Conger Herd Management Area gather operations ended Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.
The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives BLM the direction for protecting and overseeing wild horses and burros on public lands. In managing these animals, the BLM works to maintain a thriving ecological balance that supports healthy horses on healthy rangelands. Heavy to severe wild horse grazing jeopardizes the health of rangelands, wetlands, wildlife habitats, and ultimately animal health and condition.
The Appropriate Management Level – the number of horses the range can sustainably support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses – for the Conger Herd Management Area is 40-80 horses. The current population is estimated to be 296 horses as of March 1 and is now thought to have grown about 20 percent to 340 to 355, including this year’s foals.
Details of Gather
Helicopter drive-trapping operations will begin on Aug. 11 and is expected to last about a week. Approximately 296 excess wild horses will be removed. The gather is necessary to address several issues in the HMA. The HMA is currently experiencing exceptional drought conditions. Due to the drought conditions the horses have declined in body condition over the last year due to a lack of forage. This gather will also allow the BLM to gather mares that were fitted with GPS collars that could not be remotely released at the conclusion of a research study. Select wild horses may be returned to the HMA to maintain herd genetic diversity and characteristics and to meet herd management objectives.
Horses captured will either be released at the gather site or shipped to the Axtell Facility, a private facility that does not allow in-person viewing or public adoptions.
The current gather has been elevated as necessary to address exceptional drought conditions in the herd management area. Drought conditions have caused a decline in the health of the wild horses during the last year because of lack of food and water. The gather will help the long-term sustainable health for the horses and the other resources within the area.
The public is welcome to view the Conger HMA wild horse gather operations. The gather and associated viewing opportunities will start on Aug 11, departing at 5:30 am from the Maverik Adventure’s One Stop located at 44 N Hwy 6, Delta, UT. Observation will be held daily.
Notice on the days where no viewing opportunity exists will likely be given on short notice – perhaps the day before or the morning of the gather operation.
Access to and distance from the capture site location will be determined jointly by the Contractor and the BLM's Contracting Officer's Representative prior to gather operations.
The BLM establishes observation sites that allow the public to observe wild horse gather operations while ensuring the effective gather of excess wild horses and burros and ensuring the safety of all individuals involved in the gather activities, including BLM employees and contractors, members of the viewing public, and the wild horses and burros. It is critical that the public remain within the designated public observation site and not attempt to get closer to the horses without permission from the BLM, or the BLM may need to immediately halt operations and postpone the release if the operations or safety is compromised.
The BLM will announce when horses removed from the Conger HMA will be available for adoption or sale at a future date.
For more information and to find the progress of the gather and/or whether or not a viewing opportunity exists each day, first check our social media sites and this gather webpage. Go to our Facebook or Twitter pages — you do not need to have an account on these sites to view the content. You can also call the Utah Wild Horse and Burro hotline at (801) 539-4050 or email BLM_UT_WHB@blm.gov for more information.
The supporting planning documents for the Conger HMA gather can be found on the BLM eplanning website.