2017 Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek And Great Divide Basin Wild Horse Gather Begins

2017 Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek And Great Divide Basin Wild Horse Gather Begins

ROCK SPRINGS – The BLM Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices have issued a decision to remove excess animals to the lower limit of the AML range from the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas.

The gather is in response to the results of the 2017 census that demonstrated wild horses are exceeding the AML limits are set forth in Resource Management Plans.

Additionally, the BLM has received a written request to remove wild horses from private lands within these HMAs. Through a series of legal proceedings, the BLM RSFO entered into a Consent Decree in April of 2013 [Rock Springs Grazing Association v. Salazar, Civil Action No. 11-CV-263-NDF (D.Wyo.)].

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This Consent Decree requires the periodic removal of wild horses from the HMAs based on the results of census flights. The results of the 2017 census flights demonstrate a need to remove wild horses from these HMAs as per the 2013 Consent Decree.
.Wild Horse and Burro Logo.

Details of Gather:

The BLM uses a federal gather contractor to gather wild horses from HMAs where the BLM has determined that excess animals exist. The contractor uses a helicopter to locate and herd horses towards a set of corrals. The helicopter is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse, to lead the gathered horses into the corrals. If needed, the ground crew may assist the helicopter by roping the horses from horseback.

The BLM takes very seriously the humane treatment of wild horses and burros, especially during gathers. Helicopter has shown to be the most humane method to gather wild horses.

The gather will begin on September 23, 2017 and take approximately four to six weeks.  

Of the 1,560 wild horses to be gathered, approximately 725 would be removed from the Salt Wells Creek HMA, 513 from the Adobe Town HMA and the 322 from the Great Divide Basin HMA.

Only adult horses count toward the 1,560 AML removal number.

Public Observation: 

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.

Public viewing opportunities are anticipated to begin on Sept. 23. Those interested in participating should notify Tony Brown at (307) 352-0215. Participants will meet daily at the BLM Rock Springs Field Office at 280 Highway 191 North.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. Public restrooms will not be available onsite.

Follow the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Gather on @BLMWyoming and @BLMWHB Twitter with hashtag #WYGATHER.

Adoption Information: 

Gathered wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Approximately 700 of the gathered wild horses will be sent to the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility in Rock Springs, Wyo., approximately 700 to the Axtel Wild Horse Corrals in Axtel, Utah.

Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act. The BLM is committed to managing and protecting these living symbols of the historic and pioneering spirit of the West and will continue to care for and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range.


The Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin HMAs encompass 2,427,220 acres of public, State, and private lands in Sweetwater, Carbon and Fremont counties in southwest Wyoming. The AML for the Adobe Town HMA  is 610-800 wild horses. The AML for the Salt Wells Creek HMA is 251-365 wild horses. The AML for the Great Divide Basin HMA is 415-600 wild horses.

The estimated population before the 2017 foaling season was approximately 1,123 wild horses in the Adobe Town HMA, approximately 976 wild horses in the Salt Wells HMA and approximately 737 wild horses in the Great Divide Basin HMA. In combination the three HMAs are exceeding the low AMLs by 1,560 wild horses.

For more information and to view daily reports while the gather is underway click here.

Oct. 2, 2017 – By The Numbers

  • Animals Gathered – 125 Adults, 26 Foals
  • Animals Returned to Home Range – 4
  • Animal Deaths – 0

Cumulative Totals

  • Animals Gathered – 461 Adults, 121 Foals
  • Animals Returned to Home Range – 4
  • Animal Deaths* – 7

*Includes non-gather related deaths.