Researchers from the University of Wyoming (UW) are working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to study how wild horses use resources in and migrate through the Adobe Town herd management area (HMA) in south-central Wyoming.

Jeffrey L. Beck, PhD, a researcher in the UW Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, said researchers will apply collars containing GPS tracking devices to 25 to 30 mares, aged 5 and older, in good health and body condition.

“This is the age where growth ceases, so we wanted to avoid collar restriction due to a growing horse,” he said.

Tony Brown, public affairs specialist for the BLM’s Wyoming High Desert District, said a bait-trap gather operation to collect mares for the study began on Feb. 5. Four horses had been gathered by Feb. 6, he said.

Once gathered, the mares will be transported to the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility, also in Wyoming, where they’ll be outfitted with the tracking collars.

“Once collared, the horses will be returned to the HMA,” Brown said.

No horses will be operantly removed from the range during the study, he said.

Beck said the GPS technology will reveal how the horses move across the HMA’s private-public lands, as well as how the animals select resources seasonally. Researchers will also study the animals’ effects on rangeland plant communities, he said.

“(We’ll use results) to further understand if horses are crossing the state boundary south into Colorado or vice versa relative to horse management activities,” he said. “Also, our results will be provided as critical information in the context of how to collaboratively manage for healthy rangelands and wild horses within this framework of multiple state and federal partners.”

While the project continues, Brown said public viewing will be allowed when mares are released back to the range.

“The BLM will keep a list of people who would like to attend … and notify them at least one day prior to the releases,” he said.

Daily gather reports are available at on.doi.gov/2ka71jt.