(Photos and graphics courtesy of the BLM)
Most BLM Resource Areas encourage viewing wild horses and some HMAs are suitable for primitive camping, but those of you entering such areas should consider a number of important factors.
Wild horses are naturally shy and most wild horse bands inhabit remote, primitive areas. In many of these areas there are few sources of good water and during certain times of year the horses have to work hard to find enough food to sustain themselves. The BLM tries to keep horse populations at levels where the natural environment can sustain these animals, however interference by man can prevent these animals from accessing needed water and food.
Pregnant mares and mares with foals are particularly vulnerable. Excess human intervention can actually cause these animals to leave their home territories for less suitable areas, causing them additional hardship or harm. Mares and foals have been injured or killed when chased by unwitting, or malicious, humans or their dogs.
Vehicle travel in these primitive areas can be difficult, especially during periods of adverse weather. Use of vehicles inappropriate for the terrain, venturing off approved roads or vehicle trails and/or failing to monitor weather forecasts can result in you or your party becoming stranded in a very remote place, probably with no communications to the outside world.
Some HMAs border military installations where civilian travel is prohibited. Failure to follow maps or heeding warnings can result in your getting arrested, or worse, finding yourselves in the middle of a live armament target area.
Some HMAs border or contain designated Wilderness Areas or Wilderness Study Areas. Vehicles of all types are prohibited in designated Wilderness Areas. Vehicles must stay on designated roadways in Wilderness Study Areas.
All of these considerations may seem like a great deal to cope with, however by following a few common sense precautions, you can enjoy your wild horse viewing and camping experience without harming the horses or other resident animals... or yourself!