In 1971, wild horses and burros were found roaming across 53.8 million acres of Herd Areas (HAs), of which 42.4 million acres were under the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) jurisdiction. Today the BLM manages wild horses and burros in subsets of these HAs, known as Herd Management Areas (HMAs) that comprise 31.6 million acres, of which 26.9 million acres are under BLM management.
The Adobe Town HMA is located in south central Wyoming between Interstate 80 and the Colorado/Wyoming border. It encompasses nearly 478,000 acres of mostly BLM-administered public land with a small portion of intermingled private lands. The topography of the area is varied with everything from colorful eroded desert badlands to wooded buttes and escarpments. In between are extensive rolling to rough uplands interspersed with some desert playa and vegetated dune areas. Limited, sensitive desert riparian areas are important features of the landscape and winters are long and severe.
Annual precipitation ranges from less than seven inches in the desert basins to more than 12 inches at some of the higher elevations. Winters are long and severe.
Plant communities are very diverse in this large area. The most abundant plant community is sagebrush/grass. Other communites present are: desert shrub, grassland, mountain shrub, lentic riparian grass/sedge, limber pine woodlands, juniper woodlands, and a very few aspen woodlands. Needle and thread, Indian ricegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, western wheatgrass, junegrass, and mutton bluegrass are the predominate grasses. Wyoming sagebrush, black sagebrush, bud sage, salt sage, fourwing salt bush, greasewood, bitterbrush, and mountain mahogany are important shrub species.
The appropriate management level for this HMA is 610-800 horses plus unweaned foals. A full range of colors is present with roans and greys predominating. The present population has been influenced by the routine escape of domestic saddle stock from the surrounding populated areas. The horses range from 14 to 15 hands and 900-1100 pounds in mature weight. Health is good with few apparent problems.
Domestic cattle and sheep utilize the area in all seasons. Large numbers of Pronghorn Antelope roam the area. Mule deer are present in small numbers season long and in larger numbers in some winters. Healthy elk populations are becoming established in the southeastern and western portions of the HMA. Sage grouse and a myriad of small animals use the area. Raptors are abundant in the area. Coyotes are abundant and an occasional mountain lion and bobcat call the area home. Natural gas development is increasing in part of the HMA. Recreational use, including sport hunting of the game species is important to many people.