I pulled out my old copy, too. That is good info.
Something to look into, Edelweiss, is a packing class. My hunting buddies and I have packed for years, but learned a ton from a local Brand Inspector that put on a packing class three years ago. I have heard that several guide schools and private packers put on similar classes.
Attending a packing class is very good advice, learning from pictures is ok but hands on practice with someone that knows whats cook'n is a lot better. Another thing that has helped me out in the past is......build yourself a fake horse out of a barrel, that way you can practice your rigging without boring your horse to death
While I know the difference between the decker and sawbuck, why would one state prefer one over the other?
I can't even think of the last time I saw a sawbuck in use in MT. I am sure somebody is using them, but I see Deckers out there. The guy I took the class from said, "Well you can get a Decker ... or you can get a sawbuck, sell it, and get a Decker ... it is up to you." Maybe there are regional trends, but if I moved to Wyoming, I would still use a Decker.
I think I misunderstood earlier, so there isn't some kind of law or something?
Wyoming suprises me sometimes, we won't have a law on anything that another state has 30 laws on,then all of a sudden there will be some wierd law on you wouldn't expect.
Do you pack mules or just horses?
The saddle deal is a weird regional thing. Sawbucks in Wyoming vs deckers in Idaho. I'm in Wyoming and love my deckers. I have a modified decker and a regular. Love them both.
I pack horses only, but I don't have any problems with mules. Someday I will have a riding mule.
Definitely not a law or anything...its entirely regional...Montana and Idaho- Deckers...everywhere else for the most part sawbucks. The sawbuck system has been around for nearly 300 years whereas the Decker system was invented by the Decker brothers in northern Idaho for hauling heavy loads of ore out of the mines roughly 100 years ago. Its just a different system but, in my opinion of having packed both extensively, the decker saddles are better for both horses or mules in terms of not preventing sores, and the packing system enables someone to pack any type of load and as long as the weights are somewhat similar, with the proper packing knowledge, you can make them ride perfectly even without the official weights being similar. . If you have an interest in a packing school, I have instructed at one for 5 years now in Montana and would be happy to provide you more information. The school has been running for 17 years as of this summer. We focus mainly in people wanting to become guides, but the whole purpose of the school is teaching backcountry techniques and horse packing. We have people each year who come just to further their own packing knowledge and have no intention of trying to become a guide.