Any pack llama users?

Discussion in 'How To Hunt Big Game' started by Elkeater, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Elkeater

    Elkeater Well-Known Member

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    hey all just wondering if any of you guys are using pack llamas. Just wondering about basics like initial cost, how much weight they can pack, feed cost, llama issues etc.
     
  2. livetohunt

    livetohunt Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    I grew up with llamas, my dad used them to pack.

    You can have 4 llamas and spend the same on food as one horse. They are slightly less picky about grazing than a horse, but they won’t eat anything and everything like a goat will.

    We had one very very large llama that we could pack about 110 lbs on him and he didn’t mind it.

    They seem to be less wary around dead animals than I have seen horses be, but that’s probably something they get used to.

    In the summer when hay is through the roof you can usually find some decent llamas very cheap or even free. You will end up with one that will be in charge, he will the lead line. I recommend only having one sex, it keeps them from fighting too much.

    We actually had all males. One of the younger males was trying to establish dominance for a few years. The other 3 ended up cornering/trapping him between the barn and the feeder and then trampled him to death. So if you have two that are fighting a lot and challenging Each other get rid of one of them.

    The tack is expensive, but then compared to horse tack it’s cheap.

    I personally think that the amount of water a llama needs vs a horse is one of the best advantages.

    That’s... about all I remember. I’m
    Sure people on here actively using them will have more up to date info on costs.
     
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  3. Elkeater

    Elkeater Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info. I’m just starting to look at the idea and decide if llamas could be right for me. I’m starting to get a little beat up and I’ve gotta figure out a better way to haul elk 5 miles out of the backcountry.
     
    Mike 338 likes this.
  4. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    I know your query is on llamas but there's an LRH member but remember his name/screen name but IIRC, he was from Idaho and was using a certain breed of goats. Apparently, they are better than llamas but I do not remember the PROs and CONs. Hopefully, he'll chime in or others that have a better recollection than mine.
     
  5. Elkeater

    Elkeater Well-Known Member

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    I am like looking at goats as well so if anyone can chime in on those that would be great as well. Horses are cost prohibitive for me so those are out.
     
  6. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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  7. KyCarl

    KyCarl Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget a good trailer? We had horses and you need an enclosed trailer
    60 mph at zero degrees is cold! Have to get them there and back home.
     
  8. livetohunt

    livetohunt Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Best thing about goats is that they can get all there water from what they are eating. So you don’t have to camp near water, or take them to water during the day.
     
  9. Beardeddeer91

    Beardeddeer91 Well-Known Member

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    I’ve been looking at alpine goats myself (can’t comment on the llamas). There is a guy on YouTube that has a lot of helpful videos on using pack goats for hunting. His website and YouTube channel name is PackGoats.com. Might be worth a look for some info and videos on them to see if they are right for you.
     
  10. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    I've heard that when owning llama's, either have all males or all females.

    I've used goats and horses/mules. Goats are low management in the field. They don't eat/drink much and you don't need to lead them. The can go anywhere but be advised... they can decide they don't want to cooperate.

    Horses/mules are pretty great cause you can ride them and just one can carry an entire boned out elk. They can get a little "lungey" going uphill and break away from you. They are usually waiting for you at the top of the hill if they do break away. I've often just used one mule to carry my load in and then I ride her after camp is set up. Downside is water availability.
     
  11. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

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    I've only used horses to pack in the past. They are expensive to own, but if you speak horse, you might be able to find someone from whom you can rent a pair. I've done this in the past with (mostly) good success.

    I can't see using goats as transportation. IME they are just too mischievous and playful - training them on a milk stand is hard enough... though if you are prepared to invest enough time anything is possible..?

    Never seen Llamas used that way. Look forward to hearing more about it. My second choice would be a pair of mules. They are very good at pulling and/or carrying things, more capable than a horse manoeuvring through the thick stuff, and quite happy to travel at bipedal speeds.
     
  12. scdogman

    scdogman Well-Known Member

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    I've never used llamas before, but I have rented 3 for the 2nd season in colorado.

    Google randy newberg and llamas on youtube.

    I'll share my experience after that
     
  13. Elkeater

    Elkeater Well-Known Member

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    Ya definitely let us know how it goes.
     
  14. stirner

    stirner Active Member

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    I bred, raised, and packed with llamas in the '80s and '90s. We had as many as 18 in our pasture at one time. We never had any problem with dominance in the herd. Once in a while, there would be some jostling, but nothing extreme. They have a strong herd instinct that, I think, prevents this.
    Our males weighed between 300# and 350#. Our rule of thumb was, like most animals, would comfortably carry 1/4 of their body weight. I have loaded more, but for shorter walks of 5-10 miles. Before my wife and I had llamas, we were backpackers. The transition was effortless. All of our camping gear was lightweight, which you need to save weight. Two llamas could carry all our gear for a week-long trip into the Bob or Scapegoat wilderness. I even took one of the panniers to all the outdoor stores in Helena, and found a cooler that exactly fit one of the panniers. That allowed us to carry home-made frozen meals, salads, and beer.
    Packing with llamas is a breeze. I have been out of the business for 15 years now, so I can't give you any references on where to buy gear, but I'm sure Google can. You will need halters sized specifically for llamas. Lead ropes were 3/4" X 8' soft nylon, with a snap on one end, and a knot tied on the other. Stake-out ropes were 1/4" nylon with a snap on each end. the stakes were 1/4" steel rod, with a loop bent on the end. I tried tent pegs, but they kept on breaking on the rocks when I drove them in the ground. I moved the stakes a couple of feet in the morning and evening, as the llamas would wear them loose. I used a sawbuck pack frame. There also are Decker packs. The packs came with a felt saddle blanket, which was probably not needed for the llamas, but came in handy as a ground blanket for me. The panniers were nylon that I got in blaze orange, as we used them for hunting, as well as summer camping.
    Llamas are browsers. They will eat about anything, but grass is best. One acre of irrigated pasture per animal, with 1/2 ton of hay for winter feed. Alfalfa hay is too rich for them, grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix will do.
    Llamas have many advantages for packing. First, they walk at your speed. They don't spook as easily as a horse. It doesn't hurt if they step on your feet. They are always alert to their surroundings. Our daughter rode one until she was 5, when she got bored riding all day. A friend used to bring his llamas to shows in his van. For stability, they lie down while travelling.
    But the most important thing that I always told people was that I can go anywhere with a loaded llama, that you can go, as long as you don't use your hands to get there. We don't scale cliffs. Also, they don't have the "down genes" to walk down stairs. When we first started packing with llamas, I would always challenge them with obstacles we found in the field. I've high-centered one on a 4' blowdown, and taken another across a scree made of 2'-4' boulders.
    On the down side, they do "spit". But it isn't spit, they are actually vomiting the contents of their first stomach. This is easy to predict, as they will give you a "horizontal ear threat", to show they are irritated. If you want more info, I'll gladly give it to you.
     
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