Our next article is about a man on a mission that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Marc Warnke is the creator of packgoats.com and his drive to share guidance and information about his unique pack is an inspiring feat! What once started as a simple idea to use goats to help pack on his far-out hunting expeditions soon turned into a passion and an incredible journey that has helped many people and goats in the process!
We had time this fall to catch up with Marc and talk about his adventures & we’re eager to share what we learned with Raptorazor nation! Without further a due we introduce you to Marc Warnke!
Q. First of all, Marc I wanted to thank you for your time and for sharing with our audience what you do! As impressed and excited as I am to talk about the goat pack you raised, I wanted to learn a little bit about your background. Starting with your history in hunting a bit, how old you were when you got stared hunting and who was your biggest motivator for that?
A. Well, I was raised by a single mother and was fortunate to have different men help mentor me growing up. At age 6, I was introduced to who I consider my adopted father who was an avid hunter. I began to hunt deer and pheasants with him and was able to gather a lot of information regarding training and gathering meat. The rest was history.
Q. I understand how every hunting trip is special in their own right but what trip has been the biggest stand out you’ve experienced so far & why?
A. In all honesty, I go on so many hunts each year that choosing one individually isn’t easy to do, however, the most memorable hunts that stick with me are the ones that were the hardest to accomplish. The hunts where we work collectively and energetically are most impactful. One hunt being where we were able to pack out 3 elk in 7 days…the planning, the grit, the fulfillment, that hardships that had to be overcome is what makes it stand out.
Q. We have a lot of people in Raptorazor nation who live and hunt in Idaho or are eager to make a trip there to do so. Do you have a favorite time of year that you prefer?
A. Weather wise the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are some of my favorite, but each season has its own specialness. The places above 9,000 ft where you’re the 1% holds even more specialness to me and a place I call Hobbit land. This is only accessible due to the elements comfortably early July to mid-October.
Q. It’s easy to see that you have true passion and love for the outdoors. Is there anything you wish to tell people about the outdoors and how we can help protect it?
A. In Idaho 76% of the state is public land – if you can’t hike than you won’t see a lot of it. I think that being a steward of the land is of upmost importance. I also believe that the perception of using the land needs to change. Often humans are seen as a danger to the land and current trends showcase humans are the evil partner of digression – I think the mindset needs to be changed to celebrate those who embrace public land.
Q. Now…onto the goat pack! It’s easy to see your love for these amazing animals, but I think a question many have is what initially got you started with raising them and using them in the wild? Were they pets first, and something clicked to take this on or was it some other influence?
Q. Do you have any trips you can think of where the goats were almost necessary to get the job done?
A. Yes, that’s more so my specialty. Going where others can’t go is made possible because of the goats’ ability to get over the dead fall that occurs. Only about 10% of the trails are maintained in Idaho so having their skills in necessary in most cases.
Q. One video I loved on your YouTube channel Packgoats.com was the Pack Goat Personalities one from 2018. I’m curious do all of your goats attend each trip, or do you pick and choose a select number depending on varying circumstances?
A. I’m allowed more freedom in choosing since I have 27 goats in my pack that I care for, of those 20 are pack goats which is a ton of work and hard to manage. The goal is to go safely with as few as needed – I decide which goats I bring while thinking about the future in order for the juveniles to gain experience. I have what I consider to be my A team of my go-to goats and using them while rotating the juveniles allows the others to be trained effectively. There are a lot of other factors involved to be considered such as the duration of the trip & how heavy the load is. When it is a longer trip I like to have 2 extras in order to give a goat a rest day to regain strength.
Q. My parents both had goats growing up in Ohio and I remember some hilarious stories they’d tell of the shenanigans these animals have gotten into over the years. Do you have any funny memories that come to mind?
A. There are so many funny memories when raising these animals but when the babies are around, I always have a smile. I call them grasshoppers of love and the joy they embody is contagious. They are really curious animals in general, one time I had a goat get himself stuck between two six-foot fences and of course the process of getting him out was quite entertaining.
Q. In terms of weight each goat can carry. Are there parameters you stick to in order to keep the animal safe & healthy?
A. The simple answer to this question is 30% of the goats body weight, however, this is very dependent on a variety of variables.
**Note** - Marc has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to pack goats and his blog on this question is extremely informative. Click thelink to access the content.
Q. In one video on your YouTube channel I heard you mention that you have an all-male pack, is there a reason for this or is it just a coincidence?
A. The males are typically bigger and more effective in carrying the weight necessary for longer trips.
Q. Like any business there are always challenges one has to endure. What’s one challenge you’ve had to overcome over the years that you didn’t expect at the start?
A. One challenge I didn’t expect was balancing it all. Figuring out how to separate my love of helping people who want to learn more about pack goats, along with being an entrepreneur, plus being a father as well as being there for the family. The balance of life is the challenge.
Marc I wanted to thank you again for your time answering these questions and letting people in on your goat adventures, now, shout yourself out! Where can people easily find you and most importantly HOW CAN PEOPLE GET IN ON THIS!?
I want to encourage people to check out the website www.packgoats.com I hope it helps serve as a resource for those wanting to learn more. What took me 10 years and a lot of money to learn organically is available on there along with my courses that are available for a variety of topics. In order to see more of an inside look on the trips and what it’s all about my Backcountry Life episode on my YouTube channel is a great place to start.
We wanted to thank Marc for his time and help with this article. The passion he has for the outdoors and helping others experience it is commendable and something we hope you all check out! If you’re curious on goats Marc offers incredible courses on his website, plus entertainment and information on his YouTube channel!
Check everything out for yourself one www.packgoats.com