Tag Archives: Horse Packing

Some Basic Mountain Mulemanship


To The Mountain Horse


“His sire was Spain; His dam, the Nez-perce. Legs forged on granite anvils; Heart forged by the mountains.

Kin to the bighorn With clever hoof and infinite eye. Drinker of the wind, the dawn-singer, Kin to the elk.

Enduring, gaunt, rock-worn, Lacking titled rank or registry, His labors win the noble heights And the consort of eagles.” – John Madson, From The Elk, 1966


A Pack Mule Poses in Front of the Colorado Snow-Covered Peaks, While on an Elk Hunting Trip On Red Table Mountain, Near Basalt.
Mule Over Mountain – A Stunning View From Red Table Mountain Near Basalt, Colorado. Photo by David Massender


There is no better way to hunt elk or mule deer in the high Rocky Mountains than by horseback or mule, yet working with pack animals is fast becoming a lost art. Still, there are still some diehards out there, so hats off to all of you pack-in hunters.

Mountain hunting holds a certain romance and allure all its own, and a large part of the experience depends on how you get there. Some prefer horses, others say that mules may be better. But then again, I think I will stay out of that argument.

Still, from what little I know about mules, they always seem to be playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers. They are definitely smart, and so sure-footed too! As many of you know, that can be particularly comforting when your life literally depends on the careful placement of hooves on stone.

Check out this short video for some basic tips.


– Video courtesy of Dave Massender. See Dave’s Youtube Channel Here.




Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty


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We can highly recommend:


Packin’ in on Mules and Horses (Paperback)

For those who yearn to pack in the wilderness country of the West, either on their own mules and horses or those of a professional packer, here is a book that takes the mystery out of back country packstring travel.
By teaching you the tricks of the trade, professional outfitter Smoke Elser show how your trip will be easier and more enjoyable by knowing more about the animals used and why and how they carry their loads as they do.
Whether you’re an expert of a dude, Smoke’s packing system will get you into and out of the back country safely and efficiently. Best of all, you will start to become self-sufficient and resourceful, important aspects of any wilderness travel. The book is laced with instructional photgraphs and sketches, presented in an open, attractive format.

New From:$16.88 USD In Stock
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The mule alternative: The saddle mule in the American West (Perfect Paperback)

From Scientific American
…a must-have for anyone with an interest in the subject is Mike Stamm’s The Mule Alternative. Modest in appearance and presentation, The Mule Alternative is packed with insight into mules and the history of their use in the United States. Stamm discusses the viability of the mule through the letters and diaries of historical figures. A unique approach to say the least, but one that works very well indeed. Practical and poignant (many of the historical passages concern the ravages of war and exploration) by turn,The Mule Alternative has the ability to hook and hold the reader’s attention. History buffs and equestrians with an affinity for the mighty mule will be delighted with this book. –This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From The New Yorker
Wildlife biologist Mike Stamm began research several years ago into a number of questions concerning the historic use of mules during the settlement of the Old West. He wanted to know why many early westerners preferred mules to horses as saddle animals: how mules compared to horses in terms of endurance, hardiness, surefootedness, longevity, and manageability, and why mules have fallen into relative disfavor today. Using historic diaries of early travelers, including mountain men, traders, soldiers, and settlers. Stamm puts together a remarkable testimony in praise of the saddle mule. Stamm includes excellent historical photos and maps in this book. His research will be useful to both mule and horse owners and everyone interested in transportation during the settlement of the West. –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

New From:$18.99 USD In Stock
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