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Alpacas of Montana shedding their winter coats on shearing day

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Posted at 4:19 PM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 11:42:25-04

BOZEMAN — As summer heats up, folks are shedding those winter coats and so are the alpacas at Alpacas of Montana.

“I used to shear sheep as a kid and some lady asked if I could shear alpacas,” said John Gunther. "I tried, had no idea what I was doing, but fortunately, she was legally blind. She said I did a great job.”

John Gunther’s alpaca shearing business may have had a humble beginning, but now he and his buddies are seasoned professionals.

“It’s called and for three months we start in California and go all over the country,” said Gunther.

And now, they’re in Bozeman to help out at Alpacas of Montana.

Gunther and his crew have about 70 to 80 alpacas to shear. They all waited patiently for their annual haircut.

First, they safely tie down the alpacas.

“Because if they jerk, they might injure themselves,” said Gunther.

They clip their hooves, check their teeth, and then…

“We’ll take the fleece off in one piece and try to make them look pretty like poodles,” said Gunther.

Even the babies get a fresh haircut on shearing day.

Don’t worry, because all this fleece gets put to use.

“After that, it gets made into fabric and we cut and sew into all our products,” said James Budd.

Budd is the owner of Alpacas of Montana that’s been selling its fleece products worldwide for years.

Now, they have an exciting announcement.

“Saturday is our grand opening,” said Budd. “We’ve been renting space from all over the country for years and we’re so happy and proud to have our own spot with all our own products that we’ve designed ourselves.”

The Alpaca Clothing Boutique is located at 8255 S Cottonwood Rd in Bozeman.

Socks, jackets, scarves, and t-shirts are just a short list of fleece items sold by Budd and Alpacas of Montana.

“If you wear my socks you can wear them for consecutive days and not have any odor,” said Budd. “Same with the shirts.”

But of course, you have the alpacas to thank for that.

As well as Gunther and his crew of shearers who are off to the next job after a long day of work.

“I’ll just jump right to the next one so I can always be working,” said Gunther.