Daily Reports: Eagle Complex Roundup 2020

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Caliente and Cedar City field offices announced on January 9, 2020, that they would begin a  roundup wild horses from in and around the Eagle Complex located near Pioche, Nev. on January 13. The Complex consists of the Chokecherry, Eagle, and Mt. Elinor Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

The BLM will roundup 1,700 wild horses and remove up to 1,600. The BLM will treat up to 50 mares with the fertility control vaccine GonaCon-Equine and release the mares with an equal number of stallions.

The BLM estimates the current population for the 743,000 acre Eagle Complex is 2,484 wild horses, including the 2019 foal crop. The arbitrary Appropriate Management Level (AML) is 139-265 wild horses -- that equates to 1 horse per every 2,803 - 5,345 acres. 

Helicopters last descended on the Eagle Complex less than two years ago when the BLM removed 303 horses from their federally-designated habitat.

On January 10, AWHC sent a legal letter to the BLM asking for the postponement of the roundup, citing a violation of the public’s First Amendment rights. The BLM did not list this roundup operation on its public schedule, only provided 3 days’ notice, and is not planning to provide observation until possibly the second day of the roundup, January 14th. These parameters are a major shift in the agency’s own practices.

The BLM did no respond to our letter but postponed the roundup until Thursday, January 16, 2020. 

The roundup concluded on February 21, 2020 with 1,704 mustangs captured, leaving 23 dead. 

February 21, 2020 - 48 wild horses were rounded up and removed and there were 4 deaths:

  • 1-year-old bay stallion was euthanized due to crooked back 

  • 25-year-old bay stallion was euthanized due to body condition 

  • 20-year-old bay mare was euthanized due to body condition score because she reportedly had "no teeth"

  • 18-year-old bay stallion with a "blind left eye" was euthanized 

February 20, 2020 - 99 wild horses were taken from their home on our public lands and one death after a 5-year-old bay stallion; broke his neck during sorting.

February 19, 2020 - 21 mustangs were rounded up and removed and there was one death - a 5-year-old bay mare with severe club foot was euthanized by BLM.

February 18, 2020 - 79 wild horses were captured today and there was one death: a 20-year-old bay mare; due to broken neck during sorting.

February 17, 2020 - According to BLM reports, 72 (30 stallions, 42 mares) were rounded up and removed from public lands. This brings the total to so far to 1,457 wild horses captured, 16 dead.

February 16, 2020 - According to BLM reports, 20 (10 stallions, 10 mares) were rounded up and removed

February 15, 2020 - According to BLM reports, 40 (21 stallions, 19 mares) were rounded up and removed

February 14, 2020 - According to BLM reports, 37 wild horses (18 stallions, 19 mares) were rounded up and removed

February 13, 2020 - According to BLM reports 23 wild horses were rounded up and removed (11 stallions, 12 mares)

February 12, 2020 - According to BLM reports, 2 mares were captured

February 11, 2020 - According to BLM reports, there was no roundup operation today due to high winds

February 10, 2020 -  According to BLM reports, 28 wild horses would be captured (8 studs, 20 mares)

February 9, 2020 - 0 Horses Captured, Inclement Weather - 1 Horse Euthanized

The roundup was called off today once our observer got out to the trap site. The weather was getting fairly windy and there were snow flurries. 1 horse was euthanized nonetheless due to a mouth deformity.


cleared land

Cleared public land, presumably for livestock grazing. 


February 8, 2020 -  27 Wild Horses Captured, 1 Dead

AWHC's observer was one of 4 members of the public onsite to view the roundup operation. The trap site was located about two miles away from where the BLM placed the public which made it extremely difficult to view anything and was made worse by a hill in front of the mouth of the trap obscuring the horses coming in. BLM representatives agreed that that the distance was terrible, but "did not see a closer spot" when scouting locations. 

The helicopters brought horses in from about 5-miles out. In the first run, the helicopter contractor brought in seven horses on a second attempt. The pilot is new and is not skilled. In the second run of the day, 7 mustangs were captured. In the third run of the day, 4 horses were chased but all went uphill above the trap and evaded captured. The helicopter gave chase several miles northeast, then 1 horse split off and helicopter chased the remaining 3, which ran 2 miles southeast through the trees, crossed the road, kept running another 2 miles southeast towards the mountains,  after more circling and the pilot gave up.

27 mustangs were captured in total, and a 1-year-old sorrel stallion, who according to BLM was blind in his left eye, was euthanized.

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February 7, 2020 - 6 horses captured, the death toll remains at 13

In frigid cold temperatures, BLM contractor Troy Cattoor and his wranglers conducted one run with the helicopter yesterday morning, capturing 6 wild horses - three stallions and three mares.

On the way to the trap site in the morning, AWHC’s representative observed a Great Pyrenees dog lying dead beside the remote, dirt road. The dog was one of three beautiful Pyrennes sheep herding dogs seen in the area on each day guarding the large flocks of sheep grazing on the public lands in the area. Our observer reports, “I'm bringing this up because it is important to note the impact of these roundups on surrounding life (and wildlife) if people are careless or impatient or not paying attention. This dog was chasing my car two days ago trying to herd the vehicle; I had to dodge him carefully and stop a few times to avoid him, it was somewhat amusing at the time. It seems someone else was less aware, or less caring, or less skilled to avoid hitting him. That's a shame.”



Our observer was the only member of the public onsite this day. He was placed so far from the trapsite that observation of the horses being driven in by helicopter was impossible.

Eagle FEB 7

Temporary Holding

This is where the horses are brought immediately after being captured and often are forced to stay overnight in cold temperatures. Our observer reports: “I observed Monday 2/3 that the horses did not have hay easily accessible. Today I saw a contractor crew member giving fresh green hay to the horses. I arrived as he was spreading the hay around; until he did that, there appeared to be no reachable hay for the horses.”

Horses held in frigid conditions must have access to sufficient water and hay. BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program standards require that all horses or burros held in pens for longer than 12 hours must be fed every morning and evening with water available at all times. Good quality hay must be fed at a minimum rate of 20 pounds per 1000 pound adult animal per day, adjusted accordingly for larger or smaller horses, burros and foals.Hay placement must allow all WH&Bs to eat simultaneously.

green hay




There have been 14 horse deaths so far at this roundup. One 5-year old mare colicked and was put down by contractors and 13 additional horses were killed by the contractor due to “pre-existing conditions.” Four horses were killed because they had “a missing eye;” others were killed because they were swayback or in poor body condition.

1,209 wild horses have been captured so far. The roundup continues today.

February 6, 2020 - 47 Wild Horses Lose Their Freedom

AWHC's observer was one of 5 members of the public onsite to document the roundup operation. 

The observation point was again at the top of the hill (over 1 mile away); the other advocate onsite had been allowed on Saturday to view from a closer area at the road (1/4 mile closer), and they asked if we could also have that vantage point; BLM allowed us to be at the road. There was only one run. A lot of horses were captured in it, a very large band. The 2 helicopters worked in tandem on the same group. One pilot stayed to the South East (trap side) preventing the horses from running out into the open areas (as the horses had done the day prior), and the other pilot pushed in from the North along the mountainside which drove the horses into the trap.

Afterward, they brought us to see the loading transfer from the trap pen into the horse trailers. The close vantage point allowed our rep to see the now captive horses in distress; one tried to jump out of the pen. Others tried to jump out of the trailer. 

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February 5, 2020 - 81 Wild Horses Captured, 1 Death

AWHC's observer was onsite to view today's roundup operations. The observation point was located about 1 mile from the trap site. This distance, combined with the heat waves made it very difficult for even a telephoto lens to make out the shape of the horses. The distance was unnecessary and inconvenient. BLM is supposed to provide meaningful observation but the areas in which members of the public are placed seem to be getting worse.

Multiple bands were attempted to be captured at one time using two helicopters. In one attempt horses broke free and jumped the jute, three of them getting entangles in it simultaneously, which brought the entire section of the jute down and allowed an entire band to escape. A subsequent attempt of the same group was successful in capturing the mustangs, but a foal was separated. Our representative could overhear the BLM radio that the foal was being attempted for, though we did not observe him being brought in. At that point, the helicopter refueled. It wasn't until 45 minutes later that the BLM announced they successfully retrieved the foal, though we did not witness it firsthand. This is part of the problem with being places so far away from the trap site - we have to take the agency at its word, without any visual confirmation. 

An hour later, 2 helicopters simultaneously chased horses. Initially, each chased separate bands, and then in tandem where one pilot would try to redirect a band that missed the jute entrance. Only one band was caught. The horses dispersed into smaller bands frequently and also avoided the trap each pass. After about 20 minutes the helicopters gave up the pursuit and left. 

On Sunday, a captured mare in the pens went down and they gave her meds. Today she was down again and they euthanized her citing colic. 

Eagle Feb 5

Eagle Feb 5

Eagle Feb 5

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February 4, 2020 -  Mustangs Evaded Capture Resulting in 0 Horses Removed

AWHC's field representative was onsite to view the daily operations. The observation area was located at a primitive campsite on a cliff/hill approximately 1.5 miles from the trap site, which was placed on an irrigated field of an agriculture operation. It was extremely cold, at about 10 degrees farenheit. 

One band of horses was able to evade capture by running past the opening of the jute funnel. After unsuccessful chases, the horses broke into two smaller bands and ran off into the trees; then the roundup was called off due to wind. There were 0 horses captured today.

Eagle Feb 4

Eagle fEB 4

Eagle February 4

February 3, 2020 - 0 Horses Removed Today. 1,075 Wild Horses Removed So Far, 13 Dead.

AWHC's representative was onsite to view the roundup operations. It was 15 degrees Fahrenheit plus a wind chill. The helicopters ended up not flying today because of wind, though the contractors relayed that there were 12 horses nearby that they were going to "try" and capture if the wind died down. 

We were able to view the short-term holding area and watch horses in the pens being loaded to be transferred to the Palomino Valley Holding Center outside of Reno. 

Eagle Roundup Feb 3

Eagle Roundup - Feb 3

Eagle Roundup - Feb 3

Eagle Roundup - Feb 3

February 2, 2020 - 0 Horses Removed, 1 Death

There was no roundup operation today due to high winds. However, the BLM euthanized a 5-year-old grulla mare because she had a swayback. 

February 1, 2020 - 126  Mustangs Removed

According to BLM reports, 126 wild horses were captured and removed from public lands (60 stallions, 66 mares).

January 31, 2020 - 54 Wild Horses Captured

According to BLM reports, 54 (21 studs, 33 mares) were captured in the roundup operation.

January 30, 2020 - 40 Wild Horses Lose Their Freedom

According to BLM reports, 40 wild horses were rounded up and removed (17 stallions, 23 mares).

January 29, 2020 - No Wild Horses Captured

Due to weather conditions, the operation was postponed for the day.

January 28, 2020 - 82 Mustangs Removed from the Range

According to BLM reports, 82 wild horses were rounded up and removed - (43 stallions, 29 mares)

January 27, 2020 - 41 Wild Horses Removed 

According to BLM reports, 41 wild horses were rounded up and removed, and a  6-year-old bay stallion swayback and a 6-year-old bay stallion missing a right eye were euthanized by BLM.

January 26, 2020 - 65 Mustangs Rounded Up and Removed

According to BLM reports, 65 wild horses were rounded up and removed from their home on our public lands (30 stallion, 35 mares)

January 25, 2020 -  82 Wild Horses Removed, 2 Deaths

According to BLM reports, 82 mustangs were captured and removed and there were 2 deaths.

The BLM euthanized a 9-year-old grey mare with swayback and another 11-year-old grey mare in poor body condition. 

January 24, 2020 - 44 Wild Horses Rounded Up

According to BLM reports, 44 (21 stallions, 23 mares) wild horses were rounded up and removed. 

January 23, 2020 - 21 Wild Horse Captured and Removed

According to BLM reports, 21 wild horses were captured and removed from the Eagle Complex in Nevada.

January 22, 2020 - 27 Mustangs Captured, 1 Dead.

According to BLM reports,  27 (13 stallions, 14 mares) wild horses were captured and removed from their home on our public lands and there was one death: A 5-year-old Sorrel mare missing eye was killed.

Yesterday, members of the AWHC team were checking on the mustangs at the Palomino Valley Holding Facility and got to take a look at wild horses recently rounded up from the Eagle Complex. Horses are in beautiful shape despite winter conditions and continued claim that wild horses starving to death. 



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January 21, 2020 - 53 Mustangs Removed, 2 Dead

According to BLM reports, 53 wild horses were rounded up and removed (19 stallions, 34 mares) and there were 2 deaths.

  • A 7-year-old Sorrel stallion was killed because he was missing his right eye, and an 8-year-old Bay mare with swayback was also killed. 

January 20, 2020 - 89 Wild Mustangs Captured and Removed from Their Home

According to BLM reports, 89 wild horses were captured (38 stallions, 51 mares)

January 19, 2020 - 56 Wild Horses Captured, 1 Dead

According to BLM reports, 56 wild horses were rounded up and removed (35 stallions, 31 mares), and a 2-year-old Bay stallion was killed. 

January 18, 2020 - 112 Wild Horses Removed, 2 Dead

According to BLM reports, 112 wild horses were rounded up and removed from our public lands. 49 stallions and 63 mares.

  • There were two deaths: a 2-year-old sorrel mare and a 2-year-old bay stallion were euthanized due to body condition. 

January 17, 2020 - 103 Wild Horses Captured, 2 Dead

According to BLM daily reports, 103 wild horses (42 stallions, 61 mares8) were rounded up and removed in temperatures ranging from 14 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.  The BLM euthanized two mustangs:

  • 3-year-old Bay mare missing her right eye 

  • 2-year-old Bay mare with a swayback 

January 16, 2020 - 80 Federally-Protected Wild Horses Lose Their Freedom

According to BLM daily reports, 80 wild horses ( 80 (40 stallions 40 Mares) were rounded up and removed in temperatures ranging from 10 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit.