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Joined: 03/15/2010
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horses for packing

we are going to try to use horses on our hunt this year . has anyone used the panniers that are used with a western saddle? this will be my first year using horses although I grew up riding and my hunting partner has hunted once before with horses. I just need some advice on what to take for feed ,whether to make a corral in camp or just high line them etc. any suggestions would be appreciated.

exbiologist's picture
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yeah

that's what we typically use are the panniers that go over a western saddle.  Feed is a tougher situation.  It's going to depend on how much feed you expect the horses to be able to get naturally, and whether you will be able to rotate them.  Some people like to just hobble the horses and let them graze freely. 

We normally make an electric corral, and rotate it frequently when in the backcountry.  If truck camping we feed them weed free hay and some cubes.

 

Wherever you go, the feed must be weed free

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Location: Bend, Oregon
Joined: 08/27/2007
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Panniers work OK, as far the

Panniers work OK, as far the rest, i'd say it depends.

A high line is nice in that you don't worry about waking up to find out your horses are gone. So it depends on your horse.  If you know what your horses will do and how they will act, hobbles or an electric corral can be ok.  Also depends on how much room you have to pack and if you have someone going thats not hunting. Hobbling, moving or watching  horse to make sure they have feed takes time.  If you have a non hunter along, its not that big a deal to go with grazing but if you are all trying to hunt, i think Feedbags with pellets is the way to go.  Thats assuming you have room to pack enough pellets.  On most of our trips, we do a combination of pellets and grazing.  Pellets work real well in the morning when you are trying to get out of camp in a hurry. Throw the feed bags  on, make breakfast, take off bag and water horses, ready to go hunting. If you are short on packing room, then come with a plan for staking/hobbling or Electric fencing. Depending on where your going and the timing, you can pack in pellets on one of your scouting trips.  Take bear/animal precautions when stashing or you may not have any left when you arrive to hunt. 

Biggest part is knowing your horses. One of the strings we've ran in the past, as long as you kept the lead mare highlined or staked solid, the rest of the horses wouldn't go anywhere. you could turn them loose to feed and not worry.  You had to watch her close, because if she got loose, she'd end up back at the Trailer.

Take a practice trip at home and try different methods and see what works for you.  Keep in mind that when hunting, daylight hours are precious and the less time you have to spend with chores, the better.

 

 

 

 

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That last statement is very

That last statement is very true.  I've hunted once on a guided horseback hunt and on two DIYs.  The guided hunt was great because there were people there to take care of the animals in the morning and evening.  In the DIY we had to get up a lot earlier because water was about 3/8 mile in the opposite way we were hunting, so getting them ready and then going to get water before we even headed toward our hunting area took a good hour or more.  Then on our return at night it was the same thing.  One of us had to go down to take them for water and then do all the unsaddling, grooming, etc. before you even got to eat supper and think about hitting the sleeping bag.  On the DIY hunts we strictly used the horses to ride out from and back to camp and we used rented cloth-type panniers to carry in our quartered deer.   I love horses, but they can be one pain in the butt!  It would be cool if you could find a nonhunting friend to go along on the trip to do all the camp chores and wrestle with the horses part of the time, but he would have to be an awful good friend to go out in great country on a horseback hunt and not go hunting himself!

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what about the smell of the

what about the smell of the meat? not to mention the smell of bull elk on you after quartering. what can you do to train them to accept the smell?

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I have found that there are

I have found that there are some horses that just don't like the smell of raw meat or blood.  A friend of mine had the gentlest horse that I have ever seen.  He was also one of the best mountain mounts that I have also seen.  Usually if you asked for him to do it he would and would do it without hesitation.  We also had no problems packing gear onto him and heading out into the hills.  But put a elk or deer quarter on him and it was rodeo time.  Once he would throw it off of his back or it would slide down under his belly and we would get it out from under him he would calm down and be the best horse that you have ever seen again.  He just didn't like meat and blood. 

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none of our horses have been concerned about the smells

They are curious about it, but not afraid of it.  We have one mare that hates have the legs still attached to the quarters, so we usually cut those off.  

They belong to my buddy, and what he does to train them in the offseason is to get them used to carrying things with odd angles and noises.  He'll tie a log to them and have them drag it around, string aluminum cans from everything and do stuff like that to so they don't get afraid of stupid little things.

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Location: Bend, Oregon
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Most haven't been that

Most haven't been that bothered. but one method is......Rub blood right in their nostril,  after a while of smelling only that, they get over it.  Or bring a small can of vicks vapor rub, rub some of that below their nose, and they can't smell the blood. The more you can do at home ahead of time, the better.  If you can get them used to it, you won't have to worry about any tricks.  Get a bloody elk hide and hang it in their stall/corral, sack em out with an elk hide.  Most horses you don't have to go to that much trouble but better to find out at home than on top of the mountain. 

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Joined: 03/15/2010
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horse

I am going to look at a 9 year old gelding tomorrow a freind at work has him and has no room for him he only wants $300 for him he's had some training but needs some riding time on him. horses are really cheap here but good horses don't come along every day. I would prefer a mare but I know geldings are tougher so we'll see how he looks tomorrow thanks for the replies 

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Location: Bend, Oregon
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"9 year old gelding that just

"9 year old gelding that just needs some riding time" is horse seller code for "will only buck when you aren't expecting it and we've never gotten him past that"  If you've let a horse get to 9 without working out the issues..its too late.  People are giving away good horses right now because they can't afford to feed them.  I'd make sure you get a solid horse you can depend on. 

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horse

I went and looked at him yesterday he seems like a decent horse but I am bothered by his age and being recently broke, he was a stud horse until last august and was used for breeding so I suppose he still might have some stud tendencies. That being said he just stood there when a black lab was walking under him and sniffing parts that dogs sniff and another dog was walking around him as well. I also flapped my coat around and he did'nt mind I think he has had a lot of attention but I don't think I'm equiped to train him. I am going to ride him tommorow and make up my mind. My biggest problem is keeping a horse durring the winter summer pasture is no problem I really only need a horse 5 or 6 times a year .   

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