Goshute trapping ends with 135 wild horses captured, two dead

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Wild horses in holding following the 2017 Owyhee roundup in Northern Nevada. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday ended its bait and water trapping of wild horses that the agency says were venturing from Nevada’s Goshute Herd Management Area and across a roadway to water on private land.

From July 2-12, 135 wild horses (57 studs, 56 mares and 22 foals) were captured and removed.

Two black stallions captured on July 3 were euthanized for what BLM calls “a hopeless prognosis for recovery due to a pre-existing condition”: the first, estimated to be more than 20 years old, suffered from blindness; the second, about 15 years old, from lameness due to a poorly healed hip injury.

BLM says that the captured wild horses were leaving the 250,800-acre Goshute Herd Management Area, the southern portion of which the agency describes as having “limited water resources”: “only small seeps that are mainly found in the mountains.” The horses were then travelling across Alternate U.S. Highway 93 and onto 80 acres of private land to Ferguson Springs, which is located about 22 miles southwest of Wendover, Nevada.

The captured wild horses were transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Fallon, Nevada. They will be seperated by age and gender, then offered for adoption, with those passed over moved to a long-term holding pasture, according to a press release.

The Goshute Herd Management Area has a BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 73-124 wild horses. According to 2017 agency planning documents, the population in and just outside the HMA stood at an estimated 1,429.

Livestock grazing on the Herd Management Area is managed by BLM with the neighboring Badlands Allotment. The maximum allotted 1,483 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) for grazing was used for sheep at about 65% of capacity from 2007-17, according to planning documents. One AUM is forage for 1 horse, 1 cow/calf pair, 5 sheep for one month.

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