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MIGRATION

In most ranching areas, like North America, the herd is driven from one area to another. The Lapps do not drive the herds, rather they follow the herds to where ever they may go. Before modern life reached the Lapps, they would live in tents called a kota, and followed the herds with their entire family. Today, because of snowmobiles, they live in houses and follow the herds using the snowmobiles. The reason they can't "drive the herds" is due to the reindeer's instincts. Although the Lapps have been herding the animals for hundreds of years, they have been unable to breed out the migration instinct.

Before the use of snowmobiles, the Lapps would use the reindeer to pull their sleighs. This is where I got the idea to use reindeer myself. I saw that the Lapps would harness nine or ten together in single file, and because the reindeer are so strong, they could pull the sleigh and two men at 18 miles per hour! When reindeer are used as pack animals, they can travel 40 miles a day carrying 90 pound loads, and still pull another 450 pound load. For their size, reindeer are pretty fast. The reindeer's top speed is 32 miles an hour, and that is running through the snow! Because of their size and strength they can maintain a steady trot over a very long distance.


New reindeer recruits waiting for tryouts


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