Roundup Report: Blue Wing Complex Horses and Burros

 

On July 8, 2024, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began a wild horse and burro roundup in Nevada’s Blue Wing Complex. As of 2022, the complex is around 2,283,000 acres of public lands. The BLM is paying C D Warner Livestock LLC $624,870 to drive the animals into traps with helicopters. The operation seeks to gather and remove 1,373 horses and 356 burros. Of the captured horses, 40 of them will be treated with fertility control. This 2024 roundup seeks to reduce wild horse and burro population size to achieve the BLM’s Appropriate Management Level (AML).

 

AWHC is on the ground to document this roundup. Read our daily reports below

Date: July 19, 2024

Location: Shawave HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Sunny. Low of 64 degrees, high of 92 with a light breeze

 

Summary: First roundup occurred shortly after 8:00am. Horses were herded by helicopter for over an hour before reaching the trap. At 9:00am the first trailer left with captured horses to take to temporary holding. Before 10:00am a second band, including two foals, was run into the trap. Between 10:00am and 10:30am, another two trailers full of horses left. At approximately 10:40am, a wrangler came in with a foal. A last run was made by the helicopter as well, bringing yet another band into the trap. One horse fell behind and was roped and brought it.

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

Captured: 32 (12 Stallions, 11 Mares, and 9 Foals) 0 (0 Jacks, 0 Jennies and 0 Foals)

Shipped: 85 (38 Stallions, 25 Mares, and 22 Foals)  0 (0 Jacks, 0 Jennies and 0 Foals)

 

3 Deaths.

  • 1 year old bay mare euthanized due to broken neck

  • 16 year old roan stallion euthanized due to lameness in right hip

  • Buckskin foal euthanized due to deformed front legs

Observations and Events: During the last run, the helicopter pilot pushed horses from a far distance and was unsuccessful in trapping them. Consequently, horses were left without immediate or close access to water after the long run towards the traps.

Observers witnessed one roping of a horse and noted that the overhead bars of the temporary holding pens were unpadded, which is a BLM violation. 

Lone foal being roped.

Helicopter pushing band of horses into trap.

Date: July 18, 2024

 

Location: Shawave Mountains HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Temperatures were between 75 and 92 degrees. Sunny skies with winds at 5-7 MPH.  
 

Summary: The observers were .81 miles away from the trap site. 1 horse hit a panel at the trap site on the last run and fell down, but got up. The trap appeared to be set up in accordance with CAWP, however there does not seem to be padding on the overhead bar. Towards the end of the day the trap/catch pen should have been watered down to avoid excessive dust, but there was no dust abatement. There were no ropings today. Temporary Holding was on private land at C Punch Ranch. The animals were brought to Axtell Holding in Utah, a private short-term holding facility. There were 5 deaths today. All were euthanized. 

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 112 (41 Stallions, 49 Mares, and 22 Foals) 0 (0 Jacks, 0 Jennies and 0 Foals)

 

Observations and Events:

  • 1 horse hit a panel at the trap site on the last run and fell down, but got up.
  • No dust abatement. 
  • No padding on the overhead bar.
  • 5 deaths
     

5 deaths:

12-year-old, Bay stallion euthanized due to lameness, i.e., previous injury to right rear hock.

20-year-old, Roan mare euthanized due to heart disease-failure.

9-year-old, Sorrel stallion euthanized due to lameness, i.e., previous injury to front right knee.

12-year-old, Bay mare euthanized due to broken left hind leg.

25-plus-year-old, Gray stallion euthanized due to poor body condition 

Photos to come.

 

 

July 17, 2024:

Location: Observation site on Shawave HA. However, observers were notified the contractors were rounding up from the Selenite HA.

 

Weather Conditions: Sunny with a low of 67 and high of 92, winds 5-10 mph

 

Summary: Today’s trap appeared to be compliant with BLM standards, however, observers noted the overhead bars lacked appropriate padding; a foal was able to push his head through the bars on the catch pen. Three members of the public attended the roundup and witnessed depleted horses and foals falling behind, running through trap fencing, and helicopters pushing horses from beyond the designated perimeter.  One of our observers captured on video (posted below) of a lone stallion taking a serious fall whilst being roped.

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

169 (69 Stallions, 70 Mares, and 30 Foals) Captured

76 (50 Stallions, 26 Mares, and 0 Foals) Shipped 

A lone stallion being pushed by the helicopter; eventually two ropers start chasing him. Sprinting away from the ropers, the horse takes a shocking fall. Observers unsure if the horse survived the tumble, the stallion ultimately rose, roped, and attempted to continue running but to no avail.

 

Large herd running and a young foal being roped.

Horses getting agitated in trap.

Another lone young foal roped.

July 16, 2024:

Location: Truckee Range HA

 

Weather: Sunny with a low of 73 and high of 94, winds 8-17 mph

 

Summary: Operations, conducted by C D Warner Livestock, appeared to be in compliance with BLM standards. Temperatures were rising through the early morning, nearing a premature ending to the roundup. By the third to last run, a stallion was pushed to the trap; five wranglers had to rope him in. The Truckee Range HA is now zeroed out.

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

74 (23 Stallions, 35 Mares, and 16 Foals) 0 (0 Jacks, 0 Jennies and 0 Foals) Captured

70 (21 Stallions, 34 Mares, and 15 Foals)  0 (0 Jacks, 0 Jennies and 0 Foals) Shipped

 

Helicopter pushing herds of horses to trap.

Horses loaded for transportation to C Punch Ranch.

Horses being closely rounded and pushed by the helicopter into the trap.

Horses being paddled into trap, crowded and stressful. Loaded immediately into trucks.

Large horse herds running into the trap, shrouded in clouds of dust.

Helicopter pushing a lone horse; observations distorted by heat haze.

Five contractors roping a lone stallion.

 

July 15, 2024:

Location: Shawave Mountains HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Hotter than yesterday. Mid 90s by the time the roundups ended.

 

Summary: The trap was the same as yesterday, but visibility was worse due to heat distortion. There was reportedly an issue in temporary holding regarding a loose foal; the helicopter hovered for a while until the foal was returned. A few horses evaded the trap today. One horse was eventually captured but several others, including a burro, avoided the trap. Two trailers went to temporary holding from the trap after the roundups were complete. 

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

28 (12 Stallions, 10 Mares, and 6 Foals) Captured

126 (48 Stallions, 51 Mares, and 27 Foals) Shipped

 

3 Deaths.

  • 3-year-old, Grulla stallion euthanized due to club foot, right front.
  • 11-year-old, Bay mare euthanized due to developmental deformity, right hind leg.
  • 17-year-old, Bay stallion euthanized due to fractured front left shoulder.

 

July 14, 2024: 

Location: Shawave Mountains HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Temperatures were between 70 and 86 degrees. Some rain showers with gusts of wind up to 11 MPH.  

 

Summary: Today’s roundup began at 7:45am when the first helicopters began flying. They made six runs, bringing in a total of 119 horses. There was only one public observer today and the trap entrance was not visible from the observation point. However, horses were able to be seen as they were brought into the catch pen just before they entered the trap. 

 

No deaths or injuries were observed, but many foals and a few weak horses fell behind during the runs. We also witnessed the contractors separating foals from their mothers and roping horses; there was a lot of whinnying. 

 

Both holding facilities are private property (temporary at C-Punch; short-term at Axtell), and so, public observation is prohibited.

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

119 (51 Stallions, 44 Mares, and 24 Foals) Captured

87 (36 Stallions, 25 Mares, and 26 Foals) Shipped

1 (1 Stallion, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals) Released

 

3 Deaths.

  • 5-year-old, Bay stallion euthanized due to severe arthritis in front right knee.
  • 20-year-old, Black stallion euthanized due to severe arthritis in front right knee.
  • 16-year-old, Dun mare euthanized due to deformed right front leg.

 

July 13, 2024: 

Weather Conditions: Sunny with a low of 74 and high of 95, winds 8-15 mph.

 

Summary: AWHC is on the ground at the Blue Wing Complex. 

AWHC’s roundup observer Monica Ross met the BLM at 4:45 am at the Toulon exit off of 1-80. Together they caravanned to the trap location. By 6:12 am the helicopter was in the air. At the start, the temp was at 80° F, and winds were 2-4 MPH.

 

The first run came in at 8:12 am and the second came in at 9:36 am. Both times the contractor brought the horses down from the area behind the mountain. The BLM told Ross that told that they were bringing the mustangs in from areas outside the HMA. She was unable able to see how many came in due to distance and heat. The perimeter that he is allowed to fly from trap is set at 5 miles. At 10:22 the BLM called it a day. Temp was at 99°F. 

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

42 (13 Stallions, 19 Mares, and 10 Foals) Captured

10 (6 Stallions, 4 Mares, and 0 Foals) and 50 (14 Jacks, 34 Jennies and 2 Foals) Shipped

 

2 Deaths.

  • 5-year-old, Bay stallion euthanized due to fractured left hind leg.

  • 15-year-old, Sorrel stallion euthanized due to severe arthritis in front left knee.

 

Ross went to temp holding and view is obstructed by farm/ranching equipment as we are only allowed outside the fence line. 

 

July 12, 2024:  

Weather Conditions: Sunny with a low of 79 and high of 95, winds 2-15 mph.

 

Summary: Today is the beginning of the BLM rounding up wild horses in the Blue Wing Complex. The first run came in with approximately 25 burros. After this, there were 2 more runs bringing in wild horses and then the BLM ended the roundup for the day due to heat. The view of the trap was extremely obstructed.  

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

94 (39 Stallions, 36 Mares, and 19 Foals) 25 (10 Jacks, 13 Jennies and 2 Foals) Captured

0 (0 Stallions, 0 Mares, and 0 Foals)  141 (61 Jacks, 60 Jennies and 20 Foals)

 

Deaths: 2

  • 5-year-old, Gray jenny died due to Colic.

  • 2-year-old, Pinto jenny found deceased on truck upon arrival at Indian Lakes Off-Range Corrals.

 

July 11, 2024:
Location: Porter Springs, 7 Troughs HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Sunny with a low of 75°and high of 95°, winds 2-5 mph
 

Summary: Our observer was placed over a mile away from the trap site with extremely obstructed visibility. When the helicopters pushed the burros toward the site, they came in from behind a hill, which obstructed our observer's view of the burros as they approached the trap. All Burros were shipped to Axtell Holding facility and 77 to Indian Lakes in Fallon, NV.

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

27 (17 Jacks, 7 Jennies and 3 Foals)


Observations and Events: 

• Some burros were roped

• Cattle present

• Very difficult to see trap site
 

Photos and videos

A burro is roped in the distance
 

Blue Wing burros
 

Other wildlife in the area
 


Blue Wing Horses
 

 

July 10, 2024:

Location: Porter Springs, 7 Troughs HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Sunny with a low of 68 and high of 93, winds 2-10 mph

 

Summary

Two members of the public were present. Over a mile away and behind a hill, the trap was barely visible to observers. Temperatures rose to 93° and prematurely concluded operations by 10:30 a.m.; the National Weather Service has extended the Excessive Heat Warning until Saturday. According to BLM reports, 50 burros were trapped, all of which (54) were shipped. One death occurred. Transported to private property (C-Punch Ranch) for temporary holding, public observation was unavailable.

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

50 (33 Jacks, 12 Jennies and 5 Foals) Captured

54 (18 Jacks, 36 Jennies and 0 Foals) Shipped

 

One death.

  • 20-plus-year-old, Gray jack euthanized due to severe arthritis in front right knee. 

 

Observations and Events: 

  • Trap visibility was low; it was over a mile away and behind a hill.
  • Four burros coming for water at Porter Spring got captured.
  • The helicopter separated the burros from cattle before pushing the burros towards the trap.
  • One of the burros hung back and was later roped by a crew on horseback.
  • By the time operations finished, all that remained were cattle; all burros near Porter Springs were captured and removed.
  • The cattle have ear tags and brands belonging to C-Punch; C-Punch Ranch also happens to be the temporary holding contracted by the BLM. No public observation was allowed.

 

Photos and videos:

Burros at Porter Springs before being trapped.

Burros being pushed past a cattle herd.

Burros coming in for water, soon to be rounded up.

View of burros being pushed behind a hill into the trap.

End of today’s operations, only cattle remain.

Cattle with C-Punch ear tags.
 

July 9, 2024:

Location: Lava Beds HMA

 

Weather Conditions: Sunny with a low of 66 and high of 93, winds 2-10 mph

 

Summary: 

There were 3 members of the public present. Placed in a ravine, Visibility of the trap was obstructed and shrouded in clouds of dust. By 7:30 a.m., temperatures reached 90°F and ended operations early (10 a.m.) at a temperature of 94°F. Afterwards, 54 burros were shipped to holding. 

 

Total Captured Today (from BLM reports): 

114 (60 Jacks, 50 Jennies and 4 Foals) Captured

 

5 deaths. 

  • 15-year-old, Gray jenny found deceased on trailer upon arrival at temporary holding.
  • 2-year-old, Gray jack euthanized due to fractured leg.
  • 20-plus-year-old, Gray jack euthanized due to club foot.
  • 4-year-old, Brown jenny euthanized due to deformed front legs.
  • 18-year-old, Brown jenny euthanized due to deformed front feet.

 

Observations and Events: 

  • Low visibility of trap site; placed ½ a mile away in a ravine.
  • Observers only saw a cloud of dust approaching the trap.
  • Burros were roped.
  • Gathers stopped by 10 a.m. at 94°F. The National Weather Service has listed an Excessive Heat Warning for the area until Friday. 
  • Temporary holding on private property, allowing no viewing.

 

Photos and videos

View of trap site.

View of trap site

Helicopters pushing burros towards the trap.

Helicopters pushing burros towards the trap.

Horseback riders pushing burros into the trap.

Horseback riders pushing burros into the trap.

As burros enter the trap, clouds of dust rise from the ravine.

As burros enter the trap, clouds of dust rise from the ravine.

After avoiding the trap, riders approach to rope the escaping burros.

After avoiding the trap, riders approach to rope the escaping burros.

Observer view of temporary holding.

Observer view of temporary holding.