Skip to Content

BLM plans helicopter gather of about 450 wild horses east of Burns, adoption, sale of most


HINES, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Bureau of Land Management Burns District announced Friday plans to conduct a helicopter gather of wild horses within and immediately adjacent to the Stinkingwater Herd Management Area beginning in mid-August. The gather is being conducted to remove about 390 excess wild horses.

The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives BLM the direction for protecting and overseeing wild horses and burros on public lands. In managing these animals, the BLM works to maintain a thriving ecological balance that supports healthy horses on healthy rangelands.

The Stinkingwater HMA is located approximately 25 air miles east of Burns, in Harney County. The Appropriate Management Level – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – for this area is 40 to 80 horses and the current population is about 449, the agency said.

Animals gathered from the range will be transported to Oregon’s Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Hines. There, about 30 horses will be selected for return to the HMA, 18 of which will be mares treated with GonaCon-Equine contraceptive and then released. The remaining horses will be prepared for adoption or sale into private care or long-term holding in Midwestern states.

The public is welcome to observe the gather. Details will be provided on the 2021 Stinkingwater Wild Horse Gather web page at: .

Supporting National Environmental Policy Act documents for this gather are available on the BLM’s ePlanning web site at .

The gather will likely last 1 to 2 weeks, though exact start and end dates will be determined by the contractor’s availability.

For more information, contact Tara Thissell at or (541) 573-4519.

KTVZ news sources



  1. So,
    “The Appropriate Management Level – for this area is 40 to 80 horses”
    yet … “the current population is about 449”
    Then someone has been feeding the wild horses!
    Otherwise the 350- 400 extra horses couldn’t have been able to survive on land which can only support the 40 to 80 horses.
    OUTRAGEOUS, obviously those “Sagebrush Cowboys” like the Harmans or the Bundys have been keeping their horses on our range lands.

    1. The land is being hammered. Those horses are destroying the land. The desertification is breathtaking. Those horses are hanging by a thread. All of the animals that should be able to live there are being eaten out of house and home by the excess horses. You have 0 evidence that anyone is keeping their personal horses on the land, yet you toss around accusations. How wild that even work? Are those evil cowboys building corrals? Are they hobbling their horses? Are they turning their personal horses out to join the invasive “wild” horses, only to have a roundup later, and cut their personal horses out of the wild herds? Do you really think that?
      These horses are at far above the carrying capacity of the land. Management needs to happen, and I’m thrilled to see it taking place.

    1. Yes, those evil cattleman just keep winning. BLM AUMs down over 50% from the 1950s levels. Forest service HD-MOs down 18% from 2002-2016. I have a feeling you have been fed a line of bovine excrement. This isn’t simply about replacing horses with cows. Environmental management just isn’t that simple. The lands need better management, and they are finally getting it. Check out the movie unbranded for a decent look at the issue.

  2. Good grief cattlemen are not the enemy! They win???? Didn’t realize we were at war with ranchers. We eat the cows they raise. I guess hundreds of non native starving horses are better.

  3. This is too bad. The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives BLM stewardship of these animals. Sadly BLM is an agency that is completely inept at managing much of anything. They can’t even get travel plans or winter deer range signs posted in designated areas. Too bad the horses have to compete with all the cattle that are raised “commercially” on our public lands to satisfy our very expensive meat habit. Also, if birth control is available for the mares..why not treat and release all of them back to Stinkingwater? That “long-term holding in Mid-Western states” is a hideous system of dirt corrals chock full of languishing horses. I do think that humane killing would be preferable to a life sentence in one of those pens.

    1. I agree. Would love to contract with BLM to open my Whinny Wagon food cart. The Bronco Burger would be the featured menu item, but as time goes on could incorporate other food choices such as Sweet and Sour Stallion, Filly Fritters, and the Side Saddle Salad.

    2. Yes, those poor deer couldnt find their way to the winter range due to lack of signage. If your land will support a finite number of animals, why would you round a bunch up, sterilize them,.and then return the excess back to your over worked ground? The idea is to stop the damage now, not a generation from now. I agree that euthanasia would be a suitable solution. Why don’t you adopt?

    1. Yes, and mother nature’s plan didn’t involve feeding you or your family.
      Those horses are non-native and feral. They do have a predator. Us. You included.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content