The Bureau of Land Management announced on Monday that it will start a 60-day bait-and-trap roundup of up to 100 wild horses as soon as today from the Caliente Herd Area Complex, Eagle Herd Management Area and Silver King Herd Management Area.
The agency says it’s conducting the capture-and-removal effort because wild horses lacking forage and water are leaving public land and crossing roadways. Vehicle-horse collisions have occurred on U.S. Highway 93 and horses have also been spotted on state roads near Panaca and Pioche, Nev., according to a press release. The agency also blames the horses for “considerable damage to private property.”
A similar “public and animal safety” roundup was held outside the Eagle and Silver King HMAs in 2016, with 74 wild horses removed, that time in a helicopter roundup.
- The Caliente Complex is home to nine herd areas with an estimated population of 2,085 wild horses, according to BLM. The complex consists of nine herd areas totaling about 911,892 acres: Applewhite, Blue Nose Peak, Clover Creek, Clover Mountains, Delamar Mountains, Little Mountain, Meadow Valley Mountains, Miller Flat and Mormon Mountains HAs, none of which are now designated for wild horses because of what the agency says is a lack of water and forage. By comparison, designated livestock use (mostly livestock along with sheep and domestic horses) for grazing areas overlapping Caliente is 39,920 Animal Unit Month (1 AUM = 1 horse, 1 cow/calf pair, 5 sheep.) on 26 grazing allotments, or as high as 3,327 cow-calf pairs. From 2007-16, permittees put seven of the allotments into non-use, due to inadequate forage and water, and actual use was 9,856 livestock AUMs, according to a 2018 Environmental Assessment.
- The 660,610-acres Eagle HMA is home to an estimated 2,253 wild horses with a BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 100-210 horses, or as low as one horse for every 6,606 acres. Last year, 303 wild horses were removed from the HMA because of what the agency said were emergency drought conditions. By comparison, six cattle and sheep grazing allotments have at least 37% of their acreage overlapping the Eagle HMA. The 10-year average annual use on those allotments was 28,732 Animal Unit Months, according to 2018 BLM planning documents.
- The 575,460-acres Silver King HMA is home to an estimated 365 wild horses and has an AML of 60-128. By comparison, BLM allocates up to 74,562 AUM on eight livestock grazing areas that overlap the HMA. Actual use from 2007-17 was about 34,301, according to 2017 BLM planning documents. Last year, 996 wild horses were captured and removed from the Silver King HMA in a helicopter roundup “to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses.
Removed wild horses are to be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Fallon, Nev., where they will be prepared for the BLM’s adoption and sale program.