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ABC's of Using Pack Animals

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ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 1]

For those of you who use pack animals to get your elk out of the backcountry, how many do you take in? Are they your personal string or do you rent them? Do you rent them and take them in with you on the hunt, or, contact a packer once your elk is down? Just interested in the different ways folks use pack animals when their elk season rolls around.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Swede » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 2]

For me the objective in just to get past that first part of your equation--getting the elk down. After that I am the pack animal. I could use an Indian Summer in lieu of two good mules, but he is never around when he could prove to be handy. I like the idea that he seems to be a self-loader type of pack critter. :D
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 3]

I have had up to three pack mules and a saddle mule . Back then I did exclusive pack in hunts. Now, age has caught up with me and I have one pack mule and one saddle mule.I hunt form a truck camp and every day I ride in 4-8 miles. Every a day the pack mule comes along too. The days I tag an elk, 1/2 comes out with me that day, and weather/bears permitting, I go back and pack the remainder out the next day. If not,it's two trips the same day.

I have always owned my own stock.

Sombrero Ranches in northern Colorado is the biggest horse rental outfit in the state.They rent horses pretty much all across northern Coloardo to private parties and outfitters.They probably run 1500+ head.

Here is some good info on packing with livestock.

http://www.packsaddleshop.com/packingtips.html
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Lefty » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 4]

I had a fellow drag out my first bull in Montana,, then his young horse bolted with his rifle in the scabbard,
My daughters horse is small but has packed out elk, and doesnt mind watching us shoot geese, or dumping the carcasses in her pasture.If I kill something way back it might be worth driving the horse up to help out

When I became a horses owner, (my wife and daughters horses) I thought I would back-country pack and hunt. While I think it would be a great adventure I no longer have that urge. Taking care of stock is a lot of work, and Im not much of a horse wrangler.
I expect if time allows my wife and daughter would hunt with her horse. And maybe once I retire Ill backcountry pack

I would also say that if I was on a guided hunt I would want horse( well rather a good mule) to be appart of the hunt
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Indian Summer » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 5]

I owned, leased, and borrowed horses and mules. At one point I owned 8 mules and 3 horses and I'd lease another 20 horses come hunting season.

The first myth to debunk is that lease horses are wild broncs. I guess there are some rough outfits out there but there are some really good ones too. I have actually leased some horses that were better than the ones I owned. lol

The other thing worth mentioning is that not all areas are even worth using stock. In Montana I never take horses anywhere until I have an elk down. There aren't really that many trails to get around on and bushwhacking isn't an option. I like to hunt loops instead of backtracking and more than once I've had a long hike to go get horses that were tied off miles away.

In Wyoming I could hunt on foot but there are so many trails to use I prefer to use stock. I'll tie off and make smaller loops back to the horses and then ride on. The guy who leases will deliver but I usually hut an area then relocate so I rent a trailer too. It's only $200 per man for me and a partner and really gives us freedom to do what we want.

I give my clients the option to rent horses if they are interested. So far only one group has decided to use them. I tell everyone if you get an elk down and are really far in or running out of time to get an elk out call this number. The horses are $350 each whether you use them for 3 hours or 3 weeks. I prefer 3 weeks. :D But the hunter I sold the plan to wasn't interested in babysitting them all week. Plus it's definitely nice to hike and hunt an area before you decide to use stock if you are new to horses. These guys were all in their 60s and got a bull down during archery season almost 7 miles in. So they had 2 head delivered and did as I told them.... walked them in like dogs, loaded up the panniers, and hiked back out. This year they are going back and using horses their entire hunt. You can do it! All it takes is some common sense and patience.

I ride out every day on one horse pulling another. I can take a spotting scope & tripod or anything else I want on the pack horse. My gamebags, Jetboil and hot chocolate, Helinox chair. In my panniers I also keep a set of riding saddle panniers. If I kill an elk I can use both horses to pack elk and hike without a backpack or anything on me other than a water bottle and get the whole animal out in one trip.

So two horses @ $350 each plus $200 for the trailer and another $100 for the saddles, panniers, brushes etc is $1000. The only other thing is hay and grain which isn't bad. No way I'd shell that out to hunt Montana but I get every dollar worth out of them in Wyoming. If I have a horse get banged up or a saddle sore I call the guy and he trailers another one over to replace it at no charge. That beats the livin' hell out of owning and feeding them year round, vet bills, worming, trimming etc etc.

If I lived there I'd own my own though. Just two, maybe 3. They make good friends and I've had a few over the years that were great hunting partners.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 6]

For me ,it's down to the basics. If I didn't have my mules,I couldn't hunt.I can't walk far,and I sure can't put part of an elk on my back.
I think those who think they take a lot of work really are not familiar with handling/caring for them.
For one thing, you can ride out to where you hunt and hunt as hard as you want, and then the only energy you need to get back to camp is to be able to crawl back on the horse/mule. My two mules sure make better hunting and camp companions than a lot of other hunters I have en countered.

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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 05 02, 2016 •  [Post 7]

Some damn good looking animals gentlemen.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby 2MANY » 05 03, 2016 •  [Post 8]

I learned a long time ago the people who refer to horses and mules as "hay burners" or "too expensive" aren't getting their own Western needs met. Usually they're the ones packing out in a rain storm, soaking wet, cold, and carrying a backpack while the other folks are eating fried potatoes/onions, salad, rib steaks, and washing it down with all the beer they care to drink before throwing another log on the stove and getting comfy on a cot.
Don't get me wrong....I've tried the coyote out thingy. It just ain't for me. Early season is doable but when mother nature starts kicking up her heels I prefer a wall tent and a wood stove. I would rather be the guy 10-20 miles from the truck living in style then the guy wishing I was. Being raised by a father that packed on a bigger scale then most outfitters helped as well. You can't just borrow your wife's show horse, head to the hills, and expect smooth sailing.

Stock will give you choices.
You can pack 50 miles into the Frank Church for 3 weeks or do day hunts with fresh legs once you reach the animal's living room.
You are limited only by the amount of effort you are willing to apply.

In the end having stock isn't something you do.
It's something you live.
It's a life style.

Don't forget your Cowgirl.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 03, 2016 •  [Post 9]

Well said 2MANY
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Indian Summer » 05 03, 2016 •  [Post 10]

It is a lifestyle. One I sometimes miss. I've run across my share of stubborn and rowdy stock. But I never met one I couldn't get along with. The horse whisperer thing is real folks. It's not actually whispering. Well sometimes it is but mostly it's just spending time together. You get to know them and vice versa and develop a mutual respect. Make no mistake if they peg you as a wimp you could be in for a few surprises. I'd say the key is gentle but firm.

It's interesting to watch the pecking order in the corral. Even more interesting is to be a part of it. When I was in a pack in camp where the stock worked hard I'd be in there after dinner with them hanging out. Running off the bullies and making sure the easy going guys get their share. It really showed when it came time to go to work. Some of the guides might get in there and run circles forever trying to catch a particular mule with no luck. It can be tough when the mud gets really deep. I'd get in there but I would let the running game even get started. Get them into a corner and say look man.... really? It doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to be an idiot and I don't have to be a crappy boss all day. Can't we all just get along? You would be surprised at my success rate of being able to walk on over and drop a lead rope over the other side of their neck and pull it tight underneath at which point you pretty much own them.

Bonding with any animal like that is cool. Stopping on a trail and having your lead mule walk along side and put his chin on your thigh and look up at you for a scratch behind the ear is a beautiful thing. I leased a horse for years named Lloyd. He was mostly appy quarter horse but also part pointer. If there were elk or deer around he would stop, arch his neck and point his ears straight up. Then he'd turn around and look at you. It didn't take very long to figure out why he did that. Lloyd was so convinced he was a dog that he actually made it very clear on several occasions that he wanted to come into the house and hang out with us. I loved that horse more than the one I owned and leased him for about 10 years straight. He knew my pack trails and hunting routes like the back of his uh.... hand.

I could tell horse and mule stories until we run out of firewood. I will definitely take a good mule to ride or pack over most if not any horse. Those suckers are brilliant. Which can be really good or very bad.

In reading 2Manys post one thing that jumps out at me is "fresh legs when you reach the animal's living room". That's probably the biggest benefit of using stock to hunt especially when you get older. Saving your legs for when you really need them.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby twinkieman » 05 03, 2016 •  [Post 11]

I own two mules, both are saddle mules, and both will pack. I've packed in with the mules, many times, now I prefer to hunt, take care of the meat, get it bagged, and then use the mules to get the meat out. Having to make it back to spike camps to take care of the animals needs, really cut into hunting time. All who are in our camp, can and do take of the animals, and if I don't make it back, no big deal.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Da White Shoe » 05 03, 2016 •  [Post 12]

I grew up with horses. I've had 38 elk tags in my life and I've never had an elk quarter on my back. That's worth something, right there! ;)

We haven't owned horses for the last 18 years... we rent them nowdays. I don't have the time or the place to keep them anymore
and, as already stated, it's actually less expensive and a lot less work to just rent. Besides, there isn't too many horses in South Dakota that are going to do as well in the mountains as a rented horse that spends every day of its life up there. They don't freak out at a grouse flushing, walking through willows, crossing a few low blown-downs or even a moose or elk at close range. These are all things that have caused a rodeo or two with our flat land horses.

I've never witnessed it, but I'm having a tough time picturing a party of hunters with zero horse experience doing very well... renting horses. There's quite a lot to know and, unless they lead it from the ground just for packing, I could imagine some bad things happening. Hell, just seeing the knots tied... and the loose cinches on the saddles.... and worse, from the inexperienced people I've taken up there... I think someone or something would get killed.

Most years, we hunt out from camp with the horses. We'll tie up at our destination or if we hear an elk. Last year, we had elk within walking distance of the spike camp... so, we left them tied in camp. The problem you run into is... how to feed them. Not the "what" to feed them. It's the "when" that gets tough. Mid-day is about the only time available. So, we hunted all morning and then had to hike back at noon and graze them for an hour or two. We hauled in feed, but not enough to last 9 days for 4 horses. So, we had to do some babysitting. Not really too much of an inconvenience... considering the short walking distances involved and the amount of elk close to camp for the evening hunt.

To me, elk hunting has always meant hunting from horses. They just go together. But, antelope hunting from horseback... now, that's a blast! And... a whole 'nuther thread.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby T.B. » 05 04, 2016 •  [Post 13]

Very interesting conversation about pack animals
Never been around horses much so I do have a fear of them,even though I'm as big as one. Lol
Perhaps someday I wouldn't mind trying a camp that included horses or mules . With the right knowledgable hunting partner!!
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 04, 2016 •  [Post 14]

I get a lot of entertainment ,sitting a long a trail and watching novices who don't know how to handle or pack horses. However we all have to start somewhere. I try to help,but most won't listen.The other entertainment is guys that bring their wive's or girl friend's arena horse to the mountains.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby 2MANY » 05 04, 2016 •  [Post 15]

Finding qualified packing partners is always a challenge.
It's hard not to offend people when you try to help them as horse people are very "set in their ways".
Every horse person has a deep seated opinion on everything even if they don't know chit and it's worse then discussing religion or politics. They also like to make excuses for their animals when in reality it's their lame stock and the way they are handled that is to blame.
That being said things will get western even with the best of outfits and we have been forced over the years to come out of the woods more than once an animal down. The sad part is most of the time it's human error that costs a critter it's life.
Very few people can tie a couple pack animals together and have a successful trip time after time. AND very, very, very few people can tie together 4-8 animals and have success.
My wife and I are currently training some new blood. I'm riding a 4 year old gelding that is a little full of himself and she just started getting on a 2 year old gelding for herself. We also have a couple 4 year old mules that packed well last year and our older experienced crew. Our 6 and 9 year old kids have taken over both our experienced riders and are handling them well.
If you are considering getting involved with stock I recommend that you choose your associates well. Many people claim to be mountain riding types and simply put..............They aren't.

Here is a picture of my daughter when she was 4. In my eyes it couldn't get much better. :D
Image

Happy trails.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby CurlyTail » 05 04, 2016 •  [Post 16]

Loving this post. Wish I had more experience handling horses, but my hunting partner owned horses for several years.

Joe, would you be comfortable posting up the contact information for the outfit you lease from? I would be interested as I am scouting a Western Wyoming spot for 2017. PM me if you prefer. Thanks! More economical than I had imagined.

First I have to convince my wife to let me move out into the country on an acerage, then to get us a couple of Mules, although a pack of Alpacas are my fall back position. Nice to dream on occasion.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 04, 2016 •  [Post 17]

I see comments about feeding.We never had a problem.Of course we typically only packed back in 6-9 miles, we would usually do three trips, one Wed., one Thur. and one Fri.

Wed would pack the camp and personal items.Thur. would be people food,etc.and Fri. we would pack cubes or pellets and grain. This would last for a 9-10day hunt for 4-6 head,with only a little grazing. Usually 200 pounds per head. If necessary we would make another run in mid week. Typically the guy that already filled his tag would do that.

We would always soak the cubes though. Most mules wold come out fatter than when they went in.

Here is a neat way to throw double diamond using carribiners. Now for all you outfitters and professional packers,I know it s not traditional,and some have said that you are SOL if you loose a carribiner,but if that happens, you just throw a double diamond the conventional way. This is a lot easier to get a pack off if wreck should occur and the carrbinners act like pulleys so you can really draw down on that pack. If anyone is interested, have full write up on "HOW TO"

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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Indian Summer » 05 04, 2016 •  [Post 18]

2Many that's a badass picture my man! I loved leading my nieces and nephews when they were 4 and 6 years old.

Saddlesore I like the carabineers. Simple and very effective. Although I rarely use a double diamond.

One time I had a couple come hunting with their young not so athletic boy. They told me they had done "tons of riding in Colorado". I kid you not after the 2 hour and 45 minute ride into camp we never saw her for 4 days. She couldn't move. I said I thought you had ridden? She replied well I did but never on hills. :lol: I don't think there was a flat spot for 2 hours and 40 minutes of that ride. On the way out she fell off her horse. Just rolled right out of the saddle. Her husband jumped off the DOWNHILL side of his horse "to try to save her" and landed on the palms of his hands breaking one wrist really bad. She was stuffy but he was cool. His wrist blew up like a balloon in 5 seconds and he looked at it, lifted his mirror sunglasses and said "It's all part of the adventure" I think the wife was thinking it's all part of the lawsuit. The guy and his kid killed something every other day. First he killed a bull and was on cloud 9 so he didn't give a chit about anything else. Then the boy killed a mulie buck. Then the kid killed a cow and after that the dad killed his buck.

I saw him at an outdoor show in Michigan a few years later and he said they will never ride again. He still couldn't hold a pen well enough to write. They tried Quebec and Africa after that. None of them had ever hunted but one day the kid came home one day and said I want to hunt. Pretty lucky to go the places he went but not so lucky on the horses. One day the kids clamped his legs around his horse with his heels tight in the beasts ribs. Well that is the um..... eject button ya' know so airborne he went. He landed head first on a soggy old decayed log. His mom about freaked out but he jumped right up laughing with red wood all over his face and said "Man did you guys see that awesome face plant?" Oh Lord I was relieved when those folks left!

This is one of my favorite pics. My nephew Jeremiah is behind me and I'm holding on to his horse with the lead rope. My niece Aiyana is in front of me with her legs sticking out because they aren't long enough for even the shortest stirrups. That boy was so full of adrenaline he talked the entire way in and out. Uncle Joe guess what else?...............

I still remember one of his stories "I dreamed I lived in a house on an island and I could cast from anywhere in the yard I wanted and catch a trout Uncle Joe" he was a fishin' fool back then. Aiyana who thought she was one of the adults by then would look back at me and roll her eyes and laugh at him. Hell of a weekend camped in the back country.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 05, 2016 •  [Post 19]

Similar story. Every year there is group that takes a mule ride in some scenic location in Colorado. Quite a few riders.Most own their own mule,but many come from afar and rent one.The latter are not what you call seasoned riders. One year, one of them thought he was a real deal, and was constantly cowboying his mule. On a mountain top, above timber line, they had stopped for a photo op, the mule slipped off the trail as he was jigging it around.

First bounce tumbling down the mountain and the rider put both hands out ,promptly breaking both wrist. They did get him back up on a calmer mule and hand led him off the mountain. Local hospital only splinted it up then flew him to Denver.Surgery was needed and both hands/wrist were in cast.

Everything went fairly well,until he was at the Denver airport waiting for his flight back home.He was traveling with a buddy, and found he had to whiz.

I guess it caused quite a stir in a public restroom with the other guy unzippping him and holding it while he whizzed.I know I don't have any buddies that close.

Honest to God true story. The group was Colorado Mule Riders.They have a website you can check out
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Indian Summer » 05 05, 2016 •  [Post 20]

An outfitter can't be everywhere. There's always something going on in both the hills and down below. So most outfitters have one solid right had man they can count on to run things in one place or the other, usually in camp. We call that guy the Ramrod. The Ramrod for the first outfit I ever guided for had an attitude. He never helped anyone because he was extremely competitive when it came to killing elk. Never sat around the fire and had some laughs. He took life way too serious. That's all fine and dandy except for the fact that he treated everyone else like dirt. He was very condescending and thought he was way smarter and better than anyone else. He also taught guide school and was downright mean to some of the young guys who came for class.

One day he was teaching the students how to shoe a horse. He was doing the other thing that made him feel superior which was being mean to the stock. Giving them a kick in the ankle when he wanted them to move sideways and little things like that. Things that my guides all knew would earn them a kick in the teeth if I saw them doing it. Stock comes first and we owe them for their services. That was always my motto. We could be starving to death and nobody eats until the stock is fed and watered. Anyway he got the hind leg lifted up on a horse and it yanked on it's leg a couple times. A common thing. But he was in a crappy mood and he yanked on the horses leg a couple times and yelled a few profanities at it. Ok here's the good part: He was down one knee at the time. That horse turned slightly to get a more direct line of fire and at the same time hopped his a$$ end up in the air and kicked Mr Cool right under the chin and launched him backwards about 10 feet. Out cold. Instant karma. A dozen smug smirks on all of the student faces. To this day he has a scar across the underside of his chin to remind him of his life lesson. :D

During the time that dude worked there one of the students stuck around and ended up working for the school. Those two got along if that tells you anything about the new guy. He was twice as bad as the other guy! One day they had a mule strapped down to the shoeing table and they were using a grinder to prep the hooves for shoes. I always thought that was the dumbest idea. The critters hate it. Well the mule was kicking around some and looking at us from the corner of his eyes. I could see the whites of his eyes and his teeth and he was not a happy mule! Mr Cool Junior reached out and went to slap the mule on the side of the face. I can't remember what smart a$$ comment he was making but he was laughing at the mule when all of the sudden.... instant karma. Just as his hand was about to slap it's face that mule was able to stretch his neck just far enough to latch on to the meat on the thumb side of the palm of his hand with his big old teeth.... and he would NOT let go. That punk kid danced around like a rag doll screaming bloody murder. It was hilarious. When the mule finally decided to let go we all looked at his hand and it looked like he got it stuck in a meat grinder.

By the way: Those same horses and mules are the nicest guys you ever want to meet. Great co workers. But they know who is naughty and nice and just like you or me they have their limits. Just like a good dog if your horse or mule loves you there is not a worry in the world. Happy stock, happy life. If I ever get another mule I'm going to name it Karma. Is that a bad idea?
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Da White Shoe » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 21]

Just some pics from years past.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Da White Shoe » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 22]

A few more...
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Da White Shoe » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 23]

More
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Da White Shoe » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 24]

Bulls.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby T.B. » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 25]

Loving these pictures......sure gets a person excited!!
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby N&N Waterfowl » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 26]

Don't have much experience with pack horses/mules, but have spent countless hours and days chasing dogs on the back of walking horses. They sure are amazing animals. However, any horse or mule deserves your respect. They are an animal that can easily hurt or even kill a rider. If you treat them with respect and a firm but fair hand, they will do the same. Fair being very important!!! At the end of the day, the horses are fed, watered, and groomed before any person eats. If there is a mutual respect between man and horse, I have found most horses will nearly kill themselves for you!! I am sure that pack and backcountry horses are the same. Truly magnificent animals!!!
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby 2MANY » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 27]

"If I ever get another mule I'm going to name it Karma."

We owned a big black draft mule named Karma!
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby 2MANY » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 28]

Summer fun.
Coolers of beer/ice and snorkeling lead horses .
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Glacier water is cold and at some crossings deep.
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The fish dig it.
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Black socks, beer bellies, and short shorts.
:shock:
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby 2MANY » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 29]

Things a day hikin, spandex wearin, fern feelin, tree huggin, college chick might see coming down the trail at em.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Lefty » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 30]

Some great horse and mule stories!!!!



. My daughter only had to toss reins or lead rope over a fence and the horse would wait, she didnt test knots. ( dut watch out for fences, that hore taught our dogs how to open latches and pins on gates,. We now use 30 inch pins in gates ;)
Our farrier moved to Wyoming, a local cowboy gave us a name of another that we tried.
We had the horse in the small 24x36 pen , with a halter and lead rope on the water hydrant
I came home as the farrier was finishing the last shoe on my daughters well trained horse. The guy had the horse twitched :x I asked what was going on. He said he didnt have time to catch a wild horse.

Monet is a smart horse I can only imagine how the guy entered the pen. Every other farrier has mentioned how easy she is to work with,.. My daughter use to pick her hooves , 3 4, 10 times a day. touching a leg and giving the command "foot' she automatically raises the foot being handled.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 31]

Not all farriers are good horse people
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby elkhuntfever » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 32]

Great pics!!! Those with elk down brings questions. Now that it is down, how do you get it taken care of so it doesn't go bad? Let's say you are 5 miles in from the truck and on foot.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby wapitibowman » 05 06, 2016 •  [Post 33]

Here's my pack string...laugh it up you horse and mule guys...but it works great for us!!!
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Indian Summer » 05 07, 2016 •  [Post 34]

So one time this guy drew a moose tag in a really good unit in Montana. He was hunting in my elk outfitting area. A few weeks into the season there was a small sign at the trailhead. And another one at the post office, and another one at the grocery store, convenience store, liquor store etc etc. It read "LOST 23 pack goats. I had the last load of moose on the goats when all hell broke loose and they scattered in every direction. If found please call with any information"

Twenty three!

Every time I saw that sign I couldn't help but picture a guy standing next to a giant moose carcass who doesn't understand goat language. I bet they were saying to each other "Look at the size of that goat. Holy crap! Safety in numbers boys I say screw this let's make a break for it"

But I also imagined 23 goats running around in wolf country with moose meat strapped to their backs. Yikes! :shock:

To my knowledge he never did find them. ???
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby wapitibowman » 05 07, 2016 •  [Post 35]

Wow! That would make for a really bad day!!! How do you lose 23 animals?? Funny story...not for him
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby wawhitey » 05 07, 2016 •  [Post 36]

May be a little off topic, but ive been thinking about this a bit. About how much does it cost annually to care for horses? Thinking feed, ferriers, whatever veterinary costs. Sure would be nice to have a horse and a couple pack mules
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 07, 2016 •  [Post 37]

Assuming you have to buy all hay and you have no pasture, hay will run about $1000/years.Grain about $250/year. Both, more in certain locals where hay is higher, less if it is cheaper.
Vaccinations about $40 a horse if you give them yourself. Double if a vet does it. Shoeing every 8 weeks.Vet fees can be all over the map,but you will at least incur about $150 every other year for teeth floating.

Tack is where it gets expensive ,then you need to figure a trailer and a truck to pull it with.

This is you keep it and not board it. About $2000/year if you have to buy all the feed.
That is why renting them for a season for about $600 is a lot cheaper,if you only use them for a hunting trip each year
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby wawhitey » 05 07, 2016 •  [Post 38]

saddlesore wrote:Assuming you have to buy all hay and you have no pasture, hay will run about $1000/years.Grain about $250/year. Both, more in certain locals where hay is higher, less if it is cheaper.
Vaccinations about $40 a horse if you give them yourself. Double if a vet does it. Shoeing every 8 weeks.Vet fees can be all over the map,but you will at least incur about $150 every other year for teeth floating.

Tack is where it gets expensive ,then you need to figure a trailer and a truck to pull it with.

This is you keep it and not board it. About $2000/year if you have to buy all the feed.
That is why renting them for a season for about $600 is a lot cheaper,if you only use them for a hunting trip each year


Thanks, so 3 horses would end up like 500 a month maintenance. I think id rather put that toward the principle on my mortgage every month.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby blackwolf » 05 07, 2016 •  [Post 39]

Has anyone else used llamas? . I have rented a pair twice and they were easy to care for and got my son and I into remote backcountry for a couple great trips. Last one was 5 years and 4 surgeries ago, so I am pumped for this year as I have plans to take a pair into the same area I was 5 years ago and have been itching to get back to ever since. Very easy animals to handle, worst experience was getting butted from behind right into a creek by a llama anxious to cross. My son didn't tie off their graze line well enough once, and we hustled to find 2 on the loose. I have never ridden a horse and feel much more comfortable letting a couple llamas do all the work.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Indian Summer » 05 08, 2016 •  [Post 40]

Nothing wrong with llamas for packing. No shoes to worry about. Easy to trailer and feed. The main drawback is that you can't ride them so even though they are really useful getting camp in and out and packing out elk they aren't something you use on a daily basis. I'd be curious to see if llamas ever objected to packing bloody meat like some mules and horses can do.

But if one of those things spits in my face he is getting clocked!
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 08, 2016 •  [Post 41]

Haven't used llamas,but they sure make for an interesting wreck when mules or horses meet them on a trail that have never encountered them before
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby saddlesore » 05 08, 2016 •  [Post 42]

wawhitey wrote:
saddlesore wrote:Assuming you have to buy all hay and you have no pasture, hay will run about $1000/years.Grain about $250/year. Both, more in certain locals where hay is higher, less if it is cheaper.
Vaccinations about $40 a horse if you give them yourself. Double if a vet does it. Shoeing every 8 weeks.Vet fees can be all over the map,but you will at least incur about $150 every other year for teeth floating.

Tack is where it gets expensive ,then you need to figure a trailer and a truck to pull it with.

This is you keep it and not board it. About $2000/year if you have to buy all the feed.
That is why renting them for a season for about $600 is a lot cheaper,if you only use them for a hunting trip each year


Thanks, so 3 horses would end up like 500 a month maintenance. I think id rather put that toward the principle on my mortgage every month.


All a matter of priorities.. :lol:
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby blackwolf » 05 08, 2016 •  [Post 43]

I have met horses once on a real "hairy" tight trail in Idaho. Went well, we held llamas tight against mountain and let horses pass. Trail was really steep and horse riders were concerned about even continueing. They got past us a ways and one of their horses acted up and damn near went down mountain but no fault of llamas.. They turned around and went back down, going around llamas again without a problem.
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Re: ABC's of Using Pack Animals

Postby Kentrek » 05 08, 2016 •  [Post 44]

We just have a horse an mule...have a big camp at the trail head with a make shift corral that gives them plenty of room to roam....hunt off foot during the hunt but when something hits the dirt we do full bone in quarters and leave it over night...return next day with the critters...

In my opinion you can't really hunt some of the big areas with out them....you can be tough as nails all ya want but no experienced elk hunter would be 15 miles in with thousands of feet of elevation to gain and not have alil hesitation about what he's going to do once he gets a bull down

Horses help you only focus putting meat on the ground...a real life saver in the big country

Ps...i can definitely see the perks of renting or using a packer...pretty affordable option
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