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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from a weekend of elk hunting. Was trying to imagine the goats being with us with panniers on. We went through some pretty brushy areas. Will the panniers survive and will the goats get tangled up if we are going cross country? We went through vine maple and rhododendron thickets.
 

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It depends on the paniers. I have shredded more cheap duffle bags than I can count. I used some bags with heavy canvas... like old mail bags, and they will hold up in the roughest areas. I like the way the mail bags hang low, rather than the high and tight look of some of the paniers. They can roll around a snag, where the boxy dufflebags I used would constantly get hung up on something. I am hesitant to spend a lot on paniers since I have shredded so many. But then again, if I spent more on them, they might not shred.

What we need is a Good Housekeeping test through an obstacle course designed to hangup and shred paniers. There should be an abrasion test for when you have the goats in a slot canyon and they drag the paniers through while dragging on both sides. A puncture test for those broken branches that always poke onto the trail (or lack of it).

There have been discussions about putting packs on goats before they are old enough. The general consensus is that whether you pack them or not, you don't put weight on them until they are old enough. However, Larry, Moe and Pig do better in the brush than Mikey and Diego. I think that since they had packs on when young, they have a better feel for navigating through brush than the others. Mikey will get tangled in everything and anything. Just my observation.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Id def have them off if they were with me out hunting. That assuming you have base camp and they dont need em on. If you dont have a camp and are just walking, I think Id have em rolled up tight and tied to the saddle. Other then lunch and drinks, not much they would need to be packing.
 

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Matt, It is a bit tricky. Your style of hunting will dictate the type of panniers you need. We always set up a base camp. I have made leather panniers out of some old stuff I found at the army navy store. You could use cotton ruck sacks from the army navy, I have made them out of old wool pants. My panniers for hunting are small but quiet and move well through the woods. The panniers are not large load haulers but while hunting the goats are quiet and carry all my essentials for getting my meat busted up and hanging high up in the trees in meat sacks. They also have my safety gear. We usually have to go back in from base camp the next day with full cross bucks and nylon panniers that make noise but can haul the weight of the meat. It is really tricky to make it work, think it though and you can get your goat in the woods quietly. Find sturdy fabrics that don't make noise and make panniers out of them. Avoid loops and things that can get caught in brush. There is no perfect way to do this, as the goat matures it figures out how not to get hung up but it takes practice.
 

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If they're following you as you hunt, I'd recommend putting just the saddles on the goats, with just have one goat wearing panniers. That goat can carry all of the gear you need for your day's outing, plus the empty panniers for all the other goats. Or, if the country is really thick and brushy, you could even carry all of the empty panniers in your own daypack.

If you have an animal that needs to be packed out (i.e. deer, elk, etc) you could simply choose a route back to camp that avoids most of the rough/brushy country to minimize having the goats [panniers] getting hung up in the brush.
 

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THANK YOU IDAHO NANCY AND KEN FOR THE ABOVE POST

This is excellent sound advice from experienced Goat Wranglers.

I have been lectured in the past for starting goats to young and my take on that is "hogwash". I started pack training my boys at eight months of age and I take them everywhere including quail, chucker and Duck hunting. They pack loads at "Their Level" and have learned to negotiate logs limbs and obstacles and completely ignore my shotgun. I am now a huge advocate for starting goats young and my experience with this has been 100% success if you stick to the rule at "THEIR LEVEL".

I like Nancy's idea for using the smaller military canvas bags for just your lunch and daily essentials (critter down bag). Then back with the larger gear and pannies for the pack out. Im going to try this in two weeks on a nine day hunt in the Wenaha for buck deer on a special permit hunt for mule deer muzzel tag. This would be a great post for hunting with pack goats.

Thanks again everyone for the sound advice. Fills my cup with more tactics and ideas for success and gets me thinking about EQUIPMENT THAT WORKS. Happy Hunting.

"Long Live The Pack Goat"
Curtis King
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So Nancy, you are not using saddles with your homemade panniers (pictured) for hunting? I like the idea of them carrying your essentials. Soft sided cooler and dry ice would be nice for cold beverages on the trail!
 

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There is a saddle on my goat in the picture. It is called a treeless saddle, this particular model was a Mountaineer by Owyhee Packgaots. It is not made any longer since Owyhee packgoats went out of business. We had a nice discussion on the use of these saddles. If you do a search for them on the forum you'll see the discussions.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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I picked these up just for this hunting season. Am still not sure if Ill use em but they were cheap and I was thinking one for drinks and sandwiches and the other for things like the heart, liver and the choice cuts for the trip out. Just not sure how I wanna put the dry ice in there yet.
 

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Get a small stryofoam box for the dry ice and drill some 'breathing holes' in it. Put the dry ice in it. Control the temp of the pouch by opening or closing holes.
 
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