BLM seeks public comment on potential horse gathers

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RBC | The Bureau of Land Management seeks public comment on two potential wild horse gathers planned this summer or fall to help maintain healthy populations of wild horses on healthy lands in northwestern Colorado.

“We are committed to maintaining healthy populations of wild horses in northwestern Colorado for the long-term,” said BLM Northwest Colorado District Manager Andrew Archuleta. “Current wild horse populations in Colorado are as high as they have been since before the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act was passed. To keep these wild horse populations healthy, we need to reduce the populations through gathers as well as maintain an active fertility control program to slow herd growth.”

Wild horse gathers are approved at the national level based on funding and priority. While these two proposed gathers are not currently approved for this year, the BLM Northwest District is developing gather plans in case funding becomes available.

In the Little Snake Field Office outside Maybell, Colo., the BLM is proposing to gather and remove approximately 514 excess wild horses from the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area (HMA) and adjacent areas using bait and water trapping. The BLM estimates the 2018 wild horse population in the HMA and surrounding area is approximately 747 wild horses (677 within the HMA and another 70 outside the HMA boundaries). The established appropriate management level for this HMA is between 163 and 362 wild horses. For more information and to comment on this proposal, go to

In the White River Field Office outside Meeker, Colo., the BLM is proposing to gather all excess wild horses that are outside the designated Piceance-East Douglas HMA, including those in the West Douglas area. The BLM could potentially use all approved gather methods, such as bait-trapping and helicopter drive-trapping. The BLM estimates the current population of wild horses outside the HMA to be 374 wild horses. The BLM is prioritizing the areas outside the HMA, although the population within the HMA is 532 wild horses, well above the established appropriate management level of between 135 and 235 horses. For more information and to comment on this proposal, go to

Wild horses removed through this gather will be taken to the Cañon City holding facility and be made available for adoption or sale.

Comments need to be received by July 5, 2018.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.