- Pack goat
A pack goat is a
goatused for packing as a beast of burden, usually a castrated male or wether.
In the U.S.,
goatsbred for packing are usually tall and lean and from one of the larger dairy goat breeds such as Alpine, Toggenburg, Saanen, La Mancha, Oberhaslior a mix thereof. They are generally used in wilderness camping settings.
Goats are domesticated herd animals and will usually stay near camp and follow their human masters on the trail much as dogs will without having to be leashed or tethered.
A healthy and fit pack goat can carry up to 25 percent of its weight and walk up to about 12 miles per day depending on its load weight, the terrain and the animal's conditioning. [http://www.highuintapackgoats.com/FAQ_page.html]
Goat packing was popularized in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s by John Mionczynski of
Atlantic City, Wyoming. He developed a herd of large goats of mixed breeds and used them as early as the 1970s to pack supplies to scientists working in the mountains and later to carry food and gear for tourists on hiking trips. He designed and built pack saddles and saddlebags and, with illustrator Hannah Hinchman, published a book in 1992 called "The Pack Goat". [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0871088282]
Soon, other individuals around the U.S. were making goat packing equipment, publishing newsletters and raising pack goats for personal use and sale. The
North American Packgoat Association, Inc.is a group formed to promote goat packing.
Goat packing is popular with young families who want to be able to go into the wilderness and need help carrying all their gear, as well as with older individuals who want to go into the wilderness but no longer want to backpack with heavy loads.
Some public lands require permits for the use of goats as pack animals, and concerns have been raised in some areas about the potential for domestic goats to spread diseases to wild animals such as
mountain sheepand mountain goatsand pack goat use has been restricted in certain areas accordingly.
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