Highline For Hunting Camp – Keeping Your Stock In Camp – Meet Backcountry Wilderness Requirements
When you are headed into your back-country camp for hunting, fishing or a pack trip with your stock (horses and mules) you will need to establish how you are going to keep your stock safe at camp while they are not being used. As soon as you get to camp and before you setup your Canvas Wall Tent you will need to setup a highline for your stock or a temporary corral out of electrical fencing that you packed into camp. It is important that you understand the regulations for your specific state if you are in a wilderness or back-country area. Check with your local fish and game / wildlife office to see what their rules are for stock in the back-country. Certified Weed Free Hay may likely be another requirement in wilderness areas. If you select the highline method for taking care of your stock in camp there are some basic guidelines to follow.
One direct benefit of choosing a highline setup for your stock is that it is light and very functional. You will barely notice the weight and the space savings is significant over other backcountry horse setups. The material, if needed can also be utilized for other things at camp as well.
You will need the following for your highline setup.
- Pick two trees spread apart enough that all of your stock or a portion of your stock (if you are separating them) can fit comfortably between the two trees. We like to keep each horse around 7’ apart. We also always work to put horses together that get along. Make sure the trees are alive and have the girth to withstand the strength of stock pulling on them;
- A rope, create loops (usually a butterfly knot) in the rope to tie your lead rope to for your stock. We like a minimum of 3/8” rope for highlines. If you don’t want to tie loops in your rope you can use a knot eliminator to attach to your rope which will then attach to your lead rope. Make sure that the knot eliminator swivels to allow your horse to move freely and turn around without tangling their lead rope. If you have young horses and are afraid they might spook during the night you can create a breakaway loop out of hay string (attached to your butterfly knot or knot eliminator). Tie your lead rope to that hay string and it will break away easy enough if your horse spooks but will generally keep them there so long as they don’t spook.
- Tree saver straps (we can make these for you at Big Sky Canvas), they are made with nylon webbing and a medal ring that pulls tight against the tree while not damaging the tree. Place your tree saver straps around 7’ up in each tree.
Your rope will attach to the tree saver straps which will then attach to the trees you selected on each side. Pull the highline tight using leverage / creating a pulley system if needed to avoid sagging throughout the day and night. Make sure to select an area that can grow back after you leave. Your stock will leave their mark on the area and you will want to do everything you can to prevent too much damage to the area you have selected.
Happy horseback riding!