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 Muskrat Basin HMA is located in close proximity to three other HMAs; Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte and Rock Creek Mountain. These four HMAs are located in east central Fremont County. They encompass over 375,000 acres of land, of which about 90 percent are BLM-administered public lands. While the four HMAs are managed with recognized individual populations, there is no geographic separation of the HMAs and the gates between them remain open a significant part of the year. As a result, the horses move regularly among the HMAs, helping to ensure the overall genetic health of the horses.
Topography of the area includes high ridges and steep terrain with grand vistas. Beaver Rim, located on the western edge of the HMAs, is a beautiful, high escarpment with amazing views of the Wind River Mountains, Copper Mountains, and Owl Creek Mountains. Elevations in the HMAs range from 5,300 to 7,200 feet. The area receives 5 to 12 inches of precipitation a year, depending on the elevation, most of it in the form of snow.
The AML for these HMAs combined is 320-536 horses. A full range of colors are present. Most horses are solid in color yet you may find a few pintos and blue roans scattered through the HMA. The horses range from 11 to 15 hands and 750-1000 pounds mature weight. Vegetation is dominated by various sage and grass species. Elk, deer, and antelope inhabit this area.