never heard of this method be for sure seems interesting, it seems to be a method that would either be really good , or really baaaaaaaaaa d !!!
Have a friend that had goats and just bought 3 packer's. maybe you could pick each other's brains . Send me a PM and I'll give you his email address. He's not a forum member but would be interested in this thread .
Originally Posted by HuntWYODon
As a point of interest...Alaska has recently made it illegal to use domestic sheep and goats as pack animals. So far this only applies to those hunting Dall sheep, Goats or Muskox.
There was significant testimony that a real possibility of disease could be carried and transmitted to wild populations. The effects can be devastating.
We have had no disease issues yet but the risk outweighs the benefits. The risk is probably more obvious in the sheep and goat populations, I don't recall the specific risks to muskox as they inhabit a completely different environment.
The diseases that they are worried about they get from nose to nose contact. And the people that uses pack animals take care of their animals. so a perfect example of one bad apple ruining it for everyone. Sometimes it doesn't seem like a free country.
The disease, that has the sheep world so scared is a viral for of pneumonia. Although they have done tests in the lab and have been able to cross contaminate from goat/sheep to wild sheep, there is no evidence that any of the die offs were caused by goats. But because its possible, they fear is there. And nebow is correct, they would more or less have to rub noses with an infected goat/sheep. There are other worries but not on a die off scale with other domesticated goat/sheep diseases.
Now as for pack goats, you dont need to bottle feed them to have them bond with you. Infact, I think its best they see you as a herd boss rather then their mama. Goats have a herd ranking system and if you're not at the top, then you dont stand a chance in controlling them. This is not to say to be mean or abusive in any way, but they need to know you are the one in charge because on the trail they need to have confidence in you. The more they see you as their herd boss, the easier it is going to be to train them. Make no mistake, goats are just as smart as dogs and pigs. You can show a goat where a treat is (say in your pocket, one time) and they will remember from that point on. They can be trained with whistles, or words or even random sounds. Just depends on how well you do the training. This is also another reason to get them right after they are weened. Usually at the 3 month mark. They cant take a saddle till about a year and a half (125 lbs.+) but as soon as a dog pack fits, they can start being trained to the feel of something on their backs. At 125 lbs, the typical pack saddle will start to fit well enough to wear. You still dont wanna put any weight over a couple of pounds in the saddle till it fits totally correct (typically 150+ lbs coming up on two years old). Equal weight is a must in the panniers that drape over the saddle. Each goat is different but if after a couple of miles on an average trail, you find the goat wanting to lay down and rest, then you are over burdening the goat. After 3 years to 4 years of age, is when a goat is at its peak weight. But like mentioned, you can start their training as soon as the saddle fits but wait till about 2 years of age before you put more then a couple of pounds on em. By doing this in a training manner you are conditioning that animals, not abusing it and it will last must longer then an animal that is not cared for. This also brings into the spot light, using them as bait or decoys. Most other hoofed animals will actually stop to get a better look at the goats. And often times will venture toward them. Making them amazing decoys for other pray animals. But NEVER use your pack goat as bait. The time, effort and money a true pack goat owner puts into their animals, this is an unthinkable act. If you wanna use one for bait, go buy a butcher goat and stack it up somewhere if that is the way you plan to hunt. A sever encounter with a predator can totally shut down an animal for the rest of its life and it will be skittish on the trail for the rest of its life. This is mainly because a goat can remember chit a long time and if not reassured, by the "herd boss" then it will just be to afraid to be effective. Granted, this is a rare occasion but its been known to happen. I know of someone who trained their goats to present their horns to dogs on the trail. It took a couple of years but by the time they were trail ready, they had no fear of dogs.
To sum it up, a pack goat is a great and easy way to pack out game or pack in supplies or just for hiking. But you must spend the time in training in that first couple of years so that you and your goats can enjoy the trail and have successful trips. If you are not willing to put the time in, then you will just regret it later on. Am also available for more info and contacts. Even a master hunter who uses a string of 8 to pack out bull elk.
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