Trail etiquette with pack animals

coleslaw

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Not sure which thread this best fits in, but it is an elk hunt, so here it is.
Heading to Wyoming in a month for a general rifle hunt, and we have decided to rent two Llamas (not from Beau, sorry guys lol) mostly to help us with a hopeful pack out. Have hunted Elk before and in some pretty tough areas, one of which was the Frank Church in Idaho. We know where the Elk are in these rough areas, but without animals, getting a downed bull out is next to impossible sometimes, so we are very excited to have these llamas really expand our opportunities come this season.

Anyways, being this is the first time I've actually hunted with the help of pack animals, (still a DIY hunt) what are some pointers and tips for those of you who have done this before? Obviously I will receive tips and help from the renter when I go through a quick tutorial with them, but what do you guys do to make it easier for you, the animals and other hunters? How far off the trail do you guys setup your camps? Any issues with people bothering your animals while you are away from camp and hunting? How far away should I try to stay away from other camps using pack animals if I encounter any?
I know it is ok, per the renter to leave them unattended all day while you are out hunting, provided they are staked in a decent spot, and supposedly the Grizzlies do not care to bother Llamas for some reason. I've also been told it's better to give horses a wide berth on the trail when using Llamas, since they do not always get along.

Any tips or stories on what to expect are much appreciated. Thank you!
 

RoughCountry

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New Mexico
If you meet some horses on the trail just get up off the trail say 20 - 30 feet. Keep the lama still, just hold his lead rope so the horse doesn’t spook because not all horses are familiar with lamas and let them pass then be on your way.
 

diamond hitch

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Western Montana
I prefer to select my camps in the dark timber well off the trail- out of site out of mind. If you picket your stock , do it for brief periods but leave them tied up during the day in protected areas. Try not to picket them so long as to leave a "chewed to the dirt" image on the forage. Most of us pack pellots or hay into our camps for our stock as we can't depend on available forage given all weather conditions.

Try not to get llamas off the trail on the uphill side with horses. Having assumed "predators" above them can create panic. In some of the nasty cliffy trails it might be wise to send one person ahead to run interferance as opposed to try to figure out how to turn stock around on cliffy narrow trails or get off someting that is only a couple ft wide.

Consider your stock first in all cases and try to anticipate the worst that can happen - it will.
 

2rocky

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Try not to get llamas off the trail on the uphill side with horses. Having assumed "predators" above them can create panic. In some of the nasty cliffy trails it might be wise to send one person ahead to run interferance as opposed to try to figure out how to turn stock around on cliffy narrow trails or get off someting that is only a couple ft wide.

Consider your stock first in all cases and try to anticipate the worst that can happen - it will.

This is a good recommendation. Horse riders only get huffy if they are surprised. They will appreciate it greatly and you will be accorded good reputations from all but the worst a-holes...
 

wllm1313

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Biking, hiking with a dog, using pack llamas - horses always have the right of way.

Follow @diamond hitch 's advice.

Last year we used llamas (will be again this year). During the day we staked them out in a field, on long tethers. They could get into some shade but couldn't reach each other or get tangled up in trees. We brought them to water in the morning in the evening.

Hunting with llamas I kinda felt was similar to hunting with some non-hunter friends. They want to go, they will help you pack out.... but their not with the program. They don't pack in the dark, they aren't down for an overloaded death march through downed timber, they need lots of snack breaks.

If you are packing in 8-12 miles figure it taking 2-3x as long as it would if you were going alone. If possible pack the elk to a trail and then go get the llamas.

1598639549844.png
 

smw110136

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Biking, hiking with a dog, using pack llamas - horses always have the right of way.

Follow @diamond hitch 's advice.

Last year we used llamas (will be again this year). During the day we staked them out in a field, on long tethers. They could get into some shade but couldn't reach each other or get tangled up in trees. We brought them to water in the morning in the evening.

Hunting with llamas I kinda felt was similar to hunting with some non-hunter friends. They want to go, they will help you pack out.... but their not with the program. They don't pack in the dark, they aren't down for an overloaded death march through downed timber, they need lots of snack breaks.

If you are packing in 8-12 miles figure it taking 2-3x as long as it would if you were going alone. If possible pack the elk to a trail and then go get the llamas.

View attachment 152141

Llamas Colorado? Or some private stock? I had great luck renting from John at Llamas Colorado when I lived out there.
 

wllm1313

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Llamas Colorado? Or some private stock? I had great luck renting from John at Llamas Colorado when I lived out there.

Antero, great operation. Said Beau and Randy have quadrupled his business in the past couple of years ;)
 

smw110136

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Not sure which thread this best fits in, but it is an elk hunt, so here it is.
Heading to Wyoming in a month for a general rifle hunt, and we have decided to rent two Llamas (not from Beau, sorry guys lol) mostly to help us with a hopeful pack out. Have hunted Elk before and in some pretty tough areas, one of which was the Frank Church in Idaho. We know where the Elk are in these rough areas, but without animals, getting a downed bull out is next to impossible sometimes, so we are very excited to have these llamas really expand our opportunities come this season.

Anyways, being this is the first time I've actually hunted with the help of pack animals, (still a DIY hunt) what are some pointers and tips for those of you who have done this before? Obviously I will receive tips and help from the renter when I go through a quick tutorial with them, but what do you guys do to make it easier for you, the animals and other hunters? How far off the trail do you guys setup your camps? Any issues with people bothering your animals while you are away from camp and hunting? How far away should I try to stay away from other camps using pack animals if I encounter any?
I know it is ok, per the renter to leave them unattended all day while you are out hunting, provided they are staked in a decent spot, and supposedly the Grizzlies do not care to bother Llamas for some reason. I've also been told it's better to give horses a wide berth on the trail when using Llamas, since they do not always get along.

Any tips or stories on what to expect are much appreciated. Thank you!

We've always had good luck with llamas. The orange neck markers wllm showed in his photo are going to be important if you're hunting during rifle season. For both your safety and the llamas. We've never had issues leaving them tied out all day while out hunting. The llamas we used can go about anywhere we could on our own two feet so we could camp where ever we wanted to. Camp didn't need to be close to a trail in order to get the llamas back to it. If you can keep your llamas out of sight of any horses camped close by, I am sure your fellow hunters will appreciate that as it will help keep the horses at ease. Def steer clear of horses on the trail. Wide berth is necessary.
 

smw110136

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Antero, great operation. Said Beau and Randy have quadrupled his business in the past couple of years ;)

The guy I have rented from in CO used to have 3 or 4 available as late as August 1. Now he is booked out at least a year in advance. Their popularity with hunters has definitely increased from some positive exposure.
 

squirrel

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excerpt from some doc's, may help Ask good questions and follow his answers (the owner) He knows his animals a lot better than people on the internet do. It is highly unlikely your string will have any problem at all from the horses. Hold 'em and enjoy the show.


About the animals: Llamas are very docile creatures generally but just as like any other critter each is an individual, each has quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. Very few are bulletproof in all circumstances no matter what their proud owners claim. Llamas can go about anywhere on a trail that people can go without specialized gear, they thrive in most camping settings if there is grass or browse available and they require little water in comparison to more common stock animals. A well-conditioned llama is important as if kept inactive they get out of shape just like we humans do. But if you have a conditioned llama properly packed they should be able to go 12+ miles with a full load on a decent trail in mountainous terrain. They will quite easily carry 60-75 pound payloads on this type of a hike, if you change the nature of the hike or the poundage of the load the ability of the llama may change as well. For example if you want to go all downhill for 3 miles you may get by with a 110 pound load on a good animal, but if you want to go off trail through down timber for 15 miles in a day the same llama may have to have only a 35 pound load. If you are asking too much of your animal they will simply lay down on you and not be moved- you are screwed, as they usually do this where the “going gets tough” avoiding this scenario is far better than having to deal with it when/where it happens. Use enough animals to spread the load over more backs or make more trips with lighter payloads. In camp they are best tethered with a corkscrew or use a highline arrangement if conditions warrant. Pick a spot with grass for them to graze and expose them to water once /day (you can lead them to water but you can’t make them drink!)


About you: They are the pack animal, you are the thinker- at least that is the ideal. The single most important thing you can do to have a successful adventure is to be adaptable on the trail, before you get in a mess stop and think it through, do not just wade in and hope you come out the far side with your pack string intact. Pack light, when in doubt, pack lighter! When in a jam separate your string and lead individuals through- BEFORE the rodeo starts, not after your gear is scattered all over the mountain. I can teach you the basics of packing but the backcountry you will go to is the real teacher, and she MUST be obeyed, you do not want to fail this test, penalties can be very severe, but the rewards can be absolutely amazing. You must keep the load poundage at manageable levels and well balanced on well secured pack-saddles, this is your job, and no one can do it for you.
 

coleslaw

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Wisconsin
Hunting with llamas I kinda felt was similar to hunting with some non-hunter friends. They want to go, they will help you pack out.... but their not with the program. They don't pack in the dark, they aren't down for an overloaded death march through downed timber, they need lots of snack breaks.

Sounds exactly like my gf who is the other person that is coming along. She is great to have around and helps a lot, but doesn't hunt anything besides whitetails and isn't quite as "excited" as me when it comes to pack outs and death marches through blow-downs and boulder fields. When we stop to glass, shes always digging through the snack bag before I can even get the spotting scope off the pack lol.
 

coleslaw

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Wisconsin
Thank you for all the replies everyone! You have all answered my questions in detail and then some. We are very excited about this and being able to go farther and stay longer. Season starts in less than a month and I hope to be able to leave a detailed success story after the hunt.
 
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