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where to start in the mule game

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:41 pm
by Uncle Dave
I'm starting to seriously consider getting a couple mules to hunt lion with in NM so I can cover a bit more ground instead of walking everywhere. I'm looking to get some advice as to how best to get started. I've looked online at some clinics but they all seem to require having a mule - which seems like putting the cart in front of the horse :roll: for me because I would certainly like more experience prior to buying a mule. I've only ridden a handful of times but did manage to keep up on 2 solid days on lion hunting in some rocky country off trail type riding. I just want to make sure that I get a solid foundation to begin with and don't pick up somebody else's bad habits without knowing any better. If any one is willing to teach a guy some of the basics in NM or semi-nearby, I sure would appreciate some help. Thanks

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:25 am
by tman308
a couple of the guys who train mules and go around and conduct those clinics bring extra mules to those clinics and will be more than happy for you to use one of theirs send him an email. I know Ty Evans would be more than happy to help if you're looking for professional training

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:03 am
by Mike Leonard
https://www.muleranch.com/so-you-want-to-buy-a-mule/


Check this out, and as always be very cautious and don't take anybody's word only make sure it is a proven in person.

I good mule is a joy but also remember more professional full time southwest lion hunters have been seriously maimed or killed in mule accidents than by any other potential danger you might encounter hunting lions.

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:40 pm
by david
Mike on that topic we recently had a farrier come trim hooves. There is one huge Jenny that is a very high quality animal if you can stand the high altitude. The guy is seventy, looks sixty and been doing it since he was twenty. He said “I am a mule man. Love mules. Know all about mules. And that is why I refuse to work on them”. Lol. “Doctor bills are way too high these days, and I don’t heal as fast as I used to.” He actually did trim her eventually, but under protest.

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:27 pm
by Uncle Dave
I have browsed Ty Evans' website and will probably be calling them shortly gor a chat.

Mike, that is actually one of the websites I visited before posting here and I spent a considerable amount of time cruising through his YouTube channel as well. I understand the dangers of horses/mules pretty well after talking with Warner Glenn about wrecks he and his daughter have had.

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:44 pm
by Mike Leonard
Warner and poor Kelly have sure been thru the mill with the long ears. It must be understood if there is a definition of an expert mule riding lion hunter right next to it would be Warner's name. But still it has inherit risks, and much of their calamities were not necessarily the fault of the mules but the horrible country they hunt in.

Mules are fantastic in the bad places but still just like a person who becomes and expert dirt bike rider, the more experience you get the more risks you might be willing to take. Hence you hardly ever meet a long term dirt biker or mule riding hard hunter who can't show you battle scars tell you about broken bones, doctors and hospitalizations.

Unless you are hell bent on riding all the way to the into and out of the worst hell holes in the mountains most people especially those starting it later in life would be better served in the beginning with a good old sold broke trail gelding, and don't get crazy with it just get off and use your two feet when in doubt.

Famous Dale Lee who probably rode as many bad mountains in pursuit of lion and bear as anybody got hurt very seriously early in life by his old Budweiser mule. Even had amnesia after the incident and could never really remember what truly happened. He would ride as far as he should , jump off tie up shuck his chaps and spurs and build to the dogs on foot. He once said that although he rode mules a lot of his career, that the two little half Arabian horses he and Clell had when they first broke out for the old Biological Survey might have been the best hunting mounts he ever rode.

Remember that one of the famous Lee Brothers, Vincent was killed by a mule.

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:51 pm
by Cowboyvon
I've been riding them for a while now and I think the best advice is the same advice I got years ago from a rancher that had travelled many miles in the rough.. He told me for the way you hunt you would be better off with a good mule ... and then he looked me straight in the eyes and pointed his finger at me and said "A GOOD MULE" . I've been fortunate to have some good ones.. but I have also trained and competed most all of my life on horses so I'm sure that helps... Just make sure you get a good one from a reputable person not one of these new mule gurus that read the book and watched the dvd now they are trainers .. ask around ... and if and when you get one and your riding in the rough don't ever be too proud or lazy to get off and lead ... I'm not

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:18 am
by Mike Leonard
Great advice Brett! Just be warned A GOOD MULES ain't cheap!

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 8:29 pm
by pegleg
The only mule worth owning is a good one. Seems self explanatory. But many people dont think it through or have high enough expectations. If the mule isnt perfectly behaved and genuinely likes you , you are better off passing. Theres many riders that have had experiences with poor horses that still ride. On the other hand theres alot of riders who met one bad mule and won't go near another.
I have three hounds that feel the same way. They absolutely hate mules. And wont change their opinion in this life time. I think it has to do with simplicity of a dogs mind. They can pretty much trust a horse to behave the same as it does the first time they have to get near it. If it tries to bite or kick it probably always will and theyre ok with that. But mules take much longer to really get to know. And they just dont have the patience. Its easy enough breaking up a disagreement between horse and hound and thats normally the end of it. But ive had running battles between hounds and mules last days until i could switch the mule. Before you buy a mule you better make sure it can get along with your hounds.

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 11:17 am
by Mike Leonard
Nathan,

That is an excellent point! I have seen some mules and donkeys that were cryptic and sneaky dog killers. no messing around absolutely lethal! They waited till the appropriate time and out of the blue BOOM! Dead dog!

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:19 pm
by CCPM
You guys ever put your mule stalls or compounds next to your whelping pens. So they see the pups grow up. Hear them with there mother. Acclimate and desensitize the mules with every sound a dog makes. Letting them run by the mule pens as pups. Get nose close threw proper fencing. I've had the oddest animals eventually become buddies after proper introduction. And I didn't learn that from some show or DVD. Cause I haven't had tv in 20yrs. Just like your house hold, it can go to shit with out the proper ground rules. Teamwork being the only rule. They don't get along, make them spend more time together.

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:46 pm
by CCPM
I Picked up a 3-4yr old wild feral mule. Ran wild threw the woods for the last 2yrs. No one could could keep it contained if they did mention to get it caught. Been working with it for a bit now. Seems they can get used to anything with proper introduction. Patience and proper handling. I eat meat so I expect this mule to pack meat out for hunters and fishermen. But I can't expect this mule to haul out a bear skin without issues. Unless she has had a bear skin on here before. With the scent of it an being its natural predator. Mules are smart animals. There's a reason folks used bell mares on there long rides. There born from horses and will follow horses willingly. Same way they used to trap the mustangs with judas mares. To train the mule, I once read you have to be smarter then the mule. I think there's a lot of truth to that she spooks near a peticular object. Like someone said before on this post, get off and walk her. Mules sent for the lazy folks. There there to help an make life easier by helping. There not there to do your job as head of the outfit. Mans gunna do what mans gunna do. I seen more folks ruin a good dog or horse or mule or truck. By being lazy and uninformed before even considering training.

I've have up to 14 pit bulls that never hunted in groups other then (male&female pairs, or two females and a male trio, when all let loose get along. Loose free all at once I didn't try it on my own. I had someone there to help if the experience didn't go as planned. Controlled environment. Controlled situations best that you can will help plan for the uncontrolled.

When I walk this mule I will grab an old lawn chair leg,(hollow aluminum type. As I walk with her down the trail with a nose chain threw the haulter and a large cotton rope lea also. I will tap every rock I come to for a mule or two. Till I get to the highway and walk her down the ditches to get her used to cars/trucks/transports. Then hit the crown land to find some four heeled and lads with bear dogs that start baying as soon as they leave the main road cause they smell bear in the area. We walk by pile of coyote scat on the trails. So the smells and sounds are nothing new. Then one day we do it with a saddle on and some light stuff typed on her. Repeat till your both comfortable. Then you start to introduce them to situations you know you will encounter in what ever situation your training them for. Search and rescue, removing injure hounds from the bush. Logging, tilling fields. Hauling water carts. Or just hauling sheds and meat out. Your job is to earn that mules trust. Respect it,train it. Seen a lot of folks not put in the proper time with whatever animal. And expect miracles from the get go. I've slept in the hay pile next to the animals to earn a stand off hound or horse or mules trust. Otherwise why bother trying to train it. Hire someone that will do it properly. Even then you have no business running that mule/dog/hunting partner unless you have learned and watched how it's been taught

Re: where to start in the mule game

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:06 pm
by CCPM
I should of mentioned also after tapping rocks for a mile or two off every rock, as I walk her, dragging tin empty tin cans on a string behind us. If they here an unfamiliar sound, I have found most will freeze up and not bolt. Which was the desired response I was looking for. I'd rather a mule freeze and not take another step. Rather then bolt home after kicking to high heaven with all my gear and then have to turn back to deal with a loose mule on the run. I want my animal to freeze up assess the situation before a panic fight or flight response. Make them use there brain,and you will have a smarter animal. (I understand we all have timelines and high expectations of our beasts, dog/mule/ and horses or fellow man. But to understand them you have to put the time in to get expected results.