Horseback Elk Hunt - Day Trips

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
69
1
Minnesota
One more quick question for you guys. What is the pace a guy can expect on a horse? i have my day one spot picked out and its a 4 mile horse ride and .75 mile hike up to the spot. Wondering how much time to allow in the morning. I will get my saddle up time figured out, just looking for estimated riding time to travel 4 miles.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
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One more quick question for you guys. What is the pace a guy can expect on a horse? i have my day one spot picked out and its a 4 mile horse ride and .75 mile hike up to the spot. Wondering how much time to allow in the morning. I will get my saddle up time figured out, just looking for estimated riding time to travel 4 miles.
1 1/2 to two hours to get to your spot depending on the terrain.
 

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
69
1
Minnesota
1 1/2 to two hours to get to your spot depending on the terrain.
Thank! My group thinks im crazy when I tell them we need to be making trails by 4-4:30! Hopefully they can keep up!

Scott so your saying on horseback, its typically 4 MPH? this will help plan days 2/3/4/5.
 

mntnguide

Very Active Member
If you are riding in the dark... then expect maximum 3mph.. cause your going to stop, turn on your headlight numerous times to see if your still on the trail etc.. you don't want to ride with headlights on as it messes with a horse's depth perception.

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ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
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If you are riding in the dark... then expect maximum 3mph.. cause your going to stop, turn on your headlight numerous times to see if your still on the trail etc.. you don't want to ride with headlights on as it messes with a horse's depth perception.

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What he said ha


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mntnguide

Very Active Member
Would the red beam on headlight also mess with the depth perception?


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They are better than white for sure and don't spook the horses when turned on. I still say to get use to riding with no light. But if you need to use one for a while to navigate etc...red is definitely better. I always wear a headlamp with a flip down red lens

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youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
69
1
Minnesota
Thanks for the helpful tips! One last wrench thrown in the mix for us, scabbards we had lined up, fell though so we will see if they have any along the way at various places, otherwise we will have to sling our guns cross body and see what happens.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
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Thanks for the helpful tips! One last wrench thrown in the mix for us, scabbards we had lined up, fell though so we will see if they have any along the way at various places, otherwise we will have to sling our guns cross body and see what happens.
I didn't have Scabbards this year, so I strapped to the side of my pack. Way easier to get on the horse and not flopping around. Only word of warning, keep a strong eye for overhanging brush. If you aren't prepared it can make for a bad day.
 

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
69
1
Minnesota
I didn't have Scabbards this year, so I strapped to the side of my pack. Way easier to get on the horse and not flopping around. Only word of warning, keep a strong eye for overhanging brush. If you aren't prepared it can make for a bad day.
I have that scenario playing through my head over and over! I am going to try and ride the trail day before to scope it out.
 

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
69
1
Minnesota
Well we made it home from our trip with only minor bumps and bruises. As a whole the horses were great assets to the hunt, especially since we were fortunate enough to get 2 elk. However, things started off hairy. Day 1 we arrived with plans of scouting for the afternoon on our horses to get familiar. Climbing the trail, at about 9000 ft, my horse got spooked and ended up sliding down the embankment, I tried to stay on but decided to bail when I realized he wasnt going to get back on the trail with me on. We both slid down 75-100 ft before stopping. His hoove took my hat off......Day 2 (first day of hunting) we headed to a different trail head which required a mile walk on the road. The horse my dad was riding was too clumsy and couldnt handle the icy conditions. he ended up wiping out on the road. Day 3 we called and requested a different horse to replace the clumsy one, which they did no questions asked. We got headed up the trail, about half way another one of the horses slipped on the icy trail causing the rider to bail off. Further up the trail, at the top, another horse slipped, causing a gash in his ankle a fat lip. We werent off to a good start.......

Days 3/4 we went to a different trail head that we were more familiar with and was a little less steep. Minor slips and trip but nothing uncomfortable. Made it up and out just fine.

Day 5 rode up the same trail with no issues and packed out our elk while walking the horses down. Long day but couldnt imagine doing it without the horses.

Recap: Coming from the flatlands of MN, turns out we had no idea what we were getting into as far as trail conditions etc. The horses we got from Sombrero were incredible animals. Well mannered and easy to ride. They didnt bat and eye when we asked to switch that one horse out. They are a lot of work morning and night to saddle and feed, but worth it. For the next guy considering it, heres what I will recommend, pay attention to the weather. If the weather is that that will make trail conditions slippery (Late seasons) consider just hiring someone to pack out unless youre extremely comfortable. But with that being said, dont be afraid to get horses and get after it. They are incredibly loyal animals that make your hunt more enjoyable by getting you into/out of places with all your energy focused to hunt.

Thanks again to everyone for your input and goodluck on your next adventures!
 

HighPlainsHunter

Active Member
Mar 1, 2018
419
3
Laramie
There is almost always a rodeo when horses hit the woods, just part of having them along. Glad you survived all the slipping and sliding. Congrats on the elk as well!