In my case, GoatHunter means “hunts with packgoats”. About five years ago, I got really tired of carrying my entire camp on my back, so I searched for a better way. I like to bowhunt elk in the backcountry, where there’s no roads and only those trails made by the animals themselves. I needed a pack animal that could handle the extreme jungle-like vegetation of coastal Oregon and the high desert of eastern Oregon. Something inexpensive, low-maintenance, low-risk of causing injury to me and those around it. Horses are expensive, dangerous, and not well suited to off-trail-blowdown-forest-jungle, so the only feasible choices were llamas and goats. My buddy had llamas and they were a nightmare, so I chose goats out of necessity.
Goats are great little buddies to have along. Put a saddle and panniers on them, and they can carry 40 pounds of gear. If you bottle-feed them when they’re kids, they will bond to humans and follow you around like a dog – no lead rope required. You don’t need to pack in any food or water for them as they eat whatever’s around. They stay near camp at night (unless you’re dumb enough to camp where there’s poor feed) and they can go for days without drinking water. They can and will hike almost anywhere you can hike.
As great as they are on the trail, they can be equally maddening at home. They jump fences, climb fences, tear down fences, push holes in fences, and chew on everything. Give them something new and they will sniff it, nibble it, and then try to destroy it. When they escape their fenced pasture, they run straight for the nearest fruit tree and strip all the bark off in five minutes flat. They will eat your prized roses and shrubs, jump on your car, steal your tools while you’re working on the fence, jump in the wheelbarrow, refuse to get in the truck, and wait until you leave the house before escaping the fence (causing your wife to chase them around the yard in her pajamas).
Owning goats is a package deal and it’s an adventure I thoroughly enjoy…most of the time….