Highway 50 in Silver Springs. Buckland’s Station is also 22 miles north of Yerington.
Pine Nut HMA Gather: meet BLM personnel in front the BLM-Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road @ Deer Run Road (four blocks south of U.S. Highway 50 on the east side of Carson City.
Pilot Mountain HMA Gather: meet BLM personnel at the NDOT Highway Rest Stop in Luning, Nevada, located on the east side of U.S. 95, and about ½ mile south of its intersection with Nevada State Route 361 (highway to Gabbs). Luning is 24 miles south of Hawthorne.
Gather site dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations. A Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been set up at 775-885-6101 where the public can listen to a recorded message with information on daily gather activities and updated gather schedules.
For more information, contact Mark Struble, BLM Carson City District Public Affairs Officer, at (775) 885-6107 or [email protected].