The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada’s Ely District Bristlecone Field Office began wild horse gather operations on Sept. 25 in the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope herd management area (HMA), 60 miles north of Ely, Nevada. The agency is using bait and water to gather the horses.
The BLM has set the appropriate management level for the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope HMA at 30-35 wild horses. Management objectives are to maintain a 50/50 ratio of stallions to mares. So, the agency will gather all the horses in the area. All mares released back to the HMA will be retreated with the fertility-control vaccine GonaCon-Equine to reduce foaling rates and overall population growth. Following the gather, the BLM might offer some of the younger horses gathered for adoption at the White Pine County Fairgrounds; additional details will be announced as they become available. The BLM will transport all removed horses to the Indian Lakes off-range corrals in Fallon, Nevada, where they will be prepared for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro adoption program.
The gather is part of the 10-year Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program, which the BLM said will provide the opportunity to determine GonaCon-Equine’s effectiveness on a small group of wild horses in a controlled environment with the possibility of expanded usage in future years, depending on the program’s results.
The program’s goal is to stabilize and maintain a population of 30-35 wild horses within the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope HMA. The management number is based on range conditions, water availability, and acreage comparisons, as well as seasonal movement during the summer and drier winter months, the agency said.
The BLM said project supporters include the Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council; Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine County Commissions; and Nevada Department of Agriculture, and local resident and wild horse advocate Jeanne Nations is the volunteer project coordinator.
The Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program Final Environmental Assessment, Decision Record, and Finding of No Significant Impacts can be viewed at on.doi.gov/1PKK0Jg. Additional gather information is available on the BLM Nevada gather and removal website.
For more information, contact Ben Noyes, BLM Ely District wild horse and burro specialist, at 775/ 289-1836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.