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Author Topic: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?  (Read 29395 times)

Offline BurleyDog

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2012, 04:40:10 PM »
I have experience with large draft horses and draft mules.
I also have experience with trail horses.

I don't want to be a wet blanket or anything but based upon what I am hearing so far you should just quit the daydream now.  If you don't own pasture and have little exprience with horses/mules then your gonna end up with a very expensive hobby that you get very little from.


Offline WAcoyotehunter

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2012, 07:20:34 PM »
yeah- it's not worth owning them if you're just thinking about packing for a week or two a year.  Hire it out- it's going to be WAY cheaper in the long run. 
Unless you want to make a serious committment to owning them, you'll want to reconsider this idea.  Find some freinds with horses and spend some time around them to learn their limitations and your own limitations... and really take this seriously. Horses are a huge committment and (to be honest) a pain in the ass.

Offline Knocker of rocks

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2012, 07:41:20 PM »
Horses are a huge committment and (to be honest) a pain in the ass.

Especially in Enumclaw

Offline RG

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2012, 07:54:16 PM »
Horses are a huge commitment.  My comment earlier about riding a little extra on the bike all summer and backpacking the meat instead of trying to use horses was dead serious.  First you get the horse, that's not too expensive, maybe $1200-$2000 or so for a good experienced horse.  Then you find out he's herd bound and you need to get another one to keep him from losing his mind.  Now you can't get him home so you have to go buy a horse trailer.  Plan on $3000-$12000 depending on what you get.  Then you will figure out your truck can't haul that much so now you have to go buy a bigger truck.  After you get the horse home you figure out you need a saddle, $400-$1200 for a good one, don't buy junk!  Now if you want a pack saddle, panniers, and all the rigging plan on $450-750.  Then you have shoes every 6 weeks,  $95-$110.  Then you figure out that your pasture only feeds him part of the year.  Another $250-$350 per month for hay at todays prices.  Now you notice your horse is rubbing his butt on a tree, time to worm him, $15 per horse 3 or 4 times a year.  Then it's spring and time for shots $40 -$75 more.  That's the price for worming and shots if you do it yourself without a vet.  Then it's a wet winter and your horse starts limping.  You don't know it because he's your first horse but he has an abcess in a hoof.  Call the vet, $250-$450, or, if you already did this, your farrier, $100.  Now it's time to hunt.  Buy horse feed to pack in, probably 100 lbs. if you will have two horses in there for 5 days or so.  Now deduct 100 lbs from the weight you can pack for your camp.  If you didn't work your horses quite a bit all summer go pick up all the stuff they bucked off, then go try to find them again so you can repack it.  When you get to camp they have to be highlined at night and allowed to graze on grass 2 to 4 hours a day.  Picket, hobbles, portable electric corral?  What are they broke to do.  Then you get your elk, you just figured out the horse is afraid of blood.  Bone it out, bag it, stuff it in a pannier and hope the horse doesn't notice.  Otherwise you might not be able to get within 20 feet of him with a bloody carcass.

My point here is I speak from experience.  These are all realistic.  If you love the packer, horseman, cowboy lifestyle it will all be worth it to you.  As you become more experienced these problems will diminish and become non-issues.  I shoe my own horses, have found good discount hay, worm them, give them their shots, have a pretty horse proof pasture so I don't call the vet very often.  I have an old horse trailer that I keep refurbishing so it works well.  I already own all the tack that I could ever use.  My expense is much lower than it could be.  I still buy good hay and ride every week.  It's a commitment but I love it.  It may not be the right thing for you.
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
 He made wide open spaces from the start
 He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
 And trails to lead ol' cowboys home again

Chris Ledoux...

Offline 6x6in6

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2012, 09:28:18 PM »
And that pretty much sums it up RG.  Great post!!!   :tup:

Offline kentrek

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2012, 09:56:05 PM »
Horses are a huge commitment.  My comment earlier about riding a little extra on the bike all summer and backpacking the meat instead of trying to use horses was dead serious.  First you get the horse, that's not too expensive, maybe $1200-$2000 or so for a good experienced horse.  Then you find out he's herd bound and you need to get another one to keep him from losing his mind.  Now you can't get him home so you have to go buy a horse trailer.  Plan on $3000-$12000 depending on what you get.  Then you will figure out your truck can't haul that much so now you have to go buy a bigger truck.  After you get the horse home you figure out you need a saddle, $400-$1200 for a good one, don't buy junk!  Now if you want a pack saddle, panniers, and all the rigging plan on $450-750.  Then you have shoes every 6 weeks,  $95-$110.  Then you figure out that your pasture only feeds him part of the year.  Another $250-$350 per month for hay at todays prices.  Now you notice your horse is rubbing his butt on a tree, time to worm him, $15 per horse 3 or 4 times a year.  Then it's spring and time for shots $40 -$75 more.  That's the price for worming and shots if you do it yourself without a vet.  Then it's a wet winter and your horse starts limping.  You don't know it because he's your first horse but he has an abcess in a hoof.  Call the vet, $250-$450, or, if you already did this, your farrier, $100.  Now it's time to hunt.  Buy horse feed to pack in, probably 100 lbs. if you will have two horses in there for 5 days or so.  Now deduct 100 lbs from the weight you can pack for your camp.  If you didn't work your horses quite a bit all summer go pick up all the stuff they bucked off, then go try to find them again so you can repack it.  When you get to camp they have to be highlined at night and allowed to graze on grass 2 to 4 hours a day.  Picket, hobbles, portable electric corral?  What are they broke to do.  Then you get your elk, you just figured out the horse is afraid of blood.  Bone it out, bag it, stuff it in a pannier and hope the horse doesn't notice.  Otherwise you might not be able to get within 20 feet of him with a bloody carcass.


oh an then after all that peaple will still get mad at you when you wont go pack there elk out for em... :bash: :bash: :bash:

Offline KyleMB123

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2012, 12:55:11 AM »
Thanks for all of the info. I think I'll just hire them out when I need them.

Offline RG

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2012, 08:10:36 AM »
Thanks for all of the info. I think I'll just hire them out when I need them.


Do what the smart guys do, find a hunting partner who has horses.
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
 He made wide open spaces from the start
 He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
 And trails to lead ol' cowboys home again

Chris Ledoux...

Offline JPhelps

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2012, 08:20:30 AM »
Thanks for all of the info. I think I'll just hire them out when I need them.


Do what the smart guys do, find a hunting partner who has horses.

Or just hire an outfitter to drop you off and pick you up.  Way cheaper than owning them and a lot less headache.

At least that is how I justified it on my trip. ;)

Offline Yak-NDN

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2012, 08:11:05 PM »
If you do decide to get horses go with BLM you can't beat them.

Offline MountainWalk

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2012, 01:58:42 AM »
do you even have an idea as to how you plan on packing it out? panniers? mantied? decker sawbuck?
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Offline RG

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2012, 04:41:21 AM »
do you even have an idea as to how you plan on packing it out? panniers? mantied? decker sawbuck?

All of the above.  Deckers are most common but sawbucks do the same thing.  Panniers are also the most common for most people although professional packers manty their loads more often than not.  I saw a package on craigslist for around $650 that, if memory serves me right, had a decker and some panniers and maybe a few other assorted goodies.  It's still cheaper to do the drop camp.  I think Icicle Outfitters does them in the Entiat for around 800 to 900 per person or so and Norsepeak's outfit is probably around the same for the Chinook Pass area.  That's  cheaper than hay for a year.
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
 He made wide open spaces from the start
 He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
 And trails to lead ol' cowboys home again

Chris Ledoux...

Offline Yak-NDN

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2012, 10:28:10 AM »
I couldn't imagine not having horses they are allot of money but in who's mind? I can load up headed to the hills 45min drive stop and grab food and drinks and spend the weekend horseback. (cheep weekend if you ask me) If I'm not horse back my weekend's are allot more expensive than that.  If you use horses the cost is offset in my opinion. When they just sit and are not used is when you feel the cost but when you are a horse person you don't see it as a money pit or a burden you see it as a way of life.

Offline RG

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2012, 10:44:00 AM »
I couldn't imagine not having horses they are allot of money but in who's mind? I can load up headed to the hills 45min drive stop and grab food and drinks and spend the weekend horseback. (cheep weekend if you ask me) If I'm not horse back my weekend's are allot more expensive than that.  If you use horses the cost is offset in my opinion. When they just sit and are not used is when you feel the cost but when you are a horse person you don't see it as a money pit or a burden you see it as a way of life.

Absolutely.  If the bug bites you, you're pretty much helpless.  It's like elk hunting.  Then elk hunting with your horses, I have the tattoo for that one.
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
 He made wide open spaces from the start
 He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
 And trails to lead ol' cowboys home again

Chris Ledoux...

Offline alecvg

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Re: Horses for backcountry hunting and packing?
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2012, 03:41:41 PM »
Mules for packing for sure.  My favorite I have used for riding is a half draft half quarter horse.  Hell of a horse.
I would rather be a conservative nut job, than a liberal with no nuts, and no job!

 

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