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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does having goats with you in mountains that contain all the major predators concern anyone else?
I feel like I'm hiking with bait. :eek:
Last summer, when my goats were young and noisy, I had a coyote come in close to us on two seperate occasions.That was in the desert where there are only coyotes.
I'm kinda worried about hiking up in the mountains. :(

Does anyone have any experience, advice, words of comfort?
 

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I felt the same way the first time I camped with baby goats. They would spook at things in the dark, so I'd turn on the light.

I figure:
The more goats you have, the more targets there are and the less chance you are it...

On the other hand, the goats only have to outrun you ;-)

Though no one has reported being eaten by predators because they were slower than a goat.

There was a reason that we killed all the large predators, we don't get along well with them. I'd be mindful in areas where they are coming back with or without goats. There's still a bounty on coyotes in many areas, you might be able to make a few bucks on your hikes.

In S. Cal joggers have been attacked by mountain lions in a park I played in as a kid. A mountain lion has been spotted stalking hikers just north of SLC.

Some say that as you make a lot of noise and look and smell human, most animals will get out of your way. The ones that don't probably don't care if you have goats or not. Part of the fun of being out is seeing other animals, so we don't have bells and stuff. When we are hiking in more isolated places we try to move quietly so that we can see them.

So make your peace with God and live by the words of the famous theologian, Alfred E. Newman...
"What? Me worry?"
 

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We would all prefer not to have any dangerous encounters.

Anytime you are out and about, you should know what your possible encounters are and have a plan to deal with them. Around home on the plains of Nebraska, dogs, some wild and some just uncontrolled, are our greatest threat. Had a fella just 20 miles from here that is just getting started with his herd of goats, found 3-three year olds, bottle fed and tame, brought them home and had the neighbors dogs break into the barn and kill two of them, threats aren't only in the "wild" places.

In the wilderness, you should be prepared to defend yourself and your goats. The further one ventures into the remote wilderness, the more prepared one should be. No reason to be surprised and not have a plan. That said, no issues in my years in the lower 48, but many areas have dynamics rapidly changing with wolf and griz numbers on the rise.

Glock 10mm is my choice, whether hiking around home or remote wilderness.
 

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The best thing to do is research your area. Since you live where I do, and I have done EXTENSIVE research because Amy is very concerned about bears, I will help you. Bear spray. I have one, Amy has one. It is the BEST defense against a bear attack (other than educating yourself on how to avoid one in the first place) Wear it on your hip, practice drawing it. Practice flipping the safety and aiming while its on your belt. We keep ours on our backpack waist strap, but don't forget to take it off and carry it if you stop for a break and then wander away for natures call.

A can of bear spray sending a cloud of evil that burns and stings, nose and eyes and throat, really only has to be pointed in a general direction. And while it is not ok to just go around spraying bears, if you jump the gun and decide to use it when maybe you didn't have to, all you did is teach a bear to avoid people.

You can't argue with evolution, and bears don't eat skunks.

Carry a gun, it is your duty to your animals in the case of severe injury, just don't put it where it will get in the way of your bear spray. Amy did the research and found that "Counter Assault" is one of the best, so that is the one we carry.
 

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We used to call it ‘trolling’ for predators.

Hiking with goats probably does increase the chances of an encounter with a cougar or coyotes, but it’s still highly unlikely. Bears are more likely to be attracted to food odors. I have bells on my goats, so that probably reduces the chances on an encounter with bears.

I’ve packed with goats for 10 years and had no encounters. When we first started packing with goats, I worried about predators, with the passage of time, I worry less.

Since most of my pack trips are just me and the goats, I do still often carry a Glock 10mm and a PLB.
 

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Most close encounters I grab my camera first.

Bear spray is nasty stuff, and a bear that gets a dose of it will probably want nothing to do with you. It's also indiscriminate and can render a person defenseless too. One wrong breeze and that "cloud of evil" is in your face.

A couple years ago, my friends bear spray on his pack belt accidentally discharged. For over 20 minutes, he could not see and was in extreme pain. Blind, he had to rely on me for aid and water to flush his eyes. Terrible stuff, little doubt it is an effective deterrent.

I'd go a step futher than practicing the operation of the safety and aiming, by actually discharging the spray, which you very well may have done. It would give a complete understanding of the range, limitations and how that "cloud" can move. Many would be surprised how close a bear would have to be before the spray is effective, closer than most have ever been to a bear, and hopefully not up-wind.

Whatever your system, be comfortable and confident with ability to use it. Education and prevention are certainly the best.
 

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With 2 Glocks in the line up I had to do some research to see what they were.

They have a saying in Alaska... "Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you".

So I checked what the professional Alaskan guides said about it. There is a lively discussion about whether one can stop a charging bear. One guide suggested that everyone going into the wilderness should carry the Glock, because he likes picking up free guns.

To summarize a couple of the threads: First use your brains to avoid them, then bear repellent, then the gun. The gun should be the largest caliber that you can reliably hit your target at 10 feet with two shots as fast as you can pull the trigger when pulled from your side.

On the repellent... "bears don't eat skunk."
On bells... "the bears pooped tinkle bells for a week."

One suggested little yapping dogs to distract the bear and annoy them to death.

I lose my reading glasses every time I lay them down, and my fanny pack about every third hike. It's more likely that I would lose a gun than ever have the opportunity to use it. I'd probably end up going to prison for feeling obligated to shoot something since I had carried it so far. And with my propensity to lose stuff, I'd be more worried about losing the gun than enjoying the hike.

I may pick up some pepper spray, but with my luck the first time I tried it I'd attract a bunch of bears from south of the border who like their meat spicy. I wonder how much bagpipes weigh. No one has been attacked by a predator when playing bagpipes, though angry mobs may be another story.

When they hunt peccary with a spear, they stand on the run, plant the butt of the spear in the ground and let the animal impale itself. Perhaps I could trade my shepherd crook for a pike or a sword.

"He returned his sword to his side. A lessor man would have used a scabbard."
 

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Haha, yeah, I usually don't even bother to respond anymore, but since I know Clint lives here and will be going all the same places I do, I figured I would short form the facts for him so he wouldn't have to dig through all the junk out there. I think Bob did the same.
First use your brains to avoid them, then bear repellent, then the gun.
It seems these things usually just turn into a discussion about who has what big gun, rather than a discussion of what the facts and research show for overall wilderness safety that the person who asked the question was looking for.

I agree that there is a colorful assortment of opinion in bear discussions, but for the purpose of the question asked by Clint on this forum for the area we live, I absolutely assure you I am not sharing an opinion, I am sharing how I have decided to protect myself and the love of my life every time we enter the wilderness, for an hour, a day or a week, even when I am hunting and have a gun in my hands, based on research and facts provided by knowledgeable people who are focused on this exact topic. I would call it a responsable and factually correct answer.

I would prefer not to go through all the research again, so all I can do is assure you that this document reflects what all the research I have done has also said with similar percentages.

http://www.udap.com/bearnews.pdf

I apologize if the way I express myself seems a little strong, but it is important to me to help further peoples enjoyment of the wilderness, and a critical aspect of that is safety. If you saw what I carry in a day pack for even an hour hike in a heavily used area, you would understand that applies to all safety, not just predator safety, based on research and fact and experience.
 

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My intent was not to stir a spray vrs. gun debate and if I was pushing in that direction, I apologize. I'm not against bear spray, and it may very well be the BEST option, I carried it for 15 years just have chose not to carry it since my buddies episode. BTW, he still does carry it on his belt.

As the pdf you provided concluded, "no deterrent in 100% effective." I shared some experiences and limitations of spray, not to minimize it's effectiveness or rate it as a lessor option, but hopefully encourage a level of preparedness beyond reading the instructions on the can.

The use of firearms has it's own risks and limitations, more than spray, and I wouldn't consider it an option for anyone without proper training and practice. I think we all would agree to prefer an inexperienced person packing spray vrs. a firearm.

Being prepared is part of the wilderness experience and a preventative measure that reduces the risk of most safety concerns. I certainly agree that a well equipped day pack needs more than counter measures for predators, and hopefully most of us are well suited in that regard.
 

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Though I live in predator heaven (bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and bobcats) I don't worry about wild predators too much. Maybe I should, but I have never had a dangerous encounter with one, either with my goats or without. I have seen a few bears, two mountain lions, lots of coyotes, and a few bobcats. I've seen one wolf and heard others. But all were afraid of me and took off when they saw me. I have had a couple of ugly encounters with other peoples' dogs tho. In both cases my walking stick across the noggin or into the ribs was all it took to chase the dogs off.

But I do carry a pistol (.357 Mag) when I hike with the goats. Like the others, I feel that I have an obligation to protect my loved ones (wife, nephew, dog, and goats) when I take the out in wild country, from whatever may threaten them. What I worry about more than anything is rattlesnakes and rabid animals. We have both here, and the goats are totally vulnerable to them because they are so oblivious. They climb around in rocky areas, where snakes like to hide. While hiking if I see a snake I normally don't blast it (fear of bad karma, I guess). But if one shows up in camp he's a goner. A rabid animal like a fox or coyote would alarm the goats more, but they may just try to butt it. The dumb dog would attack it. So I get my dog and my goats rabies vaccinations.

We also have lots of javelinas. They aren't predators, but they can tear a dog up pretty bad if he messes with them. The goats won't chase them so they normally aren't much of a threat.

If I am in an area where I think bears are a threat, I will put bells on my goats, just to make some noise while hiking along. The predators around here are hunted (unlike those in Southern CA) so they fear people and you never see them unless they are disappearing (or if they have rabies). While around camp I keep a bell or two on the goats just so I know where they are. I could also tell if something was chasing them by the sound of the bell. The noise of the bell may also announce our presence so predators won't just blunder into our area.
 

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I've only been doing the goat thing for 3 years now, but I've been hiking and mulebacking (no horses here :D ) for over 20 years in wilderness areas.

I'm not that concerned with bears and cats, I'm a little more concerned with the wolves as some of the areas I frequent have become infested with the little buggers :shock:

I personally am more worried about the 2 legged predators with the pot growing operations and meth labs that have been on the increase. I guess the bear spray would work here also, but I'm with the guys above a Glock 20 (10 mm) would be a better choice, for me anyway.
I was a little surprised to see the references to the Glock 10mm here, I've spent a bit of time in the Alaska bush during hunting season and the gun is fairly popular with guides. ;)
 

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I spent some time along the coast, around Nome. Up there you wrap yourself with the Alaska State Flower** to hide from Polar Bears. They don't provide much protection but they provide a second dark place to put your head when you pull it out of the first one and realize you shouldn't be there.


** Alsaka State Flower - 55 gal drum
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Everyone, :)

Your experience and knowledge(and time to respond) is greatly appreciated.
In general, you've made me feel much better about the coming hiking season.
I know the odds of having a problem with predators is very, very, low. It's good to hear from you, that having goats along with me hasn't changed the odds(much). ;)

Your advice will help me be prepared, but more so, it will help me feel at ease. :p

That the first I've heard of a PLB(personal locator beacon). I'll have to check them out. :?: Good idea!

The coyote is definately my Totem............

Thanks again, Clint
 

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I don't think she means totem the way you mean totem, Clint. We just got in a pile of Spot trackers to stick on this years round of techs. There are 3 buttons for pre-programmed messages and you can send to 10 e-mails and 10 different phone numbers for text messages. There is also a devoted S.O.S button. Our plan is to have an OK button for the end of the work day, a message if someone intends to stay in the field to fish or something after work, and one for general help, like getting a truck stuck. We will also use the track function, so if someone doesn't show at the end of the day, we can check and see if their tracks show them in the same spot long enough to indicate a severe injury that prevented a call for assistance (or a dropped unit, more often than not, I imagine). Our guys will be in remote areas with no cell service, so they will all get a satellite phone in the truck, since the guys on site won't check e-mail until they get back for the day, we can call one if we get an S.O.S e-mail and send him to the others aid. But as far as around here goes, I know one guy who swears by his, and is the reason we got them. He just hits the ok button whenever he sits, so his wife knows he isn't down or something, and she can watch his progress online (no wife jokes, now, I have heard them all). Then he sends a different message when he is out of the wilderness and at the truck. He said he hasn't had any trouble with loss of satellites along the way, even in the timber.
 

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Cool. If you're hiring, I'd love one of those jobs where you can:

1. Stay in the field to fish or something after work.
2. Get your truck stuck.
3. Send a different message when you're out of the wilderness and at the truck.

What kind of tech experience are you looking for? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Spot Trackers sound great.

If I read their web site right. It's $99 for the unit and $99 per year for service. That sounds pretty reasonable. :)

Please keep us up to date on how they are working out for you.
 

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clint said:
The Spot Trackers sound great.

If I read their web site right. It's $99 for the unit and $99 per year for service. That sounds pretty reasonable. :)

Please keep us up to date on how they are working out for you.
The new SPOT 2 is the improved version for $149.00. REI has them in stock. I just got one to replace my SPOT 1 and like it better.
 
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