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Thread: the age long question of pack animals

  1. #1
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    Default the age long question of pack animals

    I wanna get a pack animal this off season but what do i want??? I don't need to ride, in fact id rather walk. I pack into the wilderness areas like trinity alps, yolla bollys and marble mountains. this year I drew a x3b tag and talked my dad into backpacking into the Warners with me on his first ever backpacking trip, he liked it but now wants to buy a animal for carrying his gear (hes in his 50's). what do we want? mule, donkey, goats, llama, alpaca? we dont need it to carry alot of gear my pack is under 30 pounds but i want something that could carry out a couple boned or quartered out deer also. thanks y'all for your help in advance!
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  2. #2
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    Mule, hands down. But my concern is in your experience level in not only caring for the animal, but loading it properly.

  3. #3
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    look at pack goats - Rodney York with Shuteye Packgoats has some good ones. Problem with one mule is gonna be leaving it alone - they usually like another mule or horse with them. Two packgoats are easy to care for - and follow along like dogs. Pay the money and get some good ones - don't try and raise babies - they are a pain in the ass.
    You might be better off hiring a packer - at $125 per animal per day - works out cheaper in the long run!

  4. #4
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    I agree on hiring a packer for 1-2 trips a year, much cheaper. Having said that I own 3 jacks and 25+ horses, mules, and donkeys. If you only have one animal it will more than likely have to stay tied or teathered while you are in the back country. Most good pack equine will travel out alone but hobbling and turning loose, they would probably meet you back at the trailer or the nearest pack station. If you are set on having your own animal I would suggest a donkey. If you get them as a weanling and bond they are more like a dog than a horse. They can cary enough weight for what you had discribed and they are a bit more hearty, stronger footed (no shoes needed) and they require the least amount of maintenance. Just my 2 cents. I know of several people who have bought "pack animals" but when you go to load meat, head, or hide they blow up. Its something that some animals are ok with and others never get used to it. Just something else to watch out for. WIth a donkey you can get a mammoth that will be big enough to ride if you choose or will pack a bit more weight than a standard. One really needs to know how to properly secure your pack and balance it before you go purchase an animal. If you can find a local packer or pack station go hang out there and see if you can learn some stuff. If you want to have a really fun time go to Bishop mule days. Pack teams there are fun and love to teach people. The AMA (Americam Mule Association) tries to put on a packing clinic once a year or so and the back country horsemans association has lots of great people that will help you as well. Good luck!!

  5. #5
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    Mules, hands down is your best packer. if you are looking for just 1 mule, give me a call, I have a mule for sale that will packing all your gear (150 lbs.
    she was raised alone, so no problem with being alone. have rode her in the round pen a few times and packed her numerous times.
    No Bite, Kick or shoeing problems. she loads well in a stock trailer. But can get her into any trailer you want, just a matter of showing her it is OK

  6. #6
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    I wouild have to disagree with the blanket statement that mules are the best packers. It all depends on the country and terrain. As far as for ease, pack goats can carry 50lbs a piece and literally follow like dogs. Deer tend to be curious with them as well giving you more time sometimes to get the shot off in that surprise moment.
    I live to hunt and hunt to live.

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    I have a short story about the pack goats I ran into on a Mountain Lion hunt in Idaho.
    I was tracking a big lion track over several days, this track was several days old and the cat was on the move, looking to make a kill. I knew that if he did make a kill he would be on it for a week, so I just keep walking up canyons trying to cut his track.The third day I cut his track again, only to find that the track had dozens of what I thought was deer tracks with lots of blood on the ground. I walked the track out for a couple miles, but just lost it in all the deer tracks.

    On my way back to the truck, I ran into this hunter walking back up the road towards me, he had several big goats following him. I asked if the tracks in the trail was from his goats? He said they were and he was heading back up to get the rest of a cow elk that he had shot earlier that morning. Since he had a late season cow tag, I saw no problem. the the rest of the story is, Pack goats will follow you like a pet dog and do a great job getting your game out. But I sure like riding my mules to and from the hunting area and walking out with the kill on my mules sure make for easy work.

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