The Bureau of Land Management Challis Field Office, in Idaho, has announced plans to conduct a bait-trap gather of wild horses within the Challis Wild Horse Herd Management Area (CHMA) beginning later this month (depending on weather conditions).

This is the first time the BLM has attempted a larger-scale bait-trap operation has been attempted in the CHMA. The goal is to gather 150 horses, remove 50, and treat the returning mares with a fertility control vaccine to maintain the appropriate number of horses in the CHMA.

The CHMA is located southwest of the town of Challis, Idaho, in Custer County. The BLM said the appropriate management level (AML)—the number of horses the range can support in conjunction with other animals and resource uses—for this area is 185-253 horses. The current population is estimated to be well over 280 animals. As the CHMA is home to priority sage-grouse habitat and under a 1983 court decree to maintain wild horse numbers within the AML, it is important to conduct this gather to reduce the population numbers, the BLM said.

Horses selected for removal will be transported to the Challis Wild Horse Corrals to be prepared for adoption.

Gathering wild horses using a bait-trap is not conducive for capture site viewing opportunities. However, public viewing opportunities will be scheduled at the Challis Wild Horse Corrals and will be announced at bit.ly/ChallisGather2017.

The supporting planning documents for the CHMA bait-trap gather are available online at bit.ly/2017ChallisGatherPlans.

The gather will likely last into mid-April, though exact start and end dates will be determined by the contractor’s availability.

Those interested in viewing the horses at the Challis Wild Horse Corrals should contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Kevin Lloyd at 208/879-6200 for more information.