idnative moisture comes in many forms up high, riding in the clouds, picking up all the morning dew from the alder choked trails and yes sweating horses. I've found the scabbard to be quite water tight but it's having the rifle out and putting it back damp for the days ride that I experienced my problems.
I do agree with you on 2r's post, tough looking bunch and I bet a riot to ride with.
REGULATORS mount up.
This is a great thread with absolutely beautiful looking animals and awesome country. Keep it going guys as I have only been able to do three horseback hunts in Wyoming in my lifetime and this thread is like I'm out there with all of you!!!
If I could I'd live up there from the spring until the fall.We've built corrals way back in the high country and there are days we've packed them in pretty tight.It's nice to feed and water them and tuck them in for the night knowing they'll be there in the morning.
In the States, the USFS would ticket us for building corrals if we were to do that, (especially nailing to live trees) AHh! I see they are tied ...My bad... The only exception seems to be for outfitters who have a special use permit, or Cattle and sheep operations who put in working pens on grazing permits..
The Backcountry horsemen group has been successful in doing some trailhead holding corral project on the edge of some of our wilderness areas.
That is a big string you have there! Good looking country.
2rocky that's way to much exersize for me. lol That's why I got the horse's. We park them in December and let them become lawn ornaments for a couple months. We start riding again in mid to late March when the snow is gone. It'll be great this year because I've banked an extra 5 weeks holidays on top of the 3 I get plus the 2 I never used last year.
With my knees, I could not Elk hunt, maybe not Muley hunt in some areas without them...oh, yes, the fond memories----a burnout stob in the Bob sticking a horse in the flank and a great rodeo show for the others ( I stayed on---aint no rookie), the time the horse saw an alligator in the creek he had already crossed 5 or 6 times in the Selway Bitterroot and another rodeo ensued, the time the horse got all four feet on the ice beneath the snow in the mtns near Austin NV and went down sideways, the time in NM when my faitful steed had gotten me off the mountian in the dark and I stupidly took my artificial knee leg out of the stirrup and a Jack rabbit came from between his legs only 200 yds from the trailer----knocked out, concussion and three broke ribs, that time in AK when the mighty steed saw a Griz, reared and ran hellbent fot leather in opposite direction ( I somehow dismounted with my rifle and ran toward the Griz as my guide was still there---have no clue how it happened), the time in AK when the guide could not find a way off the second terrace of the Nebesna River and said "Watch, follow me" and he went off a 40 ft high damn near vertical bank and when I walked my horse up ready to side slope him, he went straight over---yee haw, or the time coming off Mt Kitumbumbie in Tanzania on one of the damndest so called trails I have ever ridden that I looked back at my buddy and the horse went under a limb as close as he could get and knocked me off backwards.....but I grew up with them and it really hurt me to have to put a couple down....I do love horses because they
are now areas I could not hunt without them....oh, almost forgot the one that led to my knee replacement surgery...coming thru a hemlock marsh, beautiful, in the dark in BC, all relaxed, horsy stabbed himself in flank with a stob left by trail clearers--idiots---I got drug a couple of hundred feet before we got him stopped....not fun! I
BTW, never rode one no matter how well trined that would not try to ease up agaist a tree and rub you off.
Please dont ever get on a horse for first time when hunting in the mountans! And riding a horse in a controlled enviroment with a trainer nearby is not riding a mtn horse....even if you get aquainted and give your horsy a sugar cube!
hahahahaha I'm not laughing at you I'm laughing with you. It's always a little tense when shat hits the fan on a good ride, but you have to admit as long as nobody looses an eye
the events make great camp stories later.
I was lauched on a fairly steep down hill one day that should have landed me 10-15 yards ahead of the other guys. The one hand hanging on to the lead shank of my pack horse saved my bacon. I hit the end of the lead shank and that pulled me back down into the saddle and the second attempt at being dispatched by my trusty stead the guys said there was a good 3 feet between me and the saddle again hitting the end of the lead shank and slamming me back in the saddle but this time half assed as I was now departing to the right. Try 3 and I'm looking for a soft landing spot still hanging on to lead shank for the pack horse because it's the only thing stopping a complete forward dismount. This time as the lead shank tightened I came down about half way back over the back of the saddle and 3/4s off the left side. My horse stopped dead in his tracks,I regained my parts and settled back in the saddle like nothing happened. The horse nibbled a bit on some grass I lit up a smoke and looked at the other guys who were still stunned by what just took place and said "Regulators mount up."
Here’s one of my stories. About 20 years ago 3 of us took horses, one each and a borrowed pack donkey into the wilderness south of Mammoth Lakes CA. for a deer hunt.
The first day in, everything went well although we were having fun making fun of the poor little donkey with panniers on him. The problem with donkeys and panniers is the donkeys girth isn’t a good fit for panniers.
The next morning we did a short hunt without success so we packed up to move deeper in. We had to go up a steep switchback and the panniers kept sliding off center on the donkey so we would stop and my buddy would cinch it down some more. About half way up the trail the donkey decided he wasn’t going any farther. We thought he was just being a stubborn donkey and sat there pulling and waiting for him to get going again. Pretty soon he laid down and started breathing real heavy. We thought “oh no we killed him”. All these thoughts were being played out in our heads like, What are we gong to tell the owner, who was my buds brothers, what are we going to do with a dead donkey and how are we going to get the gear in and out.
Well, we got the panniers off the donkey and put them on one of the horses and lo and behold the donkey got better and finally got up. Probably got what he wanted so he was ready to go again with just a saddle on his back. We went the rest of the trip walking one horse and leading a donkey with a saddle on him. What a waste of time having him along.
After several trips into wilderness areas hunting with horses I feel the same as some others. They can be an awesome way to get in and out of the deep areas, but you are always worried about them.
I like horses for the same reason people hunt with dogs, I enjoy watching them work and they can increase success. There is no such thing as a perfectly safe horse trip, but use caution and be careful and I think they're certainly as safe as most ORV's. Personally I prefer mules, for all the reasons everyone knows, but they may be even more finicky than horses in some ways. What never fails to amaze me is how tough they all are. Mules especially are literally unbelievable in their ability to cover miles and do their job without compromise.
There is something suprememly satisfying in riding a horse through good country, much the same as backpacking results in satisfaction. They are also anachronistic, a tangible connection to several thousand years of equine/ human partnership. I see a few backpacking outfitters in the MT wilderness areas I hunt but you see a lot more horses and mules. I suspect that's because it works. For what it's worth, I ride a mule and lead mules, so I'm no cowboy and I don't pretend to be. But it's hard for me to imagine a time when I can't assuage my wanderlust with a pack trip into some shangri-la basin that I just know is filled with game and grass..
Some threads are just too good to let them die. The packing, both in and out is a given. There are many places that you just can't get a comfortable camp into without horses. Getting an elk out (the entire elk) of the back country without horses is very tough.
Horse hunting also includes depending on the horse to help you find game. Their ears and eyes are far superior to ours. Especially as we get older.
As many of us have hunted with dogs and have seen them change direction with a change of the wind direction and they walk you right into the birds.
If you pay attention to your horse, they will alert you as to elk, deer and whatever that are adjacent to you in the woods. Like dogs, some are better than others. Often I have had my elk pointed out to my by my horse.It is a partnership that is developed over time.
Another skill of horses is the ability to retrace their tracks home even in the dark of night. I have experienced some incredible trips where I depended entirely on the horse to find my way home in the dark. A long ride in the moonlight is breathtaking.
Not every horse is the same and trust is developed over time. Yesterday I cut out 7 miles of primative trails. My horse brought me back to the truck without any guidance. Twice I interceded but I was wrong.
It's a partnership that far exceeds anything your quad or sxs can provide.
I remember being a kid maybe 10 or 12 and a family friend, Gene, killed a bull in the afternoon. Gutted it and split the shoulders and hips to cool it off and drove home to pick up his horse and mules. He showed back up to camp really early in the morning, I dont think sleep was involved that night for him. He took the horses out of the trailer and up the mountain he went. He spent the day taking the bull apart and apparently fighting one particularly stubborn mule.
My dad and I hike into where his bull was and tried to help with taking apart the bull. The stubborn mule's lead rope came lose and he ran up the hill a couple hundred yards, we offered to catch it. He said that one would calm down later. So we helped load up a horse and another mule with meat and his gun and left him to catch the stubborn mule.
The direct line to camp for him and his pack string was far shorter then our hike to the truck and the drive back to camp. So we figured he would be back to camp long before us. We hunted the rest of the day and started for camp around dusk. About 3 miles from camp, we caught movement and there was Gene, walking. The horses blew up on the way to camp, bucked him off and ended up scattering everything all over.
It was dark by the time we listened to his story and we got back to camp and as you could imagine, there were the horses and mules. A whole lot of cussing later the horses were hobbled, at least we thought, and fed. Later that night, all hell broke lose when the mules started running through camp. The chase to circle the mules started and we 4an back and forth through camp to keep them from getting too far away. I can remember Gene telling my mom, "Loreen, if I come back through camp one more time, get my gun." I was old enough to understand what he meant so it made me laugh. My mom hit my shoulder and said, "No, he is serious."
The rodeo finally came to end and we went to bed. The next morning we thought we would try to find the meat and gun. The mules shook the gun and meat off the pack boards in the same general area. We stopped in to a nearby camp to explain what happened and they had actually found it all the night before on the way in from hunting!
This was my first experience with horses packing meat and it was one I will never forget! I will be back in Idaho hunting the same area with Gene in November. I havent seen him in about 10 years, I will be sure to bring this particular story up at the camp fire.