Great write up and pictures! That's a nice looking bull too.
On the llamas, you mentioned no feed. Do you just move them around at camp to different feed patches? I'm assuming they are ok at camp alone all day? What about water for them? How much and how often do you have to water them?
I'm intrigued with the llamas. I have one trip a year I do with some more senior gentlemen (68 and 79) with horses and as the "youngster" in the group, I get horse duty. Between feeding twice a day, saddling/unsaddling, and taking to water (only a few hundred yards from camp but I only take 2 at a time and we usually have 8 horses), I'm usually at 2-3 hours a day of just horse work.
Thank you! I really appreciate the information.I've never had llamas in the field for long enough to have to move them. You stake them in with large corkscrew stake and 25-30 feet of rope. I've watched them eat grass, leave, pine needles, etc etc.
We were told to water them twice a day and that's what I have always done. On this trip bolero drank once every other day, Clavo downed a ton of water every time we watered him. Last year the llamas drank once a day even though we took them to the river twice.
I have no idea how to kill an elk riding around on a horse, though I know a ton of people do it every year. I've used llamas purely to set up basecamp. 14 miles in, set up camp, llamas just hang out while we hunt. We pack the elk off the hill to a trail, llamas pack it to the car. We get up at 5:00am water the llamas then go hunting, we come back a bit after dark ~7:30-8pm and water them again. 15-20 min of work a day and when we take them to water we typically filter water for us and fill our camelbaks.
I see llamas as a means for enterprising back pack hunters to push the limits of the backcountry or for aging back pack hunters with good legs but back/knee/ etc issues to extend their years in the field. They also have the benefit for DIY hunters of getting to pick the exact spot you want to hunt, or moving camps if necessary.
If you want a bougie wall tent camp, with stoves, cots, chairs, real food not dehys then you are going to need a huge string of llamas. In your situation 3 guys wanted to kill elk plus (and I'm assuming no offence meant) a nicer camp you are going to need, 8-10 llamas. ($100 (8 llamas)) + 75 (trailer) 7 days)= $6125
Drop camp hunts run $2000-$3000 per person for a week, and you don't have to deal with the live stock + have a nicer camp + get to camp on fresh legs since you rode in + can go in much faster as horse string will smoke a hunter with llamas.
There are only a couple of llama outfitters in each state I only know of 3 in Colorado (I'm sure there are more), but I know there are 5 different outfitters with compartments in the unit we hunted and all of them do drop camps.
I pack the exact same way for a llama hunt I do for a backpack elk hunt, sub 50lbs of gear per person including rifle. On the way in our llamas had 24lbs and 32lbs of weight.
Anytime and I agree for your solo missions they would be great, it’s nice to have two people to load them but it can be done solo.Thank you! I really appreciate the information.
We will definitely stay with the horses for the one elk hunt a year I do with my buddies. With their ages, just being able to ride in the 8 miles makes a big difference for them. Also, the one guy has all of the horses and equipment and loves that kind of stuff.
And yes, we do pack a ton of stuff in for a very plush camp including 2 wall tents. It's pretty convenient though because my one buddy with the horses lives an hour from the trail head and he and the other guy (both being retired) will usually go in a week before to set up camp and take in feed bags.
Horses are also nice when we get an elk down in a hell hole (very steep country) and we can get the one mule and one horse right to it to get it out.
Having said all that, they are a ton of work and since I'm pretty much a backpacker the rest of the year on solo trips or trips with my boys, I'm very intrigued with the llamas. Having done 2 solo elk hunts the last 2 years and having to pack both out by myself, I'm really thinking a couple of rented llamas could be the ticket.
Thanks again for the write up and information. Much appreciated.