Horse it or not?

flatlander51

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I'm curious to here everyone's thoughts on using horses. I have been on two hunts in western wy and have not used horses yet but I am considering it for our next hunt. What are so pros. And cons. You guys could share on this topic?
 

Beastmode

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There are some very good benfits to using horses. You can cover way more ground on horseback than you can on foot. Helps you get even further back.They can carry way more weight than a human, which especially helps when you get something down. It also helps because you can bring more luxury items that usually aren't worth the weight to put in your pack. If an accident happens and someone gets hurt horseback is a good way to get them out usually depending on the injury.

You need to be in shape for riding though. Just like you don't throw a 50lb pack on and hike 6 miles without ever training and expect to be worth a s#/+ at any elevation. Riding a horse for any long distance can flatout knock you down. Anyone that has experienced this knows exactly what I am talking about. Horses can be moody at times. If you and the horse are having issues it can make for a very long trip.

Just some things to consider. I'm sure others with more experience will chime in.
 

HellsCanyon

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There are some very good benfits to using horses. You can cover way more ground on horseback than you can on foot. Helps you get even further back.They can carry way more weight than a human, which especially helps when you get something down. It also helps because you can bring more luxury items that usually aren't worth the weight to put in your pack. If an accident happens and someone gets hurt horseback is a good way to get them out usually depending on the injury.

You need to be in shape for riding though. Just like you don't throw a 50lb pack on and hike 6 miles without ever training and expect to be worth a s#/+ at any elevation. Riding a horse for any long distance can flatout knock you down. Anyone that has experienced this knows exactly what I am talking about. Horses can be moody at times. If you and the horse are having issues it can make for a very long trip.

Just some things to consider. I'm sure others with more experience will chime in.

Great points for sure... the biggest issue for me is that wherever horses can go, there will usually be other hunters. At least here in WA! I think for some areas they are great and can get you into some fantastic areas. But you also got to realize that they are a ton of work if you're hunting and wrangling. You have to ensure their needs are met before your own. I think the ideal situation are drop camps... if you can convince someone to go with you and haul out the animals and return to pick you up it saves a lot of headaches!
 

Cindy Wamsley

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IMHO Some of the pros are that the horses do the heavy work, you can cover a lot of country, you can have a luxurious camp, satisfaction in your partner (the horse), experience for you and your horse, an extra set of eyes and ears, and its just plain fun.

Cons: it's a hell of a lot of work, the horse comes first in everything, if you leave your horse tied up and chase after an animal instead of making a circle to camp your backtracking to get your horse, dangerous-wrecks do and will happen, equipment failures, sometimes you have to change your route because you can't get your horse through thick tough brush or off a cliff, unless you've trained the horse you can't shoot off of em if that opportunity presents itself, if you get bucked off or your horse gets loose your on your own and most likely your feet aren't broke in for the long hike out, you are a hunter AND a horse sitter.

My vote...Take the horses! It's fun and its another great way to enjoy hunting and the outdoors. BTW you and your horse have a better chance of outrunning a bear than you on foot! HA!
 

Battle

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For mule deer, I would rather just go without. Unless you have someone willing to wrangler full time, they are just more hassel than benefit.
 

Arrowslinger

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They are a TON of work, but worth every bit when it comes to packing critters out. Nothing like being able to ride 13 miles in and begin hunting fresh -hike that far in and you'll be whipped for a few days

file_zpsb11c17c7.jpg
 

robby denning

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What Cindy said +1

I'd also add that there are absolute as in "always use horses" or "never use them". It really depends on the logistics of each hunt.

Some hunts, they aren't worth the trouble, while other hunts they might be the only way.

All things considered, I'm glad I've endured the hassles of them over the years. More often than not, horses have made my hunts more successful.
 
OP
flatlander51

flatlander51

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That was my dilemma I hiked in 9 miles and then went up. By the time I got where I was going I had to come down the next day for water and hike back up. I spent way to much time hiking back and forth getting water. So I was considering going with horses for my next hunt. Only problem is I've never handled horse before. I've road horse a dozen times or so but I have never taken care of them. I am def. going to take classes an feel 100% comfortable with them before I hit the trail with one.
 

dpetersen

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They can make it or break, gotta have good ones, gotta know what ur doing, and u spend about 25 to 50 of your time taking care of them!
For elk no question, for deer and sheep they can be a pain, hard to do anything with above timberline.
They can and will hurt you if u spend enough time around them.
 

Drelk

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ujy5ejuq.jpg


I'm now of the long eared persuasion (mules). I've had horses for many years. This is my first mule and I really enjoy this animal. Safe. Fast very fast. Cat footed and smart. I produce my own hay and grass pasture. Every time I irrigate it reminds me of the mountains and hunting elk. My partners and I rent 5-7 animals each season. We rent from the same place and get the same animals and have a great experience with these rentals.

That being said they r a pain when we get where we r going. Daily, someone out of our group has to miss the morning or evening hunt to play wrangler.

Our elk hunts wouldn't be possible without them. So it's a cross between necessary evil and an element that adds satisfaction to our hunts
 

robby denning

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Drelk
a few of the hunters around here swear by mules for the reasons you stated, but I've never made the jump. They all tell me not to get on one unless I can afford to make the switch 'cause I'll love them.

I must say though, the guys riding them look a little more dorky and a little less cowboy than the horse guys :)

Your pic is cool, and I'm sure I can see deer track in the dust ahead of you- that always gets me fired up!
 

Wrongside

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They can make it or break, gotta have good ones, gotta know what ur doing, and u spend about 25 to 50 of your time taking care of them!
For elk no question, for deer and sheep they can be a pain, hard to do anything with above timberline.
They can and will hurt you if u spend enough time around them.
This is all true, in my limited experience. ( not sure we spend 25-50% of our time caring for them though, probably depends on the country ) I wouldn't recommend a backcountry horseback hunt for an inexperienced rider or, with strange horses. When I first got into using horses for hunts, I had the advantage of having some very experienced horse people for friends. That helps a ton, but things still happen with horses. Sooner or later, maliciously or not on the horse's part, it'll get "Western"...

I love hunting off of horses, when it makes sense. Sometimes they are just about indispensable, other times they are more work than they are worth, IMO. I don't think I'd bother for Mule Deer, around here anyway. Elk, if I don't have horses and an animal bites the dust, I'm going out for some...:)
 

Drelk

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Drelk
a few of the hunters around here swear by mules for the reasons you stated, but I've never made the jump. They all tell me not to get on one unless I can afford to make the switch 'cause I'll love them.

I must say though, the guys riding them look a little more dorky and a little less cowboy than the horse guys :)

Your pic is cool, and I'm sure I can see deer track in the dust ahead of you- that always gets me fired up!

Definitely look more dorky. My wife comes from a lineage of true wyoming cowboys. THE REAL DEAL. She won't even ride the mule. Laughs when she looks out the window and looks at him. Says her grandfather would turn in his grave if she got on him.

That being said. I'm not a cowboy. Don't want to be. I'm an elk hunter and elk hunters ride mules:)
 

HellsCanyon

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Definitely look more dorky. My wife comes from a lineage of true wyoming cowboys. THE REAL DEAL. She won't even ride the mule. Laughs when she looks out the window and looks at him. Says her grandfather would turn in his grave if she got on him.

That being said. I'm not a cowboy. Don't want to be. I'm an elk hunter and elk hunters ride mules:)

I had the same sentiments growing up until I worked for an outfitter for a summer/fall. Always been around and worked well bred quarter horses and when I started working with mules, I realized you just can't beat 'em for the backcountry. I still won't ride one though.... :)

Mike
 

dpetersen

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Yeah mules can be pretty awesome, smart, see shit that is miles away! Can pack through anything.
They can be evil also, they like to kill shit, dogs, goats any small animal, horse colts, people...
 

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