Virginia Range Mustang Fertility Control Program Gallops Ahead

(June 18, 2019) On April 9, the Nevada Department of Agriculture and the American Wild Horse Campaign signed a Cooperative Agreement to resume the fertility control darting program and the community darting team sprang into action! In just over 2 months, over 418 horses have been darted and over 3,000 horses (2,400 living) are now individually identified in the database! Huge gratitude and thanks to Blockchains LLC, Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak for getting this program going again, and to the incredible volunteers who are showing how it's done on the Virginia Range!


  • 8 new darters have been trained through a Science and Conservation Center certification class sponsored by AWHC and hosted by Block-chains LLC on April 23-25.
  • 15 experienced darters are now deployed in the field with daily presence at Innovation Park and other areas of the range.
  • 5 new documenters have been recruited, and will receive training in June.
  • Hundreds of volunteer hours spent in the field darting and documenting horses.
  • Field training completed for the new darters and documenters.
  • Additional equipment and vaccine was ordered and distributed to adequately supply the program through the darting season.
  • Permission to dart has been obtained from numerous private property owners in the Virginia Highlands. Confirmation was also received from the BLM that the agency will allow darting to occur on BLM-managed lands throughout the Virginia Range, pursuant to authorization from the NDA.

Building Capacity


Following the reinstating of the cooperative agreement to implement fertility control, a new class of volunteers from multiple local organizations completed the Emergency Horse & Livestock Training and the Technical Large Animal Rescue training course, sponsored by AWHC and held by Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) which was instructed by Willis Lamm and Kerry Tuckett. LRTC has a top-notch, safety focused response team that responds to a high number of calls around Northern Nevada.


April 23-25, AWHC sponsored and Blockchains hosted, a Dart Certification Course taught by the Science and Conservation Center which resulted in eight new darters becoming certified to implement fertility control! On May 11, volunteers gathered for a formal clinic at the LRTC facility in Stagecoach to hone the skills of the documenters and spotters and to provide additional target practice for newly-trained darters.

In the spirit of commnity building, volunteers have started an online monthly newsletter called the Pinto Post hightling the incredible work being done to Keep Wild Horses Wild in Nevada. Sign up to receive updates by clicking here.


In May, volunteers took reporters from the local National Public Radio (NPR) station out on the Virginia Range to talk about the collaborative fertility control program. An op-ed by AWHC’s field representative Greg Hendricks was published in the Reno Gazette Journal, and members of the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association were interviewed for a video piece on the program.