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2927 Views 13 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Bob Jones

I would like to avoid these problems before they occur, so I need some advise.

I have yet to complete an overnight camping trip with my goats. I tried to do one with the whole family a year ago, but there were far too many dogs on the trail, and my goats weren't in good enough shape to make the hike at the time.

Now I have three different goats that should be up to the task. I plan on taking them spring bear hunting with me as soon as the snow breaks.

One thing that worries me is what to do with them at night. Do I make a "lean-two" with a tarp? And if I do will my goats be climbing all over my tent at night? Do I tie them off on a hi-line? Or will they be very uncomfortable all night long like this.

I would like to let them roam free, but I worry about my tent. I also worry about them taking off for the trail head when it gets close to dark.

Any thoughts/solutions would be much appreciated.

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If you are planning an early season overnighter, it may be a good idea to see how well conditioned your goats are NOW. It would be no fun to have goats along who cant pack to your expectations along for the trip. If you alreay know how intense the trip will be, than getting your goats conditioned may necessary. Just like you, first time out will be tougher than the trips in Mid August when you have been hiking for months.

As far as overnight accomidations for the goats go, I suggest you tie them to a high line if you don't trust them to keep your tent in one piece or think they may head for home on a moonlit hike without you. You mentioned that it is bear country, so I know that when there are a lot of preditor threats, a bell on their collar will alert you to any major commotion in the middle of the night. Of course, you may not sleep AT ALL because you will hear the bells ring everytime they move....but a small jingle is different than a sound of the bell on a goat in panic mode. It will be more than just a small jingle.

Good Luck....Oh, also be prepared to shelter the goats in case of poor weather. Another task that takes practice.
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We are also new to packgoats and have concerns/questions when using them to pack.
My wife and I have camped and backpacked for quite a while and we are looking forward to using our “new†packgoats this summer for camping and fall for hunting. However, I have some questions in regards to using them in the mountains in wolf and bear country. What precautions do you take with the goats? For instance, do you string-line them at night or let them roam free?
Has anyone had any troubles with wolves or bears? Has anyone had any encounters with either while camping or hunting? Is it ok to keep them tied up in camp while hunting? I am a little concerned/worried that a wolf or bear might decide our goats look good to eat while we are off hunting. Sorry for all the questions, we just want to make sure we do the best we can to protect ourselves and our goats while packing or hunting in the mountains.
In my wolf, bear, and cat country the goat have remained free from harm or threats to my knowledge. These predators do not seem to like human activity. However I have never left my goats for more than a couple hours to run into town to get supplies. They are never alone or very far from me at night. The are high lined with a tarp over head or behind a portable electric fence. They have goat coats if needed. They are well fed and watered. They will enter your tent, possibly nibble on it, or just lay down on it while you are in it. You will not sleep much the first night. They seem to get the idea after that, and my boys look for the tarp going up as their place to lay down. I use a light weight nylon tarp and carry plenty of rope. At fist they will bite, climb and generally play with the tarp. You'll need to practice with it and teach them to "leave it" with a squirt gun. Learn the prussit knot to tie goats out on a high line. Put the bell on only your alpha goat at night to reduce noise.
IdahoNancy and the Oberpackers
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StykbowMT225 said:
One thing that worries me is what to do with them at night. Do I make a "lean-two" with a tarp? And if I do will my goats be climbing all over my tent at night? Do I tie them off on a hi-line? Or will they be very uncomfortable all night long like this.

I would like to let them roam free, but I worry about my tent. I also worry about them taking off for the trail head when it gets close to dark.
I always highline and have never had an issue with the goats on highline. They will lie down and be just fine. But that said, I would setup and use the highline at home while under your watch to get them used to it. I have one goat that initially would like to stand up and play with the line. I just put it high enough that he can't reach it and use a static rope so it does not stretch (much) ... at some point he has lost interest as he really ignores it these days, even when I have to hang it lower. The rest of the goats have never bothered with it.

If rain is in the forecast, I use a lightweight silnylon tarp, attached directly to the highline (or above) and anchored to other trees or to the ground. There is a photo to the bottom right of the forum page here that shows a couple of goats under a tarp. That is pretty close to what I do, though I put the highline considerably higher.
I have been working to get me goats in shape even now with snow on the ground. The place I plan on taking them is actually only 3 relatively easy miles, and then fairly short easy hikes from there.

Bells aren't really an option for me, as I want to get close to bears.

I like the tarp advice. I will probably end up going with the hi-line/tarp(s) Thank-you for the replies.

I would definately have goat coats when using them for Spring bear in Montana, especially in your neck of the woods. I always take a tarp for goat shelter. The kids and I spent a rainy, snowy night below Big Baldy a couple of Julys ago. Two of the four goats tried to crawl into the tent with us at 2:00 in the morning, even though they had adequate shelter. After that, I always tie those up and often leave a couple free at night.They don't seem to have the courage to take off in the middle of the night unless all can go. My goats were not even phased at the sight of a bear at 20 yds. They assume I will protect them ,I guess.
We took our goats with us on several spring bear hunts last year. They were still too young to do any packing -- we just brought them along to give them a little experience camping out in the mountains.

At night we put up a tarp and a highline beside out tent and tied up 2 of the 4 goats. The two loose goats stayed very close to us all night long, and the only trouble we had was when they tried to climb on the tent. We kept the squirt bottle handy and they eventually got the message. We also started out putting bells on all four goats at night, but the constant clanging as they moved around throughout the night kept us from getting any sleep, so after that we only belled one goat.

My wife was the only one with a bear tag, and since we were hunting spot-and-stalk we opted to bring the goats along with us (without bells on) rather than leave them alone and unprotected in camp. When we spotted a bear I'd keep the goats back with me while my wife stalked in closer to try for a shot. She eventually shot a really nice bear, and it was interesting that the goats showed almost no fear when we brought them up to it. Maybe they would have reacted differently if the bear had still been alive.....
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Re: Overnighters tarp and SNAKESKIN

The "snakeskins" are really neat and with them things are fast and the tarp never touches the ground. ... 67362.html

This tarp system is very light and very easy and fast to deploy.

The goats needed some squirts but eventually lost interest in it.

I have not been out overnight with them yet and if it is raining sideways my guess is they may need a little more squirt gun education since I will be placing the tarp low.

I am looking forward to going into the Cabinets and leaning more first hand about goats.

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The others have covered highlining, tarps, etc pretty well. I let my goats run loose when I am camped. They have a tarp they can get under if they want to. I have learned the hard way to make sure all my food is well secured, because goats are very persistent thieves.

I would never leave my goats tied up in camp and go off hunting. For one thing, my goats are used to staying close to me and if I tried to leave them tied up they would start making a lot of racket. Also, I would be afraid of predators (especially wolves) coming into camp and attacking them.

While in camp I put a bell on the goat who tends to wander off the farthest. The others will be nearby. The bell may help to discourage predators, but it also lets me know where they are. And if something is chasing them it will sound different than if they are just walking around. If I am hunting, I take the bell off. I think the goats sound like any other 4 legged animal so wild critters aren't alarmed by them.

I doubt if having your goats along while you hunt would scare the bears off. I have not run into any bears but other animals (elk, deer, rabbits, and javelinas) just seem to be a bit curious about them, and I can approach much closer when the goats are with me than if I am alone.

The main problem may be keeping them safely out of your field of fire. They may be wandering around with you, browsing, and get ahead of you.
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When i go camping i sleep under a tarp. when it is cold and raining my goat joins me under the tarp.
My last camp out i was glad to have his added warmth.
i would go on a fun camp out before the hunt. that way you will have knowledge what your goats will do on the trail and in the camp.
it may be the difference between a good and bad hunt.
I've actually had horned goats bluff charge a bear when it got too close. A couple different times when bear has come into camp and gotten too close to the goats one goats has explained his place to him. These were black bears, not grizzly. If you are concerned, the best place for your goats to be is highlined right next to your tent or hammock. That way they can't scatter and are going to tell you if something is approaching camp. You also aren't as likely to shoot one when you come out of the tent in the dark as they will be contained in one spot.
Work up to your overnights by staying out late in the evening and spending time with your goats as they settle down at night. You can sleep out in the pasture with them in the spring and get your highline procedures all worked out.
I haven't had goats in awhile, I'm just getting back into em with two lovely wether boys :) But with my last 3 wethers, A portable hotwire kit around the camp including MY tent, and a pop up blind/tent worked well . No floor in the blind. They think they're special with their own "tent". And it collapses into an itty bitty light bundle.
When I used a tent the boys ran in circles around it.
So I slept on the ground outside and they piled on top of me and peed on me.
So I now use a hammock. I put it through the sleeping bag so that it doesn't get compressed by lying on it. I use a tarp like the one above over my hammock. I low-line Diego because he likes to wander. If there is little browse, I will low-line the other except Pig so they don't wander off eating.

I don't like to high-line because they often seem to get their legs get tangled, particularly Mikey who gets tangled in an un-mowed lawn. With a low line if they do get tangled at least they're not dangling.

I'd like to think that I have them well-trained, but in reality I just try to out think them and live with their nature, rather than spend a lot of time trying to make them circus animals, though I have a couple tutus and have been experimenting with goat face painting and a red nose. ;-)

If the weather is foul I set up another tarp. A couple of them sleep under my hammock and the others find places. Now that they are older, they don't all sleep in a pile.
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