Llamas - My newest best friends

MT_elk

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Beautiful country up in the Wind River area. Looking forward to the full story and more pictures.
 

1_pointer

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Very cool! If I lived where you do and had the opportunities you do, llama's or burro's would be high on my list of things to have. Not sure I want anything to ride, but having something to carry the gear sure is nice. I've done a few big country hunts with horses/mules packing the gear and it made for a much more comfortable camp.
 

406

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Size isn't necessarily everything. My littlest guy has heart like no other, he is always ready and never balks. But yeah, not all llamas are pack llamas.


Forgot to add that I was listening to the last podcast today while stacking some rounds and got excited to hear you say that you were finally taking the time to try some llamas out. Cant wait for the episode to come out!
 
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squirrel

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Size isn't necessarily everything. My littlest guy has heart like no other, he is always ready and never balks. But yeah, not all llamas are pack llamas.


Forgot to add that I was listening to the last podcast today while stacking some rounds and got excited to hear you say that you were finally taking the time to try some llamas out. Cant wait for the episode to come out!


Very true statement there... I've had some that just didn't make the cut, ya gotta kiss a few frogs after all, but of the ones that were serviceable my biggest wimps were always the big guys. You have to be able to support all that weight (and then the load). Regrettably the latest fad (of oh so many) is conformation not performance, followed by marketing, papers, and registry. Same shit different decade. The pack trials had potential but never seemed to catch on, just too practical I guess, way better to have a nifty haircut.

For those of you that think you want to buy llamas, work out a way to try before you buy, preferably on a serious excursion, not around the pasture, and keep in mind that nobody sells their best stock for less than premium pricing, and for most renting will work out better in the long run, (although having your own is very gratifying, like that solo point by a bird dog you trained yourself).
 

Keeptrying

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From what Beau said, some llamas are not worth taking as a gift. He has spent years sorting and building a line of pack llamas that are bigger and more stout than most of what you see. Not all llamas are bred, built, or trained for mountain packing. His stories of experimentation make me skeptical about renting, buying, or accepting as free, any llama that is not proven in the mountains.
So no different than any other pack animal. We have horses, but they are not mountain stock. Fine trail animals, but high altitude packing in grizzly country? No way.

You say the two you took hunting packed out an elk no problem. Was that in one trip? In an emergency could a person be loaded on a llama?
 

406

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Youd destroy the animal trying to pack out a grown man. 60-70 is a normal load. some can do 110 for shorter distance. most likely thsy would freak out if you tried to put a man on them. some can be saddle trained for kids. but its asking alot of them, imo.
 

Big Fin

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You say the two you took hunting packed out an elk no problem. Was that in one trip? In an emergency could a person be loaded on a llama?
Yes, that was in one trip. I struggle to see how a person could be loaded on a llama.


For those of you that think you want to buy llamas, work out a way to try before you buy, preferably on a serious excursion, not around the pasture, and keep in mind that nobody sells their best stock for less than premium pricing, and for most renting will work out better in the long run, (although having your own is very gratifying, like that solo point by a bird dog you trained yourself).
I think that is great advice. Beau would say the same thing.


Does Beau actually sell pack llamas or just rent?
He just rents them. He is trying to build his herd each year to keep up with demand.
 

Keeptrying

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Youd destroy the animal trying to pack out a grown man. 60-70 is a normal load. some can do 110 for shorter distance. most likely thsy would freak out if you tried to put a man on them. some can be saddle trained for kids. but its asking alot of them, imo.
I see. One of the things I like about horses is the ability to carry a person, but it sure sounds like llamas are less labor intensive.
 
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Love the Wind River Range. Spent a month up there in 2011. Some nasty country to be found up there and a few nice animals as well. Looks like the llamas worked out. Makes one start thinking....
 

windymtnman

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As an owner of horses/mule/ & burro, and living in the rockies, I can fully relate to the joys of having a pack team. Before I retired, and bought my crew, I used to look down into drainages, and long to hunt there, but knew it was beyond my ability to pack an Elk out of there. Now days, it's wonderful to hunt anywhere I want to, knowing that if I can walk in & out of there, I can simply go get my pack team and haul an Elk out in a single trip.
I've always thought of Llamas as not being as social as a horse/mule/burro can be, but I may be wrong. I suppose that's on a case by case basis? I've been around them and they were hard to read, and seemed, well a bit aloof? That said though, I would have to concede that on an Elk hunt, they may be a superior animal to have in a backcountry camp, as they may be way more low maintenance that horses and mules. I hear of people just picketing a Llama and they do find on the vegetation available. On the other hand, a horse/mule will eat, stomp, and crap up an area in camp in just a few hours and have to be moved and doted on.
I find hiking along with pack animals to be a real joy when things are going smoothly. I just enjoy the time spent with animals I love. So, that can be a plus in itself. However with a Llama, you're going to be doing that hiking. I can swing a leg over my horse and ride him in, even if I have to throw saddle panniers on him to haul that monster Bull out. (as if.....!)
 

ddriller1979

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I have 4 on the way after the first of he year. They aren't the ones the people on podcast are talking. They seem to be one company out of Idaho or somewhere like that. They are halter broke and like all
Pack animals you have to do some training. The initial investment isn't real terrible. But they pay for themselves as far as really enjoying hunt, they eat what vegetation in around, and their alert to possible predators is unmistakeable. Hell I don't see a fault with being able to get back to where your legs can take you, setting up a good camp, and going to sleep comfortably. They are just like any other animal. You treat them right, they will take care of you. If you don't? Well you get what you got.
 

406

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I've always thought of Llamas as not being as social as a horse/mule/burro can be, but I may be wrong. I suppose that's on a case by case basis? I've been around them and they were hard to read, and seemed, well a bit aloof?
They arent big friendly dogs, lol. I too found them to be a bit aloof at first. Over time, with trust, their personalities came out. And they are all different. One is kind of needy, he likes personal attention. 5 minutes of hand feeding him the exact same hay thats in the feeder and hes a loyal guy. I have one that will work for you and is easy to catch and halter but really has no interest in being petted or even talked to. One was my biggest problem when I first got him... someone told me "be the biggest spitter n the heard" and told me to get a super soaker. One day early on he was getting real pushy and generally being a jerk so I unloaded the soaker on him. He went to the other side of the pasture for a few hours to think on it and now hes my best guy. He runs to me, he wants to be scratched. he'll go anywhere I ask him to without complaint and doesn't really tolerate BS from the other three.And I have one thats frankly an a$$hole. Hes just standoffish, likes to bugger up the works any chance he gets. I'd get rid of him if I was a little less heartless but these four grew up together and I just can't break them up....yet. The three remaining would be fine I figure but it'd be cruel to him to separate him from his herd. Hes a great example of not all lamas being created equal. His conformation is perfect and he was raised exactly the same as the other three. One of them is his half brother. But he just doesn't want to do the work. that "want" seems to be the thing that matters most. I'm giving him another year to settle down and fall in line and then I'm gonna have to make the tough call I think.
 

Kiwi

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Great info in this post, thanks! I'm hoping to do a high country CO mule deer hunt next year and now looking at hiring llamas for my pack in.
 

Devil Diver Down

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I had some run ins with llamas while backpacking around South America in the '90s, including a spitter at Machu Picchu, and I'll admit they're not bad roasted (sorry for you folks that own them and don't want to hear that) but they sound like they have some plusses compared with horses or mules.

This should be a really cool episode. Being stuck in the middle of a major metro area, I probably won't ever have opportunity to own them but the idea of being able to extend the hunt deeper into the wild while reducing the wear and tear on your body is mighty appealing. For my situation, I'd sure consider renting. Stupid question, but does a handler need to come with (I suspect that would drive up the rental cost considerably)?
 

Kiwi

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No handler required for the rental companies I've talked to. Just a 2 - 3 one off induction / training session. I did learn that a minimum of two llama need to be rented.
 

406

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Randy- any idea when you'll get this edited and out? You also mentioned on a recent podcast that you're wanting to have the outfitter on soon. Really hope that happens, I still have a ton to learn and would love to hear his take on pretty much anything llama related.

Also- It would be great to get Matt Rinella on to talk llamas as well. He has had llamas for years now and has the perspective of just being a regular guy who decided to figure it out on his own, as opposed to a pro outfitter perspective. Another real interesting fella would be the owner of Rapid Rifle Covers, another"regular Joe" llama owner.

Thanks for all you do Randy!
 
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utahminer

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Thanks for the post. This is something I have been thinking about for years and continue to pick up information as I find it.
 
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