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Pack Goats

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Unread 12-08-2008, 06:25 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 30
Pack Goats

Hunting with Pack goats.
My friends and I have been bow hunting some pretty inaccessible areas along the Wasatch Front in Utah. We have also been packing into some other areas that are a little harsh. We started out packing everything in on our backs. That was ok but it seemed like you would hike in for the day and then be a little tired for the next few days. We started looking at ultra light packing getting the packs, bags, hammocks, stoves etc. It would still be a pretty heavy pack for a good stay on the mountain. We started looking for ways to help us take a camp up the hill and still have a comfortable camp. We originally looked at llamas and by some fluke found out about pack goats.
At first we thought the goats were a strange way to go but the idea stuck and I started to do a little more research. I found a guy that rented them and we spent some time learning about them. I was very impressed to say the least. The first picture of my buddy and I was up one of the nastiest trails that I know. We took two goats from that friend to try and they were awesome. The big horned goat had about 65 lbs and the other had about 40. It was a great trial run.
For those of you that arenít familiar with pack goats they are very easy to pack with. Goats by nature are very social. After a week or so of visiting them with treats in your pocket, they will follow you anywhere. They are kind of like big dogs in that manner. You donít have to worry about lead ropes or anything else. Just get up and take off and they will be behind you.
On our first trip we came up to some fallen trees that were very hard for us go get across. My friend and I jumped across. The mountain was VERY steep on both sides of the trail. It was also incredibly thick. Clay Zimmerman who let us use the goats said to just go over the obstacle and donít look back. If we could make it over they would find a way because they didnít want to be left behind. We did and so did they. They can go up and down things with full packs that I donít think I could.
Besides being able to walk almost anywhere with a full pack they are great with food and water. They are able to go a couple of days without water as long as they can get good green feed. And speaking of feed they can eat anything. Sometimes we highline them at came others we let them roam. They never go far. They love pine, weeds, dear leaves (sounds like a kid with a bag of potato chips) and grassÖabout anything that they can get too. Makes for great packing companions because you donít have to bring them in any food.
Goats also seem to put big game animals at ease. We have walked up to both deer and elk with the goats. A couple of years ago we were bow hunting in a spike elk unit. The elk were in the rut and we were having a great time. We were camping a few miles in and the elk were coming into camp every night. During the day we could walk right up to them with the goats. On one occasion we heard a bull bugling and headed into his direction. We caught up to him in an aspen thicket. We had seven goats with us and were quite a group. The elk was about a 320 six point. We walked to within about 20 yards. He noticed us but didnít seem to care. One of the larger horned goats walked right up to him. The elk was raking the heck out of an aspen. The goat walked up to the aspen right next to him and started to rub. The elk stopped for a second and gave the goat a look. He then started to rake again. We always seem to see big animals up close when we have the goats with us.
They also do well in the cold. My friends took the goats up a couple of weeks ago in the snow and had a great winter camp.
The goats can pack about 50-60 lbs. They are very easy and fast to load. They follow you and make good companions. We now have some great light weight gear and can take quite a bit with us. I like camping a little more when I can bring some good food and comfort gearÖ.especially when Iím not carrying it. We just load our packs heavy and use the goats to pack out any animals we might harvest.
One last thing about goats. They are much cheaper than horses. One goat eats about a bail of hay every two weeks. They also need a much smaller living area and I can throw a few in the back of a truck.
Anyway here are a few pictures of us and the goats out packing.

Here is also a website with some more info on pack goats.

High Uinta Pack Goats

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Unread 12-08-2008, 06:55 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Bull Mtns MT
Posts: 593
Re: Pack Goats

Awesome Man!!
Thanks for the post. Beat the heck out of waisting your back.
Looks like they'll haul deer quarters out ok.
I'd Rather Make a Slow Hit Than a Fast Miss!

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Unread 12-08-2008, 08:50 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Back in the south -NW FL..
Posts: 1,160
Re: Pack Goats

Adamsoa ,-----------------!!! Great post -best i've seen in a while ..

Thanks for the info i appreciate it.
The goats make perfect sense -i knew they didn't eat or drink much , i read a story about them not bothering to get a drink of water after a long stenuous mountain climb.Myself i'm a water glutton and toting water into dry mountainous regions is hard work as you well know.
Horses are a -pita- too much upkeep -bust out running and bucking for no reason known to man sometimes -very expensive .

Can a guy get any run of the mill goat when they're young and get them use to wearing a pack and packing ?

I'm mainly a predator hunter and have thought that a couple of goats in the backcountry would be great not only for packing but as decoys for couger -and wolf when legal.
Being able to get close to game animals and have -extra stuff- for comfort in the backcountry would be a big-time blessing.
When i get a little more settled in [might be moving to oregon] i will definately get a pair.

Thanks again for sharing and add more info if you can.-Mike
AIPAC for president !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 12-08-2008, 08:53 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 24
Re: Pack Goats

Pretty Cool!!!! I wish I could have used them earlier this year.
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Unread 12-08-2008, 10:12 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,871
Re: Pack Goats

Hey, ol Mike,

I checked out the goats last year in prep for this year.

For 500 bucks you can get one, trained and equip't. 2 fer 1K$. Most probably worth it.

The neat thing is that they are domestic pack animals. Thus when the woofs attack/harass them, you can shoot. Be careful though as they are quite friendly and the woofs could spook 'em right into your sleeping bag.

The fella I'm talkin' to says 2 goats pack out one deer very easily. He takes 4 goats lightly packed then doubles up with the meat on the way back.

They will go anywhere you go and then some.

Don't get a run of the mill goat. One butt to the head and you'll know why........
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Unread 12-08-2008, 10:34 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Elko, NV
Posts: 461
Re: Pack Goats

I love it. I was thinking of doing this myself a few years back. You might have pushed me over the edge. My wife will not like this.
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Unread 12-09-2008, 10:55 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 30
Re: Pack Goats

Glad that you enjoyed the post.
Big dairy goats are the ones to get (Saanens, Alpines, Togenbergs and LaManches). I would try to get one from someone who raises packgoats. This is because you are looking for a certain type of conformation in a pack goat. For 500 dollars you should be able to get a great goat with experience. But if you look you can get some good ones for a lot less. My most expensive one was $100.
There is a packgoats group on Yahoo groups that has everything that you would want to know. Every friday they have a friday market. If you look you can see what is out there and available.
The pack geear is also affordable. A good sadle is about 100 and packs are about 50 or so.

We can easily pack out a deer with a couple of goats quartered. Or if you bone it one could get it. I've had friends pack out elk with four.

I cant even tell you how nice it is to pack in with them. You dont cary much, they follow and you can go at your own pace and get into all sorts of places.
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