Is your backpack a little heavy on your mountain hikes?
Would you like a helping hand on your next hunting excursion?
Need a low-maintenance, nimble-footed, pint-sized buddy to ease your load?
Pack goats to the rescue!
Why a Pack Goat?
According to Northwestpackgoats.com, goats were born for the back country. They are sure footed and have a low impact on the environment. Even their droppings and tracks resemble native wildlife.
Goats are happy with brush and weeds. They take a nibble here and there, leaving little sign that they ever passed by. Originally from high deserts, goats can go up to three days with no water.
Most pack goats are wethers, or castrated males, from the larger dairy breeds. A good sized wether is three feet tall at the shoulder and weighs 200 pounds.
A goat in good condition can carry 25% of its body weight or approximately 50 pounds, and can travel 5-12 miles per day depending on terrain. A good buddy to have around!
Young pack goats can bond to people at a young age with the right care and training. They can follow along like the family dog, with no lead rope unless necessary. Most goats seem to enjoy hiking and accept their pack with little training.
Once in camp, the goats can be left loose to eat near by, often sleeping beside your tent. Goats naturally have calm dispositions and are not easily spooked. Other wildlife seem curious about the goats and sometimes let you approach closer than usual.
Using goats as pack animals is gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds as more people discover these personable and affordable animals. Anyone with a small lot can keep a goat, which is easily hauled to the trail head in a pickup truck or small trailer.
Senior citizens or people with injuries that prevent them from carrying a pack, can once again enjoy the outdoors. Families with young children benefit, as well as those of us smart enough to let a willing goat carry our gear.
Before you venture out with your pack goats, make sure you will be hiking in an area when our nimble four-footed friends are allowed.
Here is a video of “Saul the Goat Whisperer” training baby goats for a career in packing:
— Melissa Genson