Tribal members were able to decide whether to sell or keep their horses and constrain them from further unauthorized grazing on federally-managed public lands. The Tribe was responsible for returning the horses to their owners, arrangement of sale, or transport off tribal lands. Forest Service personnel also recorded the ownership of horses to help with future management.
“This cooperative effort also helped the Tribe reduce the number of horses on the reservation, which will improve public safety, reduce impacts to important natural and cultural resources, and provide an opportunity for the Tribe to begin developing a long-term sustainable range program,” said Tribal Chairman Tildon Smart.
The Forest Service and Tribe will plan another cooperative domestic horse removal sometime in early 2019. “The tribal holding facility is not large enough to handle the number of horses that need to be removed at one time,” said Santa Rosa District Ranger Joe Garrotto. “We will have to perform several gathers to remove all of the unauthorized tribally-owned horses from federally-managed public lands.”
The removal operations took place about 75 miles north of Winnemucca, Nevada, on the northern portion of the Santa Rosa Ranger District and adjacent tribal lands. The horses belong to tribal members and are not protected under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. No wild horses from the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Owyhee Herd Management Area were gathered.
For more information on the Fort McDermitt Cooperative Domestic Horse Removal, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/htnf/home/?cid=FSEPRD603126.