Mathews Inc.
Dream hunt nightmare
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
3bears 26-Sep-23
Catscratch 26-Sep-23
Bowboy 26-Sep-23
LeeBuzz 26-Sep-23
Medicinemann 26-Sep-23
Scoot 26-Sep-23
3bears 26-Sep-23
Buskill 26-Sep-23
wildwilderness 26-Sep-23
RK 26-Sep-23
Glunt@work 26-Sep-23
Olink 26-Sep-23
Will 26-Sep-23
Smtn10PT 26-Sep-23
maxracx 26-Sep-23
goelk 26-Sep-23
butcherboy 26-Sep-23
Vaquero 45 26-Sep-23
KHNC 26-Sep-23
3bears 26-Sep-23
Ken 26-Sep-23
Lewis 26-Sep-23
Dale06 26-Sep-23
Grey Ghost 26-Sep-23
SBH 26-Sep-23
Matt 26-Sep-23
MathewsMan 26-Sep-23
RJ Hunt 26-Sep-23
drycreek 26-Sep-23
Catscratch 26-Sep-23
Nutmeg Beagler 26-Sep-23
Oryx35 26-Sep-23
LBshooter 26-Sep-23
Thornton 27-Sep-23
NM highcountry 27-Sep-23
3bears 27-Sep-23
Zebrakiller 27-Sep-23
CBFROMND 27-Sep-23
SteveB 27-Sep-23
TMac 27-Sep-23
jjs 27-Sep-23
TonyBear 27-Sep-23
KHNC 27-Sep-23
Corax_latrans 27-Sep-23
Corax_latrans 27-Sep-23
Buckdeer 27-Sep-23
Tilzbow 27-Sep-23
Shug 27-Sep-23
Glunt@work 27-Sep-23
Bake 27-Sep-23
Zim 28-Sep-23
BTM 28-Sep-23
ryanrc 28-Sep-23
Chief 419 28-Sep-23
In2dmtns 28-Sep-23
JTreeman 30-Sep-23
WaleCanaty 17-May-24
SteveB 17-May-24
From: 3bears
26-Sep-23
Just got back from Wyoming on my retirement dream hunt with S-N-S outfitters for elk and on first morning my dream became a nightmare. We went down a steep Rocky drainage and I got off horse so guide could bring horse up the other side.I climbed up the steep side and when the guide came up my new bow was not in scabbard.The horse had slipped and my bow was laying down in the bottom completely trashed.Then as luck would have it I slipped while leading horse back down rocky drainage and deep bruised my leg and shoulder what luck hunt over no elk no bow think I will stick to whitetails.

From: Catscratch
26-Sep-23
Wow, that's a bummer all the way around! At least you're retired!

From: Bowboy
26-Sep-23
That sucks! I would’ve pack the bow up the hill. Horse’s can be hard on stuff in my experience.

From: LeeBuzz
26-Sep-23
Any compensation from the outfitter?

From: Medicinemann
26-Sep-23
I have been on several horseback hunts..... and I usually carry my bow and walk.... using the horse only to cross large rivers, and to pack out game. On every single horseback hunt, I have either seen people, gear, or both get absolutely destroyed. Sorry to hear of your negative experience.

From: Scoot
26-Sep-23
Oh man... I'm sorry to hear that. That's a bummer for sure. I hope you could make the best of the experience, in spite of that bad luck.

From: 3bears
26-Sep-23
Yeah lesson learned on bow scabbards just doing what was recommended and no the outfitter said I was on my own on experiences.

From: Buskill
26-Sep-23
I’m interested to hear what the outfitter response was.

26-Sep-23
Sorry to hear that. I don't trust horses! have been on a couple horse back trips.

I do like the idea of a horse to pack gear and meat for sure! But steep stuff is sketchy.

Lots of non-horse folk think you can just sit on a horse and that's it. Not the case- you still need to be flexible and in good physical shape. riding a horse uses many weird muscles and stability is a big factor. not like sitting in a SxS.

If you have no horse experience I would not recommend a first time on a dream hunt unless you practice and get in shape just like shooting a bow. go ride locally a few times, get familiar with the horse and tack and really get comfortable.

From: RK
26-Sep-23
That is a shame. Sounds like SnS with your lesson

I'm with Medicineman, horses are useful tools but lots to go wrong with them.

Guess the good news is that you did not get hurt worse

From: Glunt@work
26-Sep-23
Dang, that stinks. Injured too bad to continue? If not, no way to get to a shop and get a bow set up?

Horses wrecking stuff is not uncommon.

From: Olink
26-Sep-23
I will never go on a horseback hunt again. I was severely injured October 2022 on a rifle elk hunt in Wyoming. The guide and I were coming down a steep mountain at the end of the day and 3/4ths of the way down the horse got the shits of me and bucked me straight up in the air like a rodeo bronco. I came down on my backside and received what is called an open book pelvic fracture (my pelvic bones literally opened up like a book.) I managed to ride the rest of the way out (3-4 miles) on the pack horse, which was brutal. It was then another two hours till I got to the Jackson hospital. From there I had to be flown to Idaho Falls where there was a pelvic Dr. that could fix me up. I now have some long screws and a plate in my pelvis. I wound up spending over a month in a wheelchair and then another couple of weeks using a walker. I found out later that the horse was still pretty young and the outfitter should have never put anyone on it. The horse was an ass. And this was not my first horseback hunt. But it will be my last. I barely got an apology from the outfitter. In fact, it was almost a month after my injury until he called me to see how I was doing.

From: Will
26-Sep-23
Oh man, so very sorry to hear about the experience you had. Hope you are able to hunt (IE, are healthy enough) back home, and can get a new bow or fix up the bow and be back at it soon.

From: Smtn10PT
26-Sep-23
Wow, I'm sorry to hear about your trip. Makes you wonder how concerned they are with the safety of nonresidents hunting the wilderness areas of that state.

From: maxracx
26-Sep-23
I have been on a number of horseback hunts. I don't trust those flea bags at all. I have seen guys thrown off and break bones, I have seen horses stumble and the rider end up on the ground, I have had gear smashed into trees. 2 years ago our guide/wrangler led our string right through an active ground hive of bees. By the time my horse got there the hive was pretty jacked up and the horse wasn't having any part of it. Having a bucking bronc at 10K feet is no fun, trust me. Horses have no spatial awareness, they will walk underneath a downfallen tree and not give 2 shits about the guy on top. This also happened right after the bee encounter. I ended up on my back in the trail. Glad I was the last guy in the string or I might have been trampled. Man, that was a tough ride now that I think about it.

26-Sep-23
Life is getting up one more time than you fall down. John Wayne.

You don’t learn much when everything goes right.

From: goelk
26-Sep-23
BUMMER

From: butcherboy
26-Sep-23
I used to carry my bow in a soft case that had extra long handles on it to loop over the saddle horn. When I got off to walk I could easily pull it off and carry it or if I had to bail off for some reason I could quickly unhook it and just toss it over to one side. I’ve had my fair share of rodeos with horses in the mountains and have been extremely lucky I wasn’t seriously injured with a few of them. I always hated it though when they would lay down on the panniers and smash your food. Lol

From: Vaquero 45
26-Sep-23
I have always used my own horses . Don't know how that works as far as liability issues and clients getting injured or even killed by outfitters livestock . Must one sign a waiver upon paying for the hunt ? Also theres factors as steep cliffs , loose rocks , rattlers , bear encounters , moose etc on the trail . Yes agree green livestock should not be used . On the other end the average person with limited riding skills probably does not know how to slow down a run away horse , what to do and attempt to how to handle if your bucked reared straight back , or if going up or down a steep incline which way to lean etc . Few greenhorns know riding cues , about neck reining , leg cues and how horse was , if they were at all including verbal commands . The type of bits , reins etc also places a factor in these cues . Sorry to hear about those that got injured , and there gear smashed etc . Really said all this once again to ask are customers signing liability wavers on these hunts ? ....

From: KHNC
26-Sep-23
Horses are definitely a pain in the ass. Did a horse hunt in Idaho one time in 2005. Carried my bow strapped to my pack anytime i was on the damn horse. Got into yellowjackets as well. Horse about lost its mind that day. Otherwise it was a good one as were the pack mules when we packed our 2 bulls out a few days later. It was recommended that we use the bow scabbard as well. No damn way i was doing that. We had to lead the horses down mountain in the dark each night. Climbed up in full darkness each morning. No light and had to trust the horse to see. I dont have much use for horses, other than they are pretty animals.

From: 3bears
26-Sep-23
I have rode horses quite a bit when I was young but both incidents happened while I was not on the horse.I guess no elk meat was in the cards for me.

From: Ken
26-Sep-23
Sorry to hear about your misfortune. Horses are great for getting deep into the wilderness. But there is always some risk associated with horses.

26-Sep-23
I have had horses for decades. I have one team roping head horse left. I’ve said many times that for how much work is necessary to do to keep them.

And when you use them, they try to kill you, it just doesn’t seem like a fair bargain. :>))))

I’ve also said I can’t believe they haven’t gone extinct. with all the things that will cripple and kill them. :>))))

From: Lewis
26-Sep-23
Something I learned from first hand experiences and I have had both the common thing about horses and motorcycles is that if you use them enough I promise both will hurt you and maybe get you killed.Sure hated hearing about your hunt that sucks big time.Now get you a big whitetail Good luck Lewis

From: Dale06
26-Sep-23
That’s a real bummer. I always bring a back up bow. More than once, that’s saved my hunt.

From: Grey Ghost
26-Sep-23
Horses are usually only as good as their riders. That said, something is likely to break when horses are involved in a hunt, either bones or gear. I have 3 hay burners that I’d love to find a new home for if my wife would let me.

Matt

From: SBH
26-Sep-23
Ouch. Literally. If you had a back up bow or where able to get one on loan could you have continued the hunt or was the injury too much to bear?

From: Matt
26-Sep-23
Very sorry to hear how your hunt turned out.

From: MathewsMan
26-Sep-23
I can’t remember where I read it, may have been Chuck Adams, or Tom Miranda, or another book I read. But when asked about the most dangerous animal in North America the response was a pack horse…

From: RJ Hunt
26-Sep-23
Man guys those are some rough stories on horses. That said I grew up with/on horses and would not get on one now. I didn’t trust them then and 35 years later I still don’t.

From: drycreek
26-Sep-23
That’s a bummer for sure. I was raised around horses, started riding at about eight years old. They can be really smart, but they can be relly stupid too. You can never be sure how they will react to different stimuli. And believe me, they can be stimulated by almost anything.

From: Catscratch
26-Sep-23
I trust every horse or cow that I'm around to change moods in a heartbeat. And I trust that I'm no match for for a moody animal that's over 1000lbs heavier than I am. Even a little side kick can ruin your week.

26-Sep-23
Most don’t understand really what it means to be in that Country. Everything is trying to kill you. The terrain, the Bears ,the altitude, the horses, the Giardia. It's not at all about riding a 4 wheeler a mile on a ranch in New Mexico and walking a hundred yards to hear Elk Bugling all over. I’m sure there’s a few here that understand that you could never hunt in that country without a horse or a mule. It’s not about walking up the mountain 5 miles and hunting. It’s about going in 15 or 20 miles and then climbing to the top. Those that love this type of hunting understand that they take their lives in their own hands every time they try. It would be dishonest of me to say that that’s not stimulating to me . I’ve been there and have been measured many times. And the next time if I fall short it will be a horse that carries me off the mountain.

From: Oryx35
26-Sep-23
That sucks! If I remember the ads correctly, SNS isn't cheap either. Make sure you post up an outfitter report so that your experience is easily searched.

From: LBshooter
26-Sep-23
Sorry to hear of your hunt, not what anyone would expect? Was there no,way to get a substitute bow? I have always said to my self if I do get the chance to go on a hunt like yours I'd bring a back up bow. What did the outfitter do if anything to try and salvage your hunt?

From: Thornton
27-Sep-23
I'd rather fly a plane I'm not familiar with than ride a horse I'm not familiar with. I've owned my horse 8 or 9 years and she still surprises me with crazy actions. Like today I was digging out my pond in the skidsteer, and she came down, looked at me, and bolted like lightning back up to the barn. Third time she did it, I realized she was out of water and was throwing a tantrum. If I'd have been riding her, I'd probably have a broken neck.

27-Sep-23
Biggest thing I see wrong with hunting off a horse is guys come out and don’t know how to ride. When you know how to ride and how to control a horse it’s awesome hunting and riding deep into a wilderness. I can watch a guy sit on a horse and have the horse start walking and can tell in a heartbeat the guy has no idea how to ride other than to just sit on him and let the horse do what ever it wants to do. That guy should probably stick to hiking. There is more to riding a horse than just sitting on one and bouncing. No different than driving a heavy loaded semi truck down a long, steep grade, you have to know how to do it.

27-Sep-23
I’ve been hospitalized twice from horses. And been injured I can’t remember how many times from them. And I never blamed the animal. They are prey animals that we choose to climb on. And my one remaining horse Is the best I’ve ever had.

I complain about them all the time. And joke about them being a PITA. But the truth is. The roping horse market is very high right now for a quality heading horse. I could get a considerable amount of money for him. And for some reason he is still here.

only once did I put a muzzle to the forehead of one. And that was because it didn’t care for its own safety let alone a humans. My wife promised to sell it before I finished my squeeze.

From: 3bears
27-Sep-23
I appreciate the kind words and I just hoped that my story might help someone else.I learned that regardless if you are not even on or around the horse when your equipment is destroyed you are still responsible. So in conclusion dream hunts can go bad just do better home work when you select the type of hunt you choose, good luck to all.

From: Zebrakiller
27-Sep-23
wow bummer, sorry that all went down

From: CBFROMND
27-Sep-23
Sorry to hear that your dream hunt fell apart! Too bad they didn't offer a future discount or find a spot for you on some other type of hunt... My buddies and I were on a horseback hunt some years ago and the very first morning we were mounted up and the guy next to me was trying to adjust his saddle while we were tied to the post. horse reared up and down they both went resulting in us carrying him back to his tent with rib and collar bone injury.. Couple days later we had killed a couple of deer and the outfitter wanted to try break a young horse to carry meat and what a rodeo that was! I was holding two horses when that horse went crazy and came straight at me bucking the whole way... needless to say I dropped the reigns and got out of the way... end result we all walked back to camp that day... One guy had his shirt ripped off when his horse took him off trail and through the scrub brush... It was quite a learning experience..

From: SteveB
27-Sep-23
I did an elk hunt a few years ago in the Wilmore Wilderness in Alberta, not far from Jasper. Rough country. It would be impossible to hunt that area without the use of horses. I did more than 100 miles over the next 2 weeks, likely a good bit more. Most days the horse was priceless to have. Did really well each time we would encounter a grizzly. Several days though I thought it was crazy. One particular day we were climbing up and rather steep slope and the horse decided it was going between 2 trees regardless of my persuasive actions to avoid it. It was all I could do acrobatically to not get my pelvis ripped off, and the scabbard did get caught on the tree. The horse wasn't stopping. We got through with me hanging off the side of the horse saddle spun nearly off, and the horse went nuts throwing me completely off into the snowy hillside. I may have been knocked out a second or two, not quite sure. Glasses gone. After regaining my senses we located my broken glasses with lens missing. Miraculously found 30 minutes later in the snow. We Mcgyvered the glasses to last the rest of the trip. I was hurt, but not bad enough to pack out. It was an incredible trip that I'm glad I did at least once in amazing country. I doubt I ever do it again. Life could have been over pretty darn quick in that country. I have a love/hate relationship with horses.

From: TMac
27-Sep-23
Sorry to hear you got hurt on your hunt. Sometimes shit happens. Heal fast and enjoy the rest of your season!

From: jjs
27-Sep-23
I use to won horses and each has it own personality, one was name Risk and it fit him well, ever knew when he would go off on bucking, the render eventually claim him.

Back in1980 I spent a time in Ak hunting camp, had a wrangler, one of the guides (ego) wouldn't listen to the wrangler about not riding a pack horse and he came back several hours latter banged up and needed stitches, he was warn.

From: TonyBear
27-Sep-23
I'll never trust an animal that has a brain about the size of a walnut.

We had a whitetail hunt interrupted one fall when some horse trail riders in the area were fanning out to find a source of help. Two horses in the group didn't get along and one kicked out at the other and missed. The kick hit a female rider, blowing up her shin.

An hour or so later after we had her wrapped up and put on a make shift stretcher a 4 X 4 gave her a lift on a tail gate to a minimum maintenance road where a local ambulance was waiting. Stupid horse could have just as well killed her.

From: KHNC
27-Sep-23
These stories are why horses ARE allowed in wilderness areas and not wheels. People willing to take the risk to do it, deserve the opportunities. :)

27-Sep-23
“The horse was an ass. ”

Now THAT is pretty funny…..

My niece rides competitively at college-level and she wears a helmet…. because bad things happen even to skilled riders who know what to expect.

That sure is a bummer to have a OIL trip blow up on you. I don’t know if I’ll ever attempt a horse-packed trip, but if I do, I think a few months of riding and some lessons would be in order. I did an 8- hour trail ride once and could barely walk for a few days after…. And that was probably 50 years ago. Sure wouldn’t care to feel like that and need to be able to climb a slope too steep to ride up….

But I don’t understand not having a back-up bow….. I like to have 2 bows and 2-3 strings each. Just seems a Given that some s#!+ or other will hit the fan, with the probability doubling with each mile you go in….

27-Sep-23
“The horse was an ass. ”

Now THAT is pretty funny…..

My niece rides competitively at college-level and she wears a helmet…. because bad things happen even to skilled riders who know what to expect.

That sure is a bummer to have a OIL trip blow up on you. I don’t know if I’ll ever attempt a horse-packed trip, but if I do, I think a few months of riding and some lessons would be in order. I did an 8- hour trail ride once and could barely walk for a few days after…. And that was probably 50 years ago. Sure wouldn’t care to feel like that and need to be able to climb a slope too steep to ride up….

But I don’t understand not having a back-up bow….. I like to have 2 bows and 2-3 strings each. Just seems a Given that some s#!+ or other will hit the fan, with the probability doubling with each mile you go in….

From: Buckdeer
27-Sep-23
I like mules alot better,I always said a horse was smart enough to hurt you.Crossing shale slides on them always freaked me out.A mule I would climb a boulder on

From: Tilzbow
27-Sep-23
Seems as if most commenting didn’t read, forgot, or don’t care the OP wasn’t actually riding when the two accidents happened.

To the OP, sorry your trip got ruined but get back on that horse (so to speak…) and try another elk hunt. If horses are involved you don’t have to ride and can carry your bow. It’s what I’ve done for years and if you’re in really good shape you can keep up with horses, especially if one is carrying your pack.

From: Shug
27-Sep-23
Sorry to hear it

From: Glunt@work
27-Sep-23
+1 for mules. A buddy had some for hunting and it was a pleasure to use them. They just stopped when something was wrong.

Only wreck was a new rider riding scared. Mule stopped when her crupper broke. Should have "listened" to her and got off to check things before heading off a steep hill.

Amazing where they can and will go.

From: Bake
27-Sep-23

Bake's embedded Photo
Bake's embedded Photo
I guess I look at it different. I'm sorry it didn't turn out how you planned and that you didn't enjoy your experience. But that is one of the risks of adventure hunting. Weather, horses, snakes, getting hurt, etc. Do it enough, you're going to have some adventures where everything goes wrong.

From: Zim
28-Sep-23
3bears, Sorry to hear about your fiasco. I agree with others here in that I do not trust horses. In my 30 years of hunting I did everything to avoid them, but often needed them for packing out elk. Some were great. Others took advantage of me or tried to knock me off with tree limbs or near ran me over. Lol just glad I didn’t get hurt while being educated. I also concur on the mule comments. I love them! Hard working and friendly like puppies.

I also just concluded an unsuccessful Wyoming elk hunt, and am about to quit a subsequent NM mule deer hunt. And at 64 am just glad to have had good health to enjoy these, despite one trashed knee meniscus, two torn Achilles, and heart failure lol. No flu viruses! The heart failure has been a wake up call though. Returned to my favorite backpack trail and it was no dice. Afraid my backpacking days are over. I’m also eager to get home and shift to grampa mode whitetail hunting. My boat is a lot less moody than any horse.

From: BTM
28-Sep-23
My last horse wreck was on a guided hunt in Canada 15 years ago. The next time I get on one of those grass-eating bast*rds will be to celebrate my 110th birthday.

28-Sep-23

Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Bake summed it up. Spend enough time with one and something will happen. It’s usually those that make the lasting, and best stories.

Did you treat him good like I do. Proper hydration from your hunting buddies water bottle is important

From: ryanrc
28-Sep-23
The one thing I take from this thread is if I ever do a horseback hunt I am bringing a helmet.

From: Chief 419
28-Sep-23
“The next time I get on one of those grass-eating bast*rds will be to celebrate my 110th birthday”….. That’s funny stuff right there.

From: In2dmtns
28-Sep-23
Sorry to hear that.

From: JTreeman
30-Sep-23
I’m not a fan of horses, and generally avoid horseback hunts. Sounds like to me the OPs story is really only peripherally about horses though. More about being under prepared and having some bad luck.

But what I don’t get is guys asking if the outfitter “is gonna make it right” or blaming them some how. I don’t see how any of this story would really be their fault. Sucks the way it turned out, but sometimes hunts don’t turn out the way we hoped…

—Jim

From: WaleCanaty
17-May-24
Just popped in to share my two cents on saddles for horses. I reckon finding the right saddle is like finding the perfect pair of jeans - it's gotta fit just right for both you and your horse to feel comfy and confident. Whether you're hitting the trails or doing some fancy riding in the arena, a good saddle can make all the diff. Personally, I've tried a few brands, and I gotta say, each one has its perks. But it all boils down to what feels best for you and your four-legged pal. So, saddle up and enjoy the ride, y'all!

From: SteveB
17-May-24
Not sure how I missed this earlier! I've been on a few and agree with those here who say that if you do it enough, you're going to see or be a part of a wreck. I was in the Wilmore Wilderness in Alberta about as remote as you could be for 12 days and spent way over 100 hours that trip on a horse and many more hours with one. Without one, the trip would have been a disaster. Was nearly a disaster with one as well when going up steep without a trail my horse decide not to respond to my efforts to avoid going BETWEEN two trees. Turns out he was going to go through anyway and no, we did not fit! Out the other side I whacked my head, the scabbard had been caught and ripped off with the saddle hanging pure sideways and I was ineffectively hanging on for dear life. The horse then panicked and bucked and spun and threw me sailing into the snow, where I was quite dazed and possibly even out cold for a short while. When I came around, the guide who was in front at the time realized that I was down and was over me clearly worried. Lots more, but to sum it up, I broke my glasses, lost the lens in the snow which we found about a half hour later. MacGyvered them for the rest of the trip. Hard part was eventually getting back on that horse for the half day ride back to camp. Could have ended badly as there was absolutely no easy way off of the extremely remote mountain. I kept hunting, but was REALLY sore. Next day that same horse kept quite calm with a big boar grizzly busting out at 25 yards. All"s well that ends well I guess, but wow....what a ride that was.

I now have the utmost two-sided respect for horses.....amazing wonder at their strength, and an equal amount of fear for what they can do if they decide to. No elk on that trip either. Chalk it up to experience and a great story.

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