Battle Mountain, Nev.–The Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field Office, plans to capture up to 30 burros that have been causing property damage in Big Smoky Valley, southeast of Austin, Nev. The gather will be conducted through bait and/or water trapping. Initially, the BLM with gather 10-15 wild burros and will remove more in the coming months if necessary. A start date for the gather hasn’t been determined, yet, but is expected to begin within the next week.
The burros are outside of the boundaries of the Bureau of Land Management’s Hickison Herd Management Area (HMA), and the associated Hickison Burro Territory administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Extreme drought conditions and overpopulation of the burros have caused them to leave the HMA in search of forage and water, relocating to privately-owned, irrigated hay fields in Big Smoky Valley. The burros have been breaking through the fences that separate the hay fields from public land since last summer, and have caused considerable damage to the fences as well as crop damage and expenditure of time and effort for the landowner to continually fix the fences.
The gather will be conducted by a contractor under the BLM’s National Bait and Water Trap Contract, and involve the use of small corrals that hold hay, supplement or water to lure the burros through a gate at which point the gate is closed. Because of the fluid nature of bait and water trapping, the gather operation could require several days or weeks to complete. It is likely that trapping will be sporadic in nature and the burros will be trapped at night. For these reasons, viewing of the gather operation will not be possible; however, the BLM will offer public site visits by appointment to view captured burros and/or loading activities.
The BLM will hold a special Hickison Burro adoption to place burros with qualified adopters. Wild burros can be gentled and trained for many uses and make excellent companion animals and family pets as they are gentle natured and social animals. People use burros as riding animals, for predator deterrence, for pulling carts, and as sturdy pack animals for backpacking and hunting.
The Decision, Gather Plan and information about the adoption event are available on the web. For these documents, along with photos, background information and updates during the gather operations, please go to http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/
For additional questions regarding this gather, to express interest in attending a site visit, or to adopt a Hickison Wild Burro, please contact Shawna Richardson, Wild Horse Specialist, at [email protected] or at 775-635-4181.