Archery Hunting with Goats *Clearly I need Help*
Hello all,

I am originally from Pennsylvania and have recently moved to Georgia.

A little back history on me:

I pretty much grew up on a dairy farm. I have been around horses and livestock almost all of my life so being around and taking care of animals isnt really an issue for me.

I realize that pack goats will take a lot of work and several years before they will be ready. I have about 50 acres of land. So space for these goats will not be an issue.

I got back from a semi-successful hunting trip into Colorado this season. DIY OTC hunting area. I wont bore you with the details.

I'm about 160 pounds and this season I backpacked in about 5 miles with everything on my back and I decided that was the last time it was going to happen. I have been looking into pack goats for about two years now and have done a ton of research.

I am strongly considering getting 4-6 pack goats (weathers).

I camp lightweight. I have lightweight gear for backpacking. so really I am only going to be using the goats to get meat out and to get that heavy nasty pack off my back. I will carry my bow and wear my day pack with lightweight stuff in it.

I have a few questions/concerns that some of you may be able to help with. I think I have watched just about every single video on the internet when it comes to pack goats . haha

Some people say "Never leave your goats at camp" I guess my question is what are you doing with them when you are hunting? Tying them up? (I have my concrn with them becoming a bear/mountain lion snack). Having them hunt right along side of me seems like it would be a complete disaster as an archery hunter with them making noise the entire time??

Also, I cant really find on the internet just how much a pack goat drinks for water in a day.

If I could have 4 goats that carry 40 pounds each that would be a lot of gear that I wouldn't have to have on my shoulders/back.

I hunt deep in the national forest and I know for sure that there are predators there so I am trying to figure out if goats are really for me or not.

I love Marc Warnke's videos. They have been very helpful.

The real big question and big ticket item to all of this comes in a two part question.

Is it practical to have pack goats to hunt out west when I live 1500 miles away and am only able to hunt two weeks a year?

Will my goats be able to travel that distance in a trailer?

Finally, will my goats who are raised and trained at 1500' Elevation be able to hunt at 10,500 elevation?

I know there is  a lot of information on this forum but these are my major concerns. I just don't want to invest time and money into Packing goats if it just isn't practical.

I really don't want to go the horse/mule/llama route. Those are just too expensive to feed and are not practical for me to own.

Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated before I end up with an epic failure and get the kids attached to the goats only to have them as pets for the next 15 years. 

Welcome Gary. There are several hunters on these forums who will probably be a lot more helpful answering your questions than I am. I wonder about going from low to high elevation as well. I'm sure goats need time to acclimate to the elevation just like people. However, having them in good, fit condition will no doubt help tremendously. Many people travel from low elevations to hike and hunt in Colorado and do just fine as long as they are fit to begin with, take a couple of days to acclimate, and drink plenty of water. I can't see why goats should be any different.

Wethers don't drink very much water. I'd forgotten how little they drink compared to my milking does until I took the two girls to a show one week and then took two wethers on a hiking trip the next. Two girls in milk will easily empty a 5-gallon bucket overnight. The two boys took two days to drink half a bucket (though I admit we weren't working them terribly hard and the weather was cool). I never carry water for my goats while hiking. It's uncommon to find areas in Colorado where you have to pack water in, especially if you're hunting. There has to be water in the area for the game. There's no reason the goats can't drink from the same source, but some goats do have to be trained to drink from a natural source. Some folks find it easier to bring a small bucket and dip water from the creek rather than expect the goats to approach the water. Mine are pretty good at drinking from puddles and streams along the way if they get thirsty. If your goats aren't drinking as much as you think they should, it can help to add a small amount of Tang or Gatorade powder. Most goats LOVE the sweet citrus taste and will drink more water than if it's unflavored.

Good luck, and I hope others can give input on your other questions.
Thanks for the help and the warm welcome. This is weighing heavily on my mind about buying animals. I just feel like it suits my way of hunting a lot better than horses would!
Where in Colorado were you hunting?
Another big question I have is were on earth would I find 4-6 weather kids to buy? Is it practical to have that many the exact same age? Its seems hard to find these for sale.
It's generally not practical for all your goats to be the same age. For one thing, there's no older, experienced goat for the youngsters to learn from so you have to do a lot more work teaching them yourself. Another problem is that your herd will probably be more volatile. Pecking order is generally established by age and size, and older goats are good at breaking up fights among younger ones if things get too rough. One of the biggest problems with having goats all the same age is that they will get old and die around the same time and then you have to start over again with a whole new batch of youngsters. If their ages are more staggered then you only have to add one or two younger goats at a time as your old ones retire.

The big question is where to find mature, experienced goats. There are sometimes goats offered for sale in our classifieds section here. You can also look on Craigslist, but definitely be careful about what you buy. A goat that has been used as a weed-eater his whole life and never worked with is probably going to be more trouble than he's worth. But sometimes people find amazing deals, so you just have to keep your eyes open and hope to get lucky. You may have to travel some distance to find your perfect packgoat, but he will be worth it. There's a reason why trained and experienced packers are hard to find. People bond closely with them and don't like to give them up after putting so much time and effort into their training. But sometimes life happens and people must part with their pack string, so be patient and keep your eyes peeled.

One thing to consider is getting only two goats at first and see how they work for you. It's much easier to manage a couple of goats than a whole big string. You'd be carrying more stuff on your back of course, but it might give you a taste of what it's like to have packgoats and whether it's really for you. You don't want to dive in so deep you get over your head. Goats and their equipment are expensive. It's also easier to find just two good goats than a whole string. If it turns out it's not your thing it's easier to re-sell only two, plus you're not so financially tied to the experiment.
Gary, my husband and I have had success archery elk hunting many times with our packgoats at our sides. Granted there are 2 of us. We tend to separate a short distance apart when the elk are in close. The goats tend to wander between us, eat and if we sit for a few minutes they lye down. They are usually tired from hiking. They don't drink much but eat plants that have water in them. I guess this because they pee plenty. Elevation is of minimal concern if they are in shape, however 1500 miles on the road will take its toll.
We hunt with 3 goats that are 3 to 4 years apart in age.
Will the goats lay down in the trailer when they are being hauled? Or will they try to stand the entire time?
Does anyone know what a started string of 4 goats would cost and if this is something that can be purchased?

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