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?
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.
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"...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.
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