The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fillmore Field Office is planning to begin the second year of research wild horse gathers in the Conger Herd Management Area (HMA), located west of Delta, Utah, on Nov. 28.
“This gather is in year two of a research study that is being conducted on wild horse behavior and ecology, said BLM West Desert District Wild Horse Specialist Trent Staheli. “It will examine the behavioral effects of gelding, population dynamics, fertility, reproductive rate, recruitment rate, age-specific survival and mortality, habitat selection, movements, and habitat range among other things.”
The researchers are working with the United States Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center and Colorado State University to study elements at both the individual and population levels within the Conger Herd Management Area.
The public is welcome to observe daily operations through BLM-escorted tours provided that animal, staff, and observer safety are not jeopardized and gather operations are not disrupted. Observers must provide their own transportation, water, and food. Public restrooms will not be available. The BLM recommends weather appropriate footwear and neutral-colored clothing. Binoculars and high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles are-strongly recommended.
Those interested in participating should meet at the Border Inn Gas Station at the junction of Hwy 6 and 50 on the Utah-Nevada state line, 88.6 miles west of Delta, Utah, where tours will depart at 6:30 a.m. MST. Daily adjustments to this schedule and specific details will be recorded daily on the BLM gather hotline at 801/539-4050.
Visitors and observers to the gather area should be aware that low-flying helicopters will be used as part of the operation. Use of flying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) near the Conger Mountain ranges north of Highway 6 and 50 will be prohibited during the gather. Brief road closures might also be needed to allow for horse movement during gather operations.
All horses gathered will be shipped to the Delta Wild Horse Facility. The facility will remain closed Nov. 27 through Dec. 18 to allow the researchers to study the horses before they are returned to the range.
Gather updates and information will be posted at go.usa.gov/xnB4g. Updates are also available via Twitter by following @BLMUtah or searching #CongerGather.
An environmental assessment is available via the BLM’s planning documents website at goo.gl/pNIggw. More information on the population control research project is available from the BLM’s Fillmore Field Office at 435/743-3100.