Scouting trip /bear hunt
Heading out to scout for my deer hunt and my wife wants to shoot a bear.also want to get the goats in good shape for my hunt.This will be the first time I use them on a hunt. Any advice would be great like thing's I might need for them.
Getting them out and hiking is a good start. If you are going to put weight on them you should be gradually working your you way to that. In exercising goats I consider, elevation gain and distance, try to vary the workouts. If you are going to be shooting a gun around them consider testing them with a small caliber acting like it is no big deal.
Last week on an archery elk hunt I had to take a shot at wolf. It was moving along slowly on my left side flickering though the trees. I used a 357 pistol that got rid of the dog but it spooked my new 4 year old Alpine. The goat only moved off 25 yards but in my mind that was far enough to get picked off by another dog. So I continued my walk at a quick pace talking gently and he pulled right in behind me.
If rifle deer hunting you'll need hunter blaze orange on your goats.
Good luck.
Thanks for the advice Idahonancy. we just got back we saw a few bucks no bear had fun but I had a problem with two of my goats we hiked in 2.5 miles Friday night everything was good. When we got ready to go in the morning just putting the saddle on one of the goats he would drop his rear end, if you take the saddle off he was fine so we just took what he was carrying and kept going. we hiked another four miles and the other 3 goats did good. when we came out today we stopped about two miles from the truck and took a break. when we went to leave we had anther goat do the same thing. The other two didnt have a problem but they have different saddle's. the goats that had the problem where both wearing north west saddle's they where carrying about 20 pounds including saddle weight. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Hi Hunthard,
I am pretty new at this, but I have been packing or training for packing all summer. I have never had that problem, but from the start I always used and additional pony pad along with the pocket pad. My friend that has more experience told me to use them. Thanks Jim
I have had 2 arthritic goats, one with bad hips and one with bad knees. They may have been in bad shape before I stopped packing them. They would lye down quickly at rest breaks and at the end of the trip but never dropped their rear end. I could not see the joint pain and when they started limping they stopped walking within a few weeks. These were bonded bottle babies. Who literal followed me until they died.
2.5 miles is not along trip with 20 lbs. If the saddles are positioned well you do not need a pony pad. Look the goats over. You can see hot spots before they get bad. The hair is shortened, like bit off, the skin is pink and warm.
I can't help but wonder if the rear end dropping is learned behavior. If there is no other indication of pain, injury, or limp, it may be an avoidance behavior to doge the saddle. You'll have to test all the variables. Put the saddle on and walk off. Gradually add weight. Climb and descend and watch the saddle position.
Good luck
Nice photos, Hunthard! If I were you I would start by feeling along the backs of the goats who are reacting and see if you can find specific sore spots. This will help you figure out the source of the problem. Soreness in front, middle, or rear can give you clues as to what is going wrong with saddle fit. With only 20 lbs. and such a short distance your goats should not be experiencing this level of soreness unless you've got saddle fitting issues going on.

Next, look at how your saddles fit your goat. Saddle trees are rigid and don't always conform very well to the back, and many people also put the saddles too far forward where the saddle makes contact with the tops of the shoulder blades as the goat walks. Take the pad off one of your saddles and set it on each of your goats' backs to see how it fits. Does it settle down nicely into place or does it rock back and forth or side to side? Does it rest squarely on the back muscles, leaving clearance along the spine, or does it look like it's teetering on top of of the spine with the panels sticking out? Or, by contrast, does it look as though it's perched up too high above the spine with the edges of the panels digging into the back? Run your hand flat under each panel and feel for pressure points or areas of "bridging" where there is little or no pressure at all. A saddle that bridges puts pressure on the front and back of the saddle instead of distributing it along the whole panel. A saddle that rocks to and fro as the goat walks will rub sore spots and may not be making enough contact front and back, instead concentrating the load in the middle. Contrast the fit of your Northwest saddle to one of your other saddles and see if you can tell the difference. Next, add your pads and see what difference that makes to the fit.

I notice right off the bat from one of your photos that the britchen (hindquarter strap) on one of your saddles is too loose. This will allow the saddle to slip forward going downhill and can cause sore spots on or behind the shoulders. The britchen should be adjusted so that you can just slip your hand edgewise between the strap and your goat's buttock. It should slide back and forth along the goat's buttocks as he walks so that it musses his hair up but doesn't rub it out. The breast strap should be similarly adjusted. Another thing to think about is cinch tightness. It should be tight enough to keep the saddle from bouncing around, but not so tight your goats' eyes bug out. A properly balanced load should keep itself in place with a snug (not tight) cinch. If you notice one of your packs constantly sliding to one side, check the balance before you tighten your cinch. You should be able to slip your flat hand under the cinch behind the elbow.

Good luck!
Great pictures, awesome adventure!
My experience with that problem is, we have one goat Mr. Bill, the multi colored one in my elk hunt and deer hunt pictures, he just does not like his hindquarters or back part of his belly touched or have anything touching it, he does kinda the same thing, dips his rear hips and turns away, takes a couple time of coaxing him to get the saddle on, my other goats do not care most of the time, sometimes when the bugs get bad in the fall there a little leery of the back hindquarter strap, they think the bugs are going to bit them.... crazy goats, good luck, hope you find the problem,
I thought the exact same thing at first, Duck-Slayer. Goats do have a natural tendency to dislike being touched on the back or hindquarters (I'm pretty sure it's dominance related--they mount each other to display dominance, and when we touch them behind the shoulder they react as though we were "mounting" them). They also naturally dip their backs down when touched on the spine, which is why people who show goats run their fingers along their spine near the hips to get them to level out. This sounds a bit different though, and the reason I say that is because it sounds like the goats didn't evade the saddles the first time. They started it later on into the trip. It also only happened with the goats wearing the Northwest saddles. This points to a saddle fitting issue to me. It would be worth switching saddles on the goats to see what happens.
Thank for the info everyone I will try the other saddle's .The goat that had the problem first if I touch his spine on the sides about 2 inches past his ribs he will drop his back legs .If I touch the top or put pressure on the same spot it dosent bother him.The other goat does not do the same thing he seems fine today. Im going again this weekend so hopefully it works.
I just got back from my hunt . It was fun took 6 days for me and my dad to get it done . The goats did great  . Haven't had a problem with the goats getting sore since I got new saddle's. We spotted 2 mountain lions made the nights a little nerve-wracking normally wouldn't care but we where worried about the goats. Can't wait for the next hunt.

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