CASPER, Wyo. — The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming began efforts in October to remove approximately 2,400 wild horses from herd management areas in the Red Desert Wild Horse Complex.
BLM Wyoming has been working to remove horses from the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek herd management areas (HMAs), which span 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land.
The wild horse complex had about 3,000 horses before the gather operations began. BLM Wyoming says the “appropriate management level” is between 480-724 horses.
BLM Wyoming have also been returning some of the mares and the stallions that have been gathered in order to “ensure genetic variability and preserve the New World Iberian genotype present in the complex.” Mares which are returned are being treated with temporary fertility control.
A federal contractor is conducting the gather for the BLM using a helicopter to locate and herd the horses toward corrals.
“The helicopter is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse to lead the gathered horses into the corrals,” BLM Wyoming says. “If needed, the ground crew may assist the helicopter by roping the horses from horseback.”
“The BLM takes very seriously the humane treatment of wild horses and burros during gather operations. Helicopters have been shown to be the most humane method to gather horses.”
Throughout the gather, BLM Wyoming has been providing updates of daily gather operations. They said that bad weather forced the suspension of gather operations Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week.
BLM Wyoming has detailed daily gather operations as follows:
- Nov. 7: 27 horses were gathered from outside of the Red Desert Complex
- Nov. 6: High winds suspended gather operations but 20 mares treated with temporary fertility control were returned to the Crooks Mountain HMA
- Nov. 5: 50 horses gather in the Green Mountain HMA
- Nov. 4: 24 horses gathered in the Crooks Mountaion HMA
- Nov. 3: 81 horses gathered in the Crooks Mountain HMA. 16 mares and two stallions released back into Antelope Hills HMA
- Nov. 2: 98 horses gathered in the Crooks Mountain HMA
- Nov. 1: 14 stallion released back into the Antelope Hills HMA
- Oct. 31: 76 horses gathered in the Antelope Hills HMA
- Oct. 30: 107 horses gathered in the Antelope Hills HMA
- Oct. 29: 178 horses gathered in the Antelope Hills HMA
- Oct. 28: 188 horses gathered in the Antelope Hills HMA
- Oct. 27: 12 stallions and 13 mares returned to Lost Creek HMA
- Oct. 26: 61 horses gathered in the Lost Creek HMA
- Oct. 25: operations cancelled due to weather
- Oct. 24: 113 horses gathered in the Lost Creek HMA
- Oct. 23: 263 horses gathered in the Lost Creek HMA
- Oct. 22: operations cancelled due to weather
- Oct. 21: 13 horses gathered from non-herd management area lands
- Oct. 20: 73 horses gathered from non-herd management area lands
- Oct. 19: operations cancelled due to weather
- Oct. 18: 121 horses gathered
- Oct. 16 and 17: 46 mares, 44 stallions released back into the Stewart Creek HMA
- Oct. 15: 78 horses gathered from the Stewart Creek HMA
- Oct. 14: operations cancelled due to high winds
- Oct. 13: 75 horses gathered from the Stewart Creek HMA
- Oct. 12: 84 horses gathered from the Stewart Creek HMA
- Oct. 11: operations cancelled due to weather
- Oct. 10: 112 horses gathered
BLM Wyoming says that the wild horses removed from the population are being transported to holding facilities in Rock Springs and Canon City, Colorado along with other locations.
The horse are freeze branded, vaccinated, dewormed and given a Coggins test when they are removed.
“Some of the horses will be taken to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland for gentling before being made available for adoption,” BLM Wyoming says. “Gathered wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program.”
“If you are interested in taking home a wild horse from this gather, please get pre-approved and get ready for the first events in the New Year.”