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Thread: My first willow ptarmigan!

  1. #1
    Member PG13's Avatar
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    Default My first willow ptarmigan!

    Hey gang. Last year I chased ptarmigan on the last day of the season and landed two rock ptarmigan. This fall I had white-tailed ptarmigan on the mind and thanks to an invitation from someone on this forum that dream became a reality. Well, last week while in pursuit of my Nelchina caribou, we came upon a couple fellas that had some big fat willow ptarmigan on their trailer. They pointed us towards the hillside that the rest of the flock had taken to and my hunting partner and I gave chase. What a great wingshoot! 5 big ole willow ptarmigan fell from the sky. They are more hardy than I was expecting. I ended up chasing three of them down. On one shot, two birds tumbled, it was just amazing. My favorite shot during that pursuit was while trying to push a single bird to flush towards my birdless buddy. It had different plans and headed downhill and past him and I just swung and rolled it for the 5th bird in my brace. Such a great video to replay in my mind. I chased one cripple around for probably 40 minutes through the snow and willows until I finally lost it for good. We accidentally kicked it up the next afternoon and collected it while wandering through the same area from our caribou vantage point trying to get back to camp.



    On the way out we lucked into a nice flock and chased them across the countryside to add 5 more birds to the cooler. They are just so neat and impressive. What a pursuit.

    Go Big Red!

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Good for you!
    I think ptarmigan hunting is the most fun hunting I have ever done, far more exciting than moose, caribou or even duck hunting. When the action is good, the fun just keeps on rolling.

  3. #3
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    Very cool! Hope you got a caribou and some grayling too. You can't get more latitudinally appropriate than that trifecta!
    I agree, the bird hunting is best of all! And far more interesting. Awesome country! Great pictures.

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    Good for you, PG!

    Jim

  5. #5
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Sweet JOB!!
    http://www.myfishingpictures.com/watermark.php?file=133776
    Jedi Salmon Powers Activated!
    www.alaskansalmonslayers.com


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    Several years ago I hunted them every day just at the brushline in the Talkeetnas above Willow. After a few days I had quite a few and cooked them up. I'm not sure what went wrong but they were tough as a boot and about as gamey as any bird I ever ate. I left them alone after that.

  7. #7
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Mmm...! Ptarmigan over camp fire! Mmmmm!!!! Ptarmigan soup! Mmmmmmmmm! Ptarmigan dried with fresh seal oil!

  8. #8

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    ptarmigan tacos...cream of mushroom and ptarmigan....ptarmigan pot pie...

  9. #9
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    mmm! And ptarmigan breast parts wrapped in a piece of bacon and cooked on the Barbie.

    (The cream of mushroom soup trick is great! Cut off the breast bone..soak in salt water for a couple of hours..dry on paper toweling..sear in a cast iron skillet with butter..add the cream of mushroom soup and quick rice..cover..cook on low covered and bubbling until the rice is done..
    might even cure cancer!!)

  10. #10
    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willowbilly3 View Post
    Several years ago I hunted them every day just at the brushline in the Talkeetnas above Willow. After a few days I had quite a few and cooked them up. I'm not sure what went wrong but they were tough as a boot and about as gamey as any bird I ever ate. I left them alone after that.
    Usually they're pretty darn good...but towards the end of the season I've noticed their flavor heads down hill.

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