BLM set to capture 600 wild horses from Fish Creek HMA (Nev.)

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Wild horses photographed on the Fish Creek Herd Management Area in June. BLM photo.

The Bureau of Land Management is set to begin on or about Sept. 6 a helicopter roundup to capture 600 wild horses from the Fish Creek Herd Management Area near Eureka, Nev.

The agency plans to remove about 550 horses, with the balance returned to their home range to include mares treated with fertility control, according to a press release.

BLM’s stated reason for the roundup is to “reduce overpopulation of wild horses within and outside the HMA, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size … By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk.”

The 250,000-acre Fish Creek HMA and adjacent land have a wild horse population of 822, according to BLM. The agency says it conducted a helicopter survey on July 26-27.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the Herd Management Area is 107-180 — or as low as one horse for every 2,336 acres.

The BLM allows private grazing on four allotments totaling 417,000 acres that overlap about 230,675 acres of the Herd Management Area. The total permitted livestock use for those allotments is 8,855 Animal Unit Months (one AUM is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep). Actual grazing use from 2008-14 was 5,530 AUMs, according to BLM planning documents.

Wild horses captured in the upcoming roundup are to be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center to be prepared for adoption or sale.

To read BLM’s planning documents, click here:

Viewing the roundup

Members of the public who wish to view the roundup must call (775) 861-6700 to receive that day’s meeting location on time. BLM staff with escort observers to viewing sites on public lands.