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Topic ClosedRenting horses / mules for a hunt

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Spot shooter View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Renting horses / mules for a hunt
    Posted: 07 July 2003 at 01:26

Question(s) First of all can you do it, thought I've heard folks talk about this. 

Second of all, all smart / dangerous is it?  Now I wouldn't even think of doing this unless I learn a hell of alot more about horsemen ship, riddin, moutains, ..... But if a guy did do this, what kind of expenses could he expect, do you get insurance  in case you get into a wreck? 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 July 2003 at 11:52

I wouldn't reccomend renting a mule. The biggest outfit in CO is Sombrero Ranches. They put up several corrals around the state, usually up in the norh and northwest. I don't have the figures of recent cost, but it was about $275-$300 /animal per season.It has probably gone up some. They required a deposit of a coupla hundred, which was returned if the horse was brought back in satisfactory condition, Saddles weren't much to talk about, but they do the job. Horses weren't too bad, I have seen a few bad ones. Most are used all summer on dude strings.

Most pack-ins require a saddle horse and two pack animals, but you can always pack the saddle horse and walk in. If you go back pack type light weight, you can get away with one horse, but it's tough on the horse to ride it all week and pack it in and out. Figure two extra trips if you have to pack meat. Maybe one if you debone everything.

You are much better off , if you line up and outfitter that will pack you in and come back and get you. If you are not  a horse person, they can be a pain in the butt taking care of them and hunting to. I always figured it was about 2 1/2 times the work, when you have horses in camp to take care of , versus just a camp.These can be had for $700-$1000. Some even have camps set up and provide all the gear except bedding and food.

Just my opinion though.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 July 2003 at 12:02
Listen to your Uncle Saddlesore. He's got it right.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 July 2003 at 15:48

  I'm just rememberin what one guy said about huntin on horseback.  Ride till you find em, and then take one.  Problem is takin care of a horse, gettin it too and fro, knowing where to go.  Mobility can be a big thing if your not where the elk are.  Don't mind packin light fer short hunts, but you can be in a heap of trouble hunting alone if your in deep and ya loose it.  Kind of a peculiar situation, want to hunt, and get further in then foot traffic.  Don't mind huntin alone if I'd been there fer a few years but thet ain't the case.  Just outta quit my job and move,   Sheeeiiiiit.   Don't mind the pack in deal, but don't necessarily huntin with strangers, and like I said mobility can be a big factor.   If I ever do get educated on how to hunt elk, I'd like to be able to do it by myself.  Don't like impossin on others, just kinda stinks thet their ain't work in WY fer me.  I'm movin around at work so I might have a chance down the road.  Fer now, I'll just tryin keep learnin.  Thanks guys.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 July 2003 at 16:27
Hell SS, what  you think wives are for?  I'm lettin' mine come into camp this year so she can care for the stock whilst I'm out makin' meat outta Merlin.  I might even let her cook some too!  What can I say?  I'm gettin' generous in my old age. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2003 at 04:59

Muleskinner. You'll be sorry.

Spot Shooter, Just get a few of your good hunting buddies to go with you, so you will know every one. I went on one gided hunt up in Canada and ran into the same thing as you suggest about unknown hunters. 4 hunters in camp, two were ok, the others were whiners.

Your best point is mobility. If the elk aren't in your drainage, you need to be able to move to where they are at. Sometimes it takes two days riding to find them. Sometimes they run through your camp.

I shot a 5 pt bull and a cow last year on opening day, laying down across a rock, three feet from the mule. My partner shot a cow. All three in less than two minutes, at 7 am, while riding into where we were going to hunt. Go figure. No one else saw an elk the whole season. Course it snowed 9 ft that weekend, and we were darn lucky to get out. As it  was, we had to pull each horse trailer with two trucks chained together in 3 ft of snow, before it got real serious about snowing. Then had to pony the stock out about 5 miles.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 July 2003 at 11:18

Guy's,

  Like i said, tain't many good folk round here (KS city) thet hunt.  Got my redneck huntin friend, he's already 55 and slowin down.  Say's he'll go with me if I get all the riggin's and can set up a camp, he ain't the type to be takin no guide ($).  Anyway I figure if I get into elk hunting I should do it right, it jest might ruin my taste fer whitetails.  Even if I do start elk huntin fer life, I don't know if I'll be able to get a horse or not.  Seems a good bit of trouble keepin them, so I wanted to know if rentin was an alternative.  Sounds like if I rented one, and still paid a guy to pack out fer me I'd be OK.  Thet's why I was askin bout the saddle in the other post.  

   Way i figured it a quarter horse saddle would fit any 13 to 16 hand quarter fine, don't know if that's true yet but it makes sense.  After donin some thinkin I can easily see why a hand made saddle goes $1,500 to $1,700.  Good Simco's aren't all thet cheap neither, friends got a good one thet I might be able to get a hold of fer cheap.  I'm still learnin what's what with saddles, pretty new stuff fer a greenhorn who ain't never rid before.  I aim to learn though, I was cautioned on gettin a custom job from any but the best of them, even then I was told to ride them afore you pay fer it, case the stirrups don't hang right, or the tree is cocked and your not lined up.   Guess if a maker was worth his salt this wouldn't happen anyway.  Startin to fill in the pictures of what a real hunt is, thets why I put up the third post on what typical hunts are like.

Thanks again,  

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 00:13
Stay away from Simcos.  I've had several of them, an' they don't fit nuthin' good.  Sored up many a horse's withers with them scrawny trees.  They do make a Longhorn brand that is a little better.  Had a Longhorn roper designed by Billy Cook.  It weren't much of a trail saddle though.  I got a Simco an' two cheaper Saddle Kings right now that I use for guests, but they won't ever go on my horse.  Best to git a 16" seat.  Yer butt will be happier over time.  Smart to rent instead of owning horses.  Takes way too much time and money to keep 'em anymore.  I might sell mine in a year or so jus' so the wife an' me can travel when we git the hankerin'.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 02:07
There is a whole study that takes a lot of time learning how to fit a saddle. A saddle might fit a horse one year, and not the next if it gets fat or skinny. Best way is to get someone who is knowledgable for help. Any tack dealer worth thier salt will let you take a saddle home ( after you pay for it) and try it out, as long as you don't get it scuffed or dirty. There isn't anything wrong with used saddles as long as they are cared for properly
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 05:02

Renting horses is risky, 'less you knowd what you're getting.   One idiot horse can ruin your whole dern trip.  You get a young spooky horse or one that ain't experienced, and you might not get past that first stream crossing, or bridge.  You might not even get past the trail head. 

There was three groups of us at the trail head loading up our stock several years back.  The other two groups were from out of state so they had invested a considerable amount on this trip to the Selway.  I chated with a guy from one of the other groups before I headed out and he said they was packing in to Patsy Ann Falls... 23 miles up the creek.  As we were talking, a mule loaded with panyards started bucking and hee hawin' down the road... spilling gear along the way with a couple  guys from the lower group chasing after it.  I came back the next day to get a load of alfalfa cubes and the guy I was talking to was camped off the trail about a quarter mile above the trail head, sitting under a tarp and not looking too chipper.  I says to him, "You still got 23 miles to the Falls"!  Wall now, he didn't think that was as funny as I did.  His two buddies' horses didn't like water so they broke loose and went back to the truck, spilling everything along the way.  His buddies camped next to their truck and he camped there by his lonesome with nothin' but peanut butter to eat.  The other group with the contrary mule... well they was camped next to their truck as well.

Older, experienced horses is what you want in the backcountry.  They don't have to be too purdy, just level-headed.  By the time a horse is 10 years old, he should be all growed up and solid (assuming its had enough wet saddle blankets).  My older horses don't even flinch when they jump a pheasant  or walk past a rattler.  A horse that don't get rode much or only gets rode in an arena don't get experienced like one that gets used a lot in the hills or around cattle. 

So if you're renting horses, just be shore they've been there and done that before.  

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 05:25

I 'spose these fellers with the funny lookin', long-eared stock got to worry more about saddle fit than I do.  But if you got quarter horses with good confirmation then I wouldn't get too caught up with saddle fit.  Just buy a saddle made for quarter-type horses and use a good pad and you shouldn't have no troubles...  I ain't never had any.  I bought two solid wool pads this year and I'll never go back to anything else.  They just wick that sweat up and keep their backs cooler than anything else... forms to the shape of their backs for better fit... keeps the saddle in place better too.  A lttle more money but worth it. 

Stay away from neoprene cinches, nothing will gall up your horse's girth like them when they're worked long and hard.  Use only materials that wick sweat and breath against the horse's body... to reduce heat.  Saddle sores are caused by friction and too much heat.  Stick to mohair cinches and wool pads... still the best.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 05:40

It's a lot of work taking horses on a backcountry elk hunt.  I never get much hunting in when I'm outfitting friends.  I don't mind 'cause I enjoy it and I don't have time for more than one pack trip a year.  I would recommend hiring an outfitter for a drop camp over renting stock, but you got to be careful there too... some drop camps ain't in the best areas.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 09:04

SP. My most, best entertainment is watching greenhorns at the trial head that bring flat land expensive pleasure horses that get rode once a month to the montains and then want to pack them. I'm not so much at laughing at them , but it sure is funny what you end up seeing. Hell ,we were all greenhorns at one time or another, and it wasn't so funny to us then.

One group brought in a bunch of those white styrofoam cups which got deposited about 1/4 mile along the first part of the trail form thier wreck.  Every pack string that went past them provided entertainment.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 July 2003 at 14:29
I have to agree on the neopreme cinch thing.  Mohair is my choice.  But I gotta depart with Selway on the old horse part.  I reckin' is true enuff, but a big part of the reasin old horses are favored in dude operations is cause you ain't likely to have a real horseman on top.  A real horseman can handle younger horses.  Sure, they take a lil' cussin' an' trainin'  Its like this guide I ran into on the trail Friday.  He was takin' some gear in for a pack trip that was comin' in later.  We left the trailhead a hour an 1/2 after they did, an' we passed 'em 12 miles in.  First thing he did was joke 'bout my horse (in the lead) wearin a fly mask.  I tolt the guy that if he knew more 'bout horses asides from sittin' on hard-mouthed dude horses' backs all summer, he'd know you wanna keep a young horse calm when its got a bit in its mouth.  That way he learns what cues an' real reinin' is all about, instead of throwin' his head an' fightin' the bit 'cause he's juiced up with bugs in his ears an' eyes.  Its also why I was on a 5 year old mare, with a t-bred in my string, a 2 year old mule, and my ol' lady ridin' a arab.  So you see, while what Selway said 'bout older horses bein' calmer an' more likely to do well on the trail is true, what yer really dealin' with is the differnce atwixt a old, broke bronc an' a TRAINED trail horse.  If you ain't or cain't train yer horse, better go with an' old one.  By the time my mare's 7, she'll be worth 5 times what one of those ol' dude horses brings, an' 10 times the horse.   Hell, I'd take a 3 legged Tonka to 'bout every 12 year old dude horse I ever seed.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2003 at 02:22

True enough Mule. Most of those dude horses have learned to rub you on a tree, or won't leave the trail and only follow the horse in front. But all in all, a novice probably won't get hurt too bad frm them.

I rode my 3 yr old mule last weekend on a St Jude Beefit ride. We did about 30 miles and she was better than most of the older " Trained " mules there. She still has a few years to go to get braver for leading the string. That is this years hunting mule. My 24 yr old will be semi retired. Still doing some packing, but only a few trips. I'm starting the 2yr old now, I have about 2 months on her now, but just riding about 15-30 minutes a day, sometimes every other day. She's coming along pretty good.

Sure wish I lived somewhere where  I could ride further than 20 miles before coming out the other side.

In retire on August 1st , next month. & hope to have time to break them both to harness then. Having a mule or horse broke to a harness, sure helps out if you have to have anything pulled from a saddle horn

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2003 at 04:28
Strikes me that all that money would make a good down payment on a Kawasaki Mule!  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2003 at 05:07
Yep, it would, but it's sure tough taking them into a wilderness are, and  a horse/mule don't run off the trail or fall over when you let go of the stirring wheel.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2003 at 06:32

Yeah . . . but just think of the size of the pooper-scooper I would need down here in the urban area!  

And you can't imagine the howling that my homeowners association would let loose with . . . would be fun though . . .   Come to think of it . . . they won't let me park the Kawasaki in my driveway either . . . damned if we do and damned if we don't!  

See . . . that is the problem here . . . everyone thinks that we still live in the great outdoors . . . it was . . . then the Californians . . . [I won't use that other word!] swarmed on us.  Think I want to move up with North Logan . . . buy a couple of horses . . . some land . . . and . . . and . . . hell . . . I don't have time enough . . . I'll let you stable one for me . . .   



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2003 at 08:50

I'd rather ride me a young horse too over an old nag that's spent its life haulin' dudes and fat women down the trail.  I don't disagree with nothing you said, but the reason I prefer older horses in real rugged country ain't cuz younger horses ain't trained good enough.  It don't take a polished cuttin' horse to make a trail horse.  You can take a two year-old horse, greenbroke to the snaffle that don't even neck rein, and get along just fine.  Heck, you don't even need a bit for trail riding... leave the bridle home and use the halter and lead rope (for reins).

I want as few problems as possible and I want to bring my horses back home with me... that's why I prefer taking older, experienced horses to the Selway.  Horses that's seen it all and ain't going to get overly excited or spooked and end up rolling down the mountain.  There's something about that country that lets you feel its wildness... my horses feel it too... they get on high-alert there even though they never spook or shy away from nothing back home.   'Course I use young horses in the mountains for ranch work all the time and would hunt and pack with them in most mountains.  I rode our big black horse elk hunting last year... and he's still a bit green.  But I got a differnt policy for the Selway... they got to be Selway broke.... which is more a measure of level-headedness.  Some young horses with the right disposition would qualify, but some horses need more experience to get there.  If I had to take one that I wasn't sure was ready, I'd be more confident riding it than packing it (where I got less control of him).    Any horse that's going to jump sideways when spooked or dance around when we've moved off the trail to let an outfitter's string pass through, ain't going to make the trip.  There's several rootin' tootin' cowboys I know, expert riders, that just plain won't take a horse there... their horses are too valuable to them to take a chance.   

I'm biased, but I think ranch work makes the best horses.  They get variety and they see it all... they got to cross rivers to gather some cows... they got to go after wild yearlings that's gone up a steep mountain... they got to run down a cow or calf that's bolted from the herd... they got to drag the calves to the fire... they got to pack salt or fencing supplies up the mountain, etc.  Horses love to chase cattle (if they love hunting or packing, they don't show it as much).  If they like the work, it keeps them fresh so they just get better with age.  I figger them poor dude horses get soured purty quick going up and down the trail with their noses sniffing the arse of the horse in front of 'em the whole way.   Give 'em more variety and something they really love to do, and they'll age like good whiskey. 

Mule, you're a shore'nuff horseman (I won't insult you calling ya a cowboy), but I figger there ain't no better way to get wet saddle blankets than chasing cows.  If you ain't done it, give it a try.  Offer a hand to a rancher you know... have him call you when he needs an extra rider on a round-up or trail drive... won't get no wages (maybe supper) but it will be good for your horses to mix a couple of those rides in a year.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 July 2003 at 10:14
I chased bovines enuff.  You can have 'em.
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