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Billings Field Office
Release Date: 09/10/12
Contacts: Kristen Lenhardt, 406-896-5228    
  Melodie Lloyd, 406-896-5260    

BLM Holds Successful Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Adoption

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Billings Field Office on Saturday, September 8, 2012, was successful in sending all 38 adult excess wild horses and 7 foals to good homes following a six-week bait-trap gather on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR).

“The success of this bait-trap gather and adoption is largely due to the great working relationships the Billings Field Office has with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, and public,” Field Manager Jim Sparks said.  “The Pryor herd has a very passionate public following and the BLM appreciates that – we can’t manage the herd alone.”

The bait-trap gather was conducted in accordance with the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Record for a 2012 non-helicopter gather of wild horses within the PMWHR. With extensive public involvement, the EA analyzed the effects of the decision to conduct a non-helicopter gather to remove excess wild horses within the PMWHR.  The field office received about 1,000 individual comment letters and 63 unique comments on the preliminary EA, and considered those in making the final decision.

“Really, this entire operation of selective removal through baiting is unprecedented for the BLM,” Wild Horse Specialist Jared Bybee said.  “We actually gathered and handled about 150 wild horses without injuries or incidents involving the wild horses, the public, or BLM staff.” The gather and adoption operation, which includes the holding, care, and feeding of the removed excess wild horses, was conducted by BLM and National Park Service personnel.

Since bait trapping can occur year-round, the BLM anticipated gathering throughout the 2012 calendar year, but after the targeted number of excess wild horses was within two animals of being reached, the decision was made to end the gather. The gather is designed to manage for the appropriate number of wild horses so that rangelands and horses can be healthy and productive for years to come. The current population is now approximately 133 wild horses, which is slightly above the established Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 90-120 horses, excluding the current year’s foals.

The PMWHR is located in the Pryor Mountains south of Billings, along the Montana-Wyoming border and encompasses approximately 38,000 acres of BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service managed land. For more information on the Pryor Mountain wild horses, go to

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Billings Field Office   5001 Southgate Drive      Billings, MT 59101  

Last updated: 09-10-2012