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Re: [Hammock Camping] Re: Gila Wilderness trip report

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  • Steve Bennett
    I remember when they were filming Broke Back Mountain up in Canda that there was an issue with having sheep up on the mountain as there was concern that they
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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      I remember when they were filming Broke Back Mountain up in Canda
      that there was an issue with having sheep up on the mountain as there
      was concern that they could pass some disease on to the indigenous
      animals in the area.

      I am not sure if they were concerned about direct contact with the
      sheep or wether it was something that was passed through their feces
      but I seem to recall they had to keep the sheep well contained and
      possibly had to clean up after them.

      Have you hear anything about this and do you know if it would also
      apply to goats?

      >
      > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Ross"
      > <jlross_tijeras@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Neither I, nor the goats, carried any food for them. They did carry
      > > a couple liters of water, but they didn't drink it. I did. They
      > > drank from stream crossings. They ate wild forage (pine needles,
      > oak
      > > leaves, twigs, flowers, weeds, etc, etc). They eat a little grass,
      > > but not much. Having had a very good monsoon (rainy season) this
      > > year, the Gila country is lush and green now. The goats really
      > > thrived on this food, and actually gained weight during the trip.
      > > When they are full grown (at about age 3) they will weigh 200-250
      > > lb, and will be able to carry about 40 lb each on a trip like this.
      > > There are several manufacturers of goat packing equipment. They
      > make
      > > little sawbuck pack saddles and panniers. A complete saddle/pannier
      > > combo will cost about $200. The gear they need consists of a tarp,
      > a
      > > leash for each of them, and a first aid kit. They sleep under the
      > > tarp, the leashes allow me to control them when we're near a road
      > or
      > > other hazard, and we share the first aid kit.
      > >
      > > I bought these guys last year in June (for about $70 each), when
      > > they were 3 mo old. At that age they were ready to wean, or switch
      > > from milk to an adult hay/forage diet. I got them from a dairy.
      > Each
      > > year the dairies have lots of little billy goats they just want rid
      > > of. Since then I've taken them camping and hiking a lot. At about 7
      > > months old I had them castrated by the vet. By that time they were
      > > stinking and fighting and I just about couldn't stand them any
      > more.
      > > After their "attitude adjustment" procedure, they quit stinking and
      > > became mellow good natured guys. I waited that long before having
      > > them castrated so their urinary tract equipment would mature as
      > much
      > > as possible. This is important because wethers (neutered male
      > goats)
      > > can have problems with urinary stones, that can kill them. But for
      > > the most part they are very healthy animals. They will live and
      > work
      > > for 12-15 years. For packgoats you want goats that are big and
      > > athletic. Avoid Nubians. They have a reputation for laziness. Mine
      > > are Saanen and Oberhasli. Alpines, Toggenburgs, and La Manchas are
      > > also popular.
      > >
      > > They I have had to learn a lot. Behaving on a leash, hopping in and
      > > out of the trailer, trail and camp manners, etc. They need a small
      > > shed and a pen or pasture with a GOOD fence. Goats are not easy to
      > > contain, and they are very vulnerable to predators, especially
      > dogs.
      > > The more you can take them out to forage the better, but if you
      > > don't have the time, hay and a little grain will do. They aren't
      > > much trouble to keep, about like dogs. A lot less trouble and
      > > expense than horses or mules. They stay right with me while hiking,
      > > and just quietly hang around camp. If they start making noise
      > > there's something wrong (predators, forest fire, sasquach, UFOs,
      > > etc). I don't have to worry about them running off. Sometimes I
      > have
      > > to zing a pine cone or stick at one when he gets too nosey around
      > > the cooking area, tho.
      > >
      > > I do worry about predators such as mountain lions, coyotes, bears,
      > > and wolves. But the boys stay close to me all the time. And if
      > > something scares them they come running to me. They are alert in
      > the
      > > boondocks, and know they are prey. I put up their tarp near my
      > > hammock so they bed down close by. Predators here are hunted
      > (except
      > > for wolves), and are wary of people.
      > >
      > > I transport them in a funky old trailer made from the bed of a
      > > pickup truck, with a camper shell on it. The US Forest Service
      > > office in this are has all kinds of strict regulations about using
      > > pack animals in the wilderness and surrounding national forest.
      > > These regulations are focused on keeping horses and mules from
      > > destroying meadows where horse people camp all the time. Horses and
      > > mules need grass and daily water, so certain areas tend to get
      > > overused by them. With the goats I can camp anywhere, the rougher
      > > the better. The forest service people I've run into have reacted in
      > > various ways. The trail maintenance crews are glad to see them
      > > eating stuff along the trails. The ranger in the pickup thought
      > > there should be more of them out in the woods thinning out the
      > > zillions of little trees that are growing like grass on the hills.
      > > All the brush and little trees make for a lot of forest fire fuel
      > > during dry weather. The district administrator didn't even come out
      > > of her office to talk to me about it. She just told the
      > receptionist
      > > to hand me the official policy pamphlet on pack animals, which is
      > > written for horses and mules. Typical bureaucracy BS. For anybody
      > > who is interested in more packgoat info there's a good book on the
      > > subject. "The Packgoat", by John Mionczynzki. There's also a yahoo
      > > group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/packgoat/).
      > >
      > > We were along the northern edge of the wilderness. The roads into
      > > this area are long and rough. The trails are poorly maintained,
      > > rocky, and vague in places. This is very rough, remote country and
      > > the nearest towns are pretty small and far apart. Civilization is
      > > pretty sparse. About the only time many people are around is elk
      > > season (Sept-Oct). The rest of the year it's almost empty. We took
      > > the trail in from Willow Creek (about 30 miles east from Glenwood)
      > > and hiked about 8 miles south and east to Clayton Mesa (near Turkey
      > > Feather Pass and the Jerky Mountains). Elevation there is about
      > 7500
      > > ft. We found later that there were lots more elk closer to the
      > > trailhead, where the elevation was 8000-9000 ft. We saw elk, wild
      > > turkeys, deer, a bear, and a bobcat. Great trip. Going back soon.
      > >
      > > Thanks for the tips and other hammock forum info.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, N Thomas <norvell1@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > I am curious as to what supplies you carried for the goats. You
      > > mentioned that they foraged, but what type of food or other items
      > > did you carry for them? How much weight do you expect them to
      > carry
      > > when they fully mature? What type of pack/saddle/whatever did you
      > > use for them? Did you transport them out there yourself? Any
      > > problems from the park people?
      > > >
      > > > Nice pics. I am in central Texas and goats are a dime a dozen
      > > here. I have pondered starting a herd for such activities, but am
      > > curious about the overall effort.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ---------------------------------
      > > > Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell.
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
    • Rat
      ... carry ... Hey Jeff, good to see another Goat Packer on the hammock forums. I have used goats as pack animals for years hunting Elk in Colorado. I have a
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 16, 2007
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        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Ross"
        <jlross_tijeras@...> wrote:
        >
        > Neither I, nor the goats, carried any food for them. They did
        carry
        > a couple liters of water,

        Hey Jeff, good to see another Goat Packer on the hammock forums. I
        have used goats as pack animals for years hunting Elk in Colorado. I
        have a brother and sister pair of Nubians, tweedle-dee and tweedle-
        dum, dum is a wether but not dehorned. They are getting a little
        long in the tooth now, over ten years old, but still going strong.
        They live in Colorado with a friend of mine, who I hunt with, he
        gets a lot more use out of them then I would in Texas. They have
        kived with him for several years now.

        I have never had any issues with mine being lazy, but I have heard
        of it as well with Nubians. I bought mine from a ranch that
        specializes in packgoats tho. They can be loud tho, Nubians are very
        vocal, especially if I leave them at camp for a hunt.

        I always pitch their tarp close to me so they can get under the
        hammock if they want to. Several nights they have woke me up kinda
        freaked out. I found bear tracks the next morning one time, but
        nothing on the others, I figured it was some predator out and about,
        but we have always been safe.

        I don't know if you have ever packed out Elk meat before, if you
        have then you know how hard it is, the endless trips back to the
        forest service road. That is where your kids will shine for ya, I
        can't tell you how much of a difference it makes.

        I will proly start looking for a new pair when I get home in Nov.
        Maybe some Toggs this time. My kids are only about 210 pounds, but
        they can carry 40-50 pounds all day with judicious rest stops. They
        rarely do, unless we get an Elk.

        One of these days I need to get back into Gila, I practically grew
        up there, but haven't been back since high school.

        Sounds like you are learning hammocking and goat packing at the same
        time. Sounds like fun:) Just wait until they learn to untie the
        panier straps!

        Rat
      • Jeff Ross
        Hi Rat. So far I ve had no predator problems except domestic dogs on the trails. I had to bash one with my walking stick (a good reason to carry a real stick,
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 16, 2007
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          Hi Rat. So far I've had no predator problems except domestic dogs on
          the trails. I had to bash one with my walking stick (a good reason to
          carry a real stick, not a fancy aluminum one). I worry more about
          wolves than anything in the Gila country. They aren't afraid of
          people, will attack dogs, and my goats would be very attractive to
          them. Mountain lions are also a concern, but they avoid people.

          If you decide to get new packgoats here's a link to a lady in CO who
          raises and sells packgoats. She knows her stuff and her animals are
          first rate.

          http://huffakerfarms.homestead.com/soap2.html
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