KBR Wild Horse and Burro Information Sheet


(Information and graphics courtesy of BLM, Billings Resource Area Office)

The Wild Horse and Burro Program in Montana and the Dakotas has two primary goals; the management of the wild horse herd in the Pryor Mountains and the adoption of excess animals from the Pryors and other herd management areas in the western states.

The BLM will continue to manage the Pryor horse herd for optimum benefits to the animals and the fragile ecology of the Pryor Mountains. There will be satellite adoption events as long as there is strong public demand for wild horses and burros.


Except for a small band of Nokota Wild Horses managed by the National Park Service, the Pryor Mountain Horses are Montana's only large free-roaming wild horses and are found in the Pryor Mountains, approximately 60 miles south of Billings. These animals are reputed to be of Spanish ancestry, as evidenced by genetic studies and blood typing efforts done over the past 5 years. Management of this herd is guided by the Pryor Mountain Herd Area Management Plan, which emphasizes preservation of the herd's heritage and attributes of wildness.

The BLM was mandated to manage wild horses and burros by the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. This act states, "It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment or death." It also decrees that the Secretary (of the Interior) "...maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands." Since horses and burros have limited natural predators, their numbers may increase until the public lands are overstocked and there is no longer "a thriving natural ecological balance." Therefore, the act provides for the removal of excess animals by the BLM or its contractors, and placement with qualified adopters..

Excess wild horses from the Pryor Range and other states are placed in the hands of approved adopters at temporary adoption events (satellite adoptions). This adoption program has been very effective. Since 1984, more than 10,000 horses have been placed in Montana and the Dakotas. There is also a large demand for burros, which are quite effective in defending sheep from the predation of coyotes and domestic dogs.

Public interest in wild horses is broad and intense. Local and national groups often get involved in issues surrounding Pryor Mountain horses. Some groups are interested in minimizing any human management of the horses, and some are concerned about the economics of the horse program. Wild horse issues attract national and international media attention.

For additional information, contact Linda Coates-Markle, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist.


The lesser known Nokota Wild Horses have cultural and historic significance to many of our Native Americans. These horses come under the management of the National Park Service. There are various tribal and public efforts are underway to protect them. The Nokota wild horses were named North Dakota's "honorary state equine" in 1993.


Exploring the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range

The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd Management Plan

The Nokota Wild Horses

Lazy J's   Mustangs - Spirit of the American West

BLM- Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive / PO Box 36800
Billings, MT 59107-6800

This is not a BLM operated or BLM sponsored site. It is run by private wild horse and burro enthusiasts.

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