Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA), the BLM is required to manage WH&B only in those areas (Herd Areas) where they were found when the Act passed in 1971. Through land use planning, BLM evaluates each herd area to determine if it has adequate food, water, cover and space to sustain healthy and diverse WH&B populations over the long-term. The areas which meet these criteria are then designated as Herd Management Areas (HMAs) for the maintenance of WH&B herds. BLM also evaluates each HMA to determine how much forage is available for use. The available forage is then allocated among wildlife, WH&B and domestic livestock. The number of WH&B which can graze without causing damage to the range is called the Appropriate Management Level (AML).
Wild horses have long roamed the Pryor Mountains, but there was a time when the herd was in serious danger of going extinct. In the past, efforts were made by the government to remove all wild horses from the Pryors. By the late 1950s, the wild horse population was significantly lowered; and a group of local citizens fought the Bureau of Land Management, who was planning to remove the remaining members of the herd. After a legal battle, these citizens emerged victorious, and the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was born.
The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was established in September of 1968 by Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. Such an action was groundbreaking; the PMWHR was the first public wild horse range (HMA) established in the United States. It also preceded the writing of the Free-Roaming Wild Horse & Burro Act 1971 by three years, though the passing of the 1971 act allowed the PMWHR to be expanded. Since then, the range boundary has changed; and today it covers over 38,000 acres of land. The PMWHR straddles the Montana-Wyoming border and covers Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management land, though the BLM oversees horse-related activities.
Exploring the Pryor Mountain country is an opportunity to experience a land that has changed little since prehistoric people came to take advantage of relatively snow-free winters and year round sunshine in the lower foothills.
The Bureau of Land Management's Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is located on the South slope of East Pryor Mountain overlooking the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. In addition to searching for the Pryor Mustangs, the rugged and mysterious Pryor Mountain country beckons the adventuresome to explore over the next ridge-into the next draw-for what might be discovered in this out-of-the-way land that few have visited.
Approximately 120 wild horses range from the Pryors' high meadows down through rugged juniper-covered foothills to colorful desert-like badlands that border the green fields of Crooked Creek Valley. The many ridges and ravines give the mustangs room to roam and finding them is not guaranteed. This information summarizes the best places to start.