The Shawave Mountains HMA is managed within the Winnemucca District Office, by the Humboldt River Field Office. The HMA is located in western Pershing County, Nevada approximately 50 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. The area consists of 139,552 acres of BLM land and 37,652 acres of a mix of private and other public lands for a total of 177,204 acres.
The BLM plans to capture approximately 1,600 wild horses and 200 burros, zeroing out the burros entirely as the HMA is "not managed for wild burros".
Approximately 50 mares will be treated with Gona-Con and released back to the HMA.
The BLM expects the operation to take approximately 45-60 days.
About the Area
The terrain in the area consists of north-south trending mountains separated by broad valleys. Elevations within the HMA range from 4,000 feet along the valley floor to 7,771 feet at Juniper Mountain. Climate is characterized by warm dry days, cool nights and low yearly precipitation that ranges from 4 to 6 inches at lower elevations to approximately 10 inches at higher elevations.
Vegetation varies from salt desert shrub communities at lower elevations to big sagebrush/grass communities at upper elevations. Typical species in the salt desert shrub community includes shadscale, budsage, winterfat, black greasewood, indian rice grass, squirrel tail and desert needlegrass. Species typical of the sagebrush/grass communities include low sage, Wyoming sagebrush, desert peach, rabbit brush, needlegrasses, basin wild rye, squirrel tail, indian paintbrush and phlox.
August 24, 2020
75 wild horses were captured and there were 2 deaths:
- A 12-year old, bay stallion was euthanized because he was missing an eye.
- A 20-year old, gray mare was euthanized because he was missing an eye.
The roundup concluded with 1,653 wild horses and 220 wild burros permanently removed. There were 12 deaths.
August 23, 2020
153 wild horses were captured today, bringing the running total to 1,798 wild horses and burros removed from the Shawave HMA. There have been 10 deaths.
It was so dusty that the trap could not be seen. Perhaps due to the water truck initially being stuck (the second truck leaked water last night creating mud today's truck was stuck in), no water was put down to start the day.
Several runs happened, the trap was too dusty to see anything. Two helicopters were used.
Our field rep suffered two flat tires at the same time with only one spare, many miles out on public lands. Thankfully, BLM Public Affairs and another local came to his aide helping with each and assisting by giving a ride back to town and dropping the two flats off at a tire repair center.
August 22, 2020
110 wild horses were rounded up and removed today, and there was one death: A 9-year-old mare suffered a broken neck at the trap.
We were at the same trap site as the past 2 days, up in a canyon. Very silty drive the final mile, 4WD is required. We have to drive approximately 60 miles, 2.5 hours to get to the trap each way, mostly on dirt roads.
Smoke from nearby fires continues to blanket the air in a thick haze. The smell is strong and pungent, reports on radio saying unhealthy to breathe. A water truck hosed down heavily the trap, as well as the silt road leading away from it.
There were several large runs today using two helicopters. We could see and hear horses hitting against the sides of the pen. But because of the dust, heat waves, and far distance the camera was unable to clearly depict these.
As the day went on the haze became thicker and worse; the smell became unbearable.
It became very warm immediately after the sun peaked from the mountain, going from 55 degrees to about 90 degrees in an instant.
The roundup was stopped early after they had the trap full of horses, and it was 90 degrees, which is good they stopped at that temperature but still concerning a roundup was done at all with the smoke inhalation for the people and horses.
August 21, 2020
164 wild horses were captured today.
Smoke from nearby fires covered the area in a thick haze.
August 20, 2020
We had a 4 am meet up today. The BLM caravan drove about 60 miles into public lands on dirt roads.
A nearby wildfire caused smoke to fill the air.
The helicopter contractors called the day-- without any removal of horses-- as the visibility was too low, due to the smoke haze.
Radar reports indicate there is not likely to be a roundup for Friday, and possibly not for Saturday as well, given the amount of smoke cover.
Numerous cows could be seen alongside the road, both between cattle guard areas as well as outside of the cattle guard zones.
On the drive out our field rep detoured a few miles to see the burros at the Porter Spring HMA. The smoke from the fire blanketed the air - the smell was pungent and strong, and the visibility was cut way down to a haze. It's hard to imagine wild horses being chased by helicopters in these conditions.
Also photographed today were 'tarantula hawks', a type of giant wasp that is the most painful sting in North America, and one of only three insects in the world to rank the highest rating of 4 on the Schmidt sting pain index. Several have been spotted each day flying past observers in the field on this roundup.
August 19, 2020
The helicopters did not fly today.
August 18, 2020
30 wild horses were rounded up and removed today. AWHC was one of two members of public on the site. We were at the same site as yesterday.
After the first group of horses came in, stressed horses were seen rearing up.
The second group came in and it was extremely dusty, which is violation of CAWP policy and they should spray water to keep the dust down, however there was no water truck on site. The dust continued to obscure our view. We heard lots of clanging indicating the horses were hitting up against the pen.
By 10:30 am the temperatures were reaching 94 degrees Fahrenheit. It soon became 100 degrees and remained that way 1.5 hours and then they did another run in those temperatures. BLM was repeatedly notified it was a CAWP violation.
After the day, we saw the wild burros of the Porter Spring HMA. Was a really nice sight to see them still roaming free.
August 17, 2020
38 federally-protected wild horses were rounded up and removed today. AWHC was one of three members of the public onsite. From our observation point we were able to see and hear wild burros in a neighboring HMA, Porter Spring.
The contractors only used one helicopter today, and it took them awhile to bring in the first run of horses.
Minutes later after the first run, and sadly per usual, a foal that fell behind was brought in by lasso, indicating they were pushed faster than the slowest horse in yet another CAWP violation.
The second group that was brought in was small, and the rising heat waves made it very difficult to see and obscured most of what we could see.
At 10:30am it was already ranging from 93/94 degrees farenheit where were standing (running horses over 95 degree heat is considered a violation of CAWP). The helicopter nonetheless refueled and took to the sky to look for more horses, while out scouting, the temperature ranged from 94-95 degrees farenheit.
By the time the third group was brought in, the temperature read 96.5 degrees.
Heat waves were too much for our camera to get any focus on the trap near the end. The last group we could hear smashing in the pen as they loaded the trailer even from the far distance.
August 16, 2020
The trap was being moved today so helicopters did not fly. AWHC's field rep instead traveled to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse Complex outside of Reno, Nevada to check on the horses at the facility.
August 15, 2020
95 wild horses were rounded up and removed from the Shawave HMA.
AWHC's field representative was the only member of the public onsite. We were located at the same trapsite as the day prior, however the trap itself was intentionally obscured by the contractor's horse trailers preventing us from seeing anything once they entered the jute.
The first group that was brought it was very large. A few minutes after the run a foal that was left behind was brought in by a wrangler on horseback.
The second run was also very large. Once again, a foal was left behind and had to be brought in by a wrangler.
On the fourth run of the day, a small group was brought in quickly. We were able to observe just a few entering the jute, but one pinto stopped, saw the jute and turned back toward the range.
She directed her attention to a foal being chased by helicopters. Displaying behavior indicative of a mare separated from her foal, the mare went to the foal, boldly defying the helicopters. The foal was lassoed, and the mare followed him towards the trap, but when got close to the trap, not wanting to be captured herself, she reluctantly ran off. As she ran past us she looked back several times to the trap where her baby was. She ran a couple miles past us, the helicopters grounded, and she remained out in the wild.
August 14, 2020
Today we were placed at a new trap site, where approximately 40 horses were captured.
The viewing area about 1/2 mile; too far to see clearly, and trap obscured by the trailers. Within view of the nearby highway.
AWHC's field representative was the only member of the public in attendance.
Two helicopters were used to bring horses in slowly.
Minutes later a foal left behind was brought in by horse coral.
Foal fell while being chased, before being lassod. He was lassoed at very close range and then walked in by horse.
Roundup was stopped early because they have so many horses captured and so many in holding they need to transport them; the gather location was closer to the direction of the longer term holding than the temporary (back other direction), so decision was made to call it earlier today.
We stopped at 85 degrees, early morning, before strong heat hit.
Heat waves obscured the view quite a bit.
August 13, 2020
141 wild burros were rounded up and removed from the Shawave HMA today and there was 1 death, but the BLM did not list what the burro died from.
AWHCs field representative was the only member of the public onsite.
The BLM has finished with the burro portion of the roundup - every burro within this HMA was removed.
We had an unusually good view of the trap site area.
They pushed smaller bands all together before pushing into the trap.
Burros appeared in good condition with good body weight.
August 12, 2020
79 wild burros were captured today and there was one death: a wild burro was euthanized by BLM for apparently being "blind in both eyes".
AWHCs field representative was the only member of the public onsite.
They pushed smaller groups of burros all together before pushing into the trap.
3 burros got roped today, including a foal that had enough and decided to lay down and refuse to get up. They tied him up and left him lying in front of the trap wings while they proceeded to bring in more burros and roped the 2 other burros. It was 56 minutes before they got the baby up and loaded into a trailer.
They plan to continue Zeroing out the burros in the HMA tomorrow.
August 11, 2020
61 wild horses were captured today and AWHCs field representative was the only member of the public onsite.
- We had meaningful observation of the trap site with the option of going to Temp holding.
- They brought in smaller groups of horses today, even chasing down a single horse.
- One stallion escaped by jumping over the trap panels, while several others made failed attempts.
- After the roundup, we stopped to look at the burros on the 7 Troughs HMA.
August 10, 2020
177 wild horses were captured today and AWHCs field representative was the only member of the public onsite.
- Today was the first day that we were given meaningful observation with a view of the trap site area.
- 3 stallions escaped by jumping through the trap wings before being captured.
- They roped one foal and one yearling that broke away near the trap site.
- As the day started to heat up, they finished the final run for the day just before 1:00 pm
- On our way out, we passed some of the wild burros just north of the Shawave HMA.
August 9, 2020
The roundup was postponed today and the helicopters did not fly.
August 8, 2020
No horses were captured today.
August 7, 2020
90 wild horses were captured. AWHC was not onsite.
August 6, 2020
126 wild horses lost their freedom today, but thankfully, there were no deaths.
3 people showed up for observation at the same distant trap for the fourth day.
While no horses escaped jumping the trap panels today, one did attempt jumping from the trailer.
A pair of helicopters worked the horses.
Two stray foals had to be roped.
August 5, 2020
137 wild horses were rounded up and removed from the Shawave HMA. There was 1 death. According to BLM, a 15-year old, Bay stallion, died from hemorrhage "secondary to lymphatic cancer."
- AWHC observer was 1 of 3 people that showed up for observation of the same distant trap.
- Several horses escaped by jumping the trap panels.
- A pair of helicopters worked the horses
- A band of horses across the mountain got pushed for over an hour before finally being captured.
- Several stray foals had to be roped.
- After they called it a day, we passed some of the wild burros they plan on capturing and removing, zeroing out the burro population.
August 4, 2020
The BLM captured 141 wild horses were rounded up and removed today and there were 5 deaths.
According to BLM
- 20+ year old, Bay Stallion, severe tooth loss was euthanized due to hopeless prognosis for recovery.
- 20+ year old, Bay Stallion, missing eye was euthanized due to hopeless prognosis for recovery.
- 7-year old, Bay Mare with a previous pelvis fracture; was euthanized due hopeless prognosis for recovery.
- Bay yearling stud, broke neck in the holding facility.
- 5-year old, Bay Mare, died during transport.
- We are placed extremely far from the trapsite.
- A band of horses came down the mountain and headed toward our viewing area. Not sure what made them come our way, but it was beautiful to see. It didn’t take long before a helicopter showed up and pushed them towards the trap.
- We were told they had 2 horses lay down in the trap, supposedly too weak. They got them up and moved to temp holding, unclear if either of these were ones that died today.
- BLM has been stopping about 1:30 before it gets hot. Hard to say with 2 Helicopters flying today. They claim not going over 3 miles out.
August 3, 2020
AWHC's field representative was one of three members of the public onsite. 181 wild horses were rounded up and remove from the Shawave HMA and there was one death: a foal was euthanized after suffering a broken shoulder from being kicked by another horse.
Hoses came in large groups.
Body conditions ranged from 2-4
2 studs escaped by jumping from trap panels.
2 foals broke away from the group near the trap wings, but were brought back in.
1 foal euthanized after being kicked by another horse at temporary holding.