Core Stories

Meet Marcus, Leupold's Public Land Llama

About Marcus


When you’re miles deep in the backcountry and well beyond the reach of your truck, cell service, or any other kind of help, it pays to have a reliable partner. A pal that doesn’t spook easy and can carry their own weight, or with any luck, a quartered-out game animal. For some folks, that pal might be a horse or a mule. Us? We’ll take a llama.

You read that right: A llama. This summer and fall, we’ll be working with onX Hunt and long-time dedicated backcountry hunter Randy Newberg to provide a unique look at public lands through the eyes of his new hunting partner, Marcus the Llama. Sharing his first name with Marcus Leupold – son of legendary co-founder Fred Leupold and the man who changed the course of the company more than 70 years ago by vowing to start making better rifle scopes – the llama will serve as Newberg’s lead pack animal on public land hunts throughout the western portion of the United States. 

Provided by Beau and Kristin Baty of Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas, Marcus comes from a herd of Ccara Pack llamas. Ccara’s are representative of the traditional llama breed and make for excellent pack animals thanks to their athleticism, strength, and trainability.

When you break it down, llamas are simply built for the backcountry. They don’t consume a ton of food and water (in comparison to larger-bodied pack animals), they carry the majority of their body weight on their front legs, and their feet have leather pads and a split toe – traits that make them excellent in the rough terrain that’s often found deep in any wilderness. Combine that with their calm disposition, and you’ve got a hunting partner that won’t easily let you down.

Partnership for Public Land

The hunting partnership was born earlier this year, when Randy had the opportunity to use llamas from Wilderness Ridge during one of his backcountry hunts. He was impressed with how much weight they could carry and how low-maintenance they were.

“I love sharing my public land hunting experiences with the world,” said Newberg. “There are so many great resources out there for hunters and anglers to enjoy – I’m hoping to help further that message with a little help from Marcus and hopefully introduce a few new folks to the joys of our public lands.”

Over the next several months, we’ll be chronicling Marcus’ public land adventures through various social platforms – notably Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube – and will check in with him and Randy throughout the fall as they tackle new public land hunts.

No optics company does more for sportsmen's rights and conservation across the United States than Leupold – and we’re excited to partner with onX Hunt and Randy Newberg to continue that tradition by paying tribute to and raising awareness for public land opportunities, with a little help from Marcus in 2018. Limited-edition Marcus the Llama t-shirts will be available in the near future, too – so keep an eye out.

Headed out on your own adventure this fall? Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas has you covered.

In Case You Missed It

To learn more about Marcus and his upcoming adventures, join Randy Newberg, Beau Baty and Michael Wunnicke from Leupold as they chat all things llamas on a recent episode of the Leupold Core Insider Podcast. 

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