BLM to gather wild horses in Pine Nut Mountains

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The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday it will begin to remove 575 wild horses from the Pine Nut Mountains herd management area near Carson City next week.

BLM stated it will begin the operaton “on or about” Wednesday. All horses removed will be transported to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Reno where they will be checked by a veterinarian and prepared for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption and sale program.

Public Affairs Specialist Lisa Ross said Friday the proposed gather doesn’t affect the Fish Springs Herd.

BLM stated its operation is to reduce the overpopulation of wild horses in the area. It stated excessive grazing by the horses has already degraded sage-grouse habitat and reduced the amount of native grass both inside and outside the management area. Because of lack of forage and water within the management area, horses have been moving into residential areas and roadways, creating a public safety issue, BLM said.

In March, the BLM estimated about 775 wild horses roamed the Pine Nut Mountains management area, which is more than four times the number the area can support.

Due to the overpopulation, an increasing number of horses have left the management area in search of food and water, creating traffic hazards, conflicts with local property owners, and other public safety issues, the BLM stated. Within the last year, three horses have been killed in vehicle accidents outside of the management area.

The Sierra Front Field Office is conducting the gather operation, which is expected to last approximately two weeks. The gather area is located south of Dayton and east of Carson City and Gardnerville, within Lyon, Douglas, and Carson counties. The appropriate management level for Pine Nut Mountains is 118-179 wild horses, BLM said. Approximately 200 wild horses will remain in the Pine Nut Mountain range once the gather is completed. The gather will be conducted by helicopter.

The BLM stated it and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses. The contractor for this gather is Sampson Livestock of Meadow, Utah.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to view gather operations, provided it doesn’t jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff, or observers, and doesn’t disrupt gather operations. The BLM will offer observation opportunities at the gather site; however, public observation may be limited when operations take place on private land.

Limited first-come, first serve observation will be held daily at temporary holding when observation isn’t available at the gather site. Members of the public must email to request to observe gather operations at least 24 hours prior to the date they would like to attend. Please put “Pine Nut Wild Horse Request” in the subject line. A confirmation will be sent to individuals with instructions on when and where to meet. The BLM anticipates viewing opportunities will be limited due to logistics in regards to private land, terrain and weather.

The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-C020-2016-0020-EA Pine Nut Mountains Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on Nov. 28, 2017. Access the decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at

Once the gather is underway, the BLM will post gather reports and additional information on its website at For technical information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, John Axtell, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at 775-885-6146 or

For information on how to bring home a wild horse or burro, visit


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