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Thread: Ptarmigan Hunting without a dog

  1. #1
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    Default Ptarmigan Hunting without a dog

    As the title implies I'm curious if anyone has had much luck hunting those delicious birds early season without the aid of a bird dog? Planning on spending alot of time high in the Chucagh Mountains these next few weeks as I have a DS140 tag and need to hit up some scouting for it. My limited experience with ptarmigan has been in the winter time on the sled and late this spring after season closed. Has anyone ever done more or less of a push with a few other guys spread out and just trying to jump them or has a spot and stalk approach been more successful? Any birds would be a huge bonus to time spent in those awesome mountains. Good luck to everyone else this fall.

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    Fall is a tough time to hunt ptarmigan without a good dog. Actually, it can be tough hunting them even with a dog. You'll be hunting for local birds, those ptarmigan that were just born and raised in the area, not birds that have migrated into the area like in winter.

    During winter I would typically suggest a dogless hunter use a good binocular to hunt them just as you would if hunting big game, but adding the ability of locating birds from first finding their tracks. Not so easy in the fall.

    I guess I'd just go into good ptarmigan country with a good gun in hand and enjoy being out in wilderness in pursuit of a wonderful wild bird and hope for the best. Your binocular could still work. I'd be sure to check out areas along willow lined streams! And I'd use my ears to locate any birds moved to call out to other birds. The broods are used to being in higher cover more than out in the wide open. Hunt the cover.

    Good luck!

    Jim

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    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Hunting birds without a dog is illegal...use a camera!


    (just kidding)

    Serious now-
    Hunting birds without a dog is not nearly as much fun as with a dog. Just my bias....


    Early season ptarmigan hunting is tough like Jim said and many of the birds will not be all that mature in August. They dont fly well and are quite small (not even a meal for one). I dont shoot many the first few weeks of the season because of that. I use early season birds to tune the dogs up and get a feel for where they are and their numbers.

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    Thanks for the input. I had figured on it being a pretty hard hunt but I'm not all to concerned about seeing alot of birds. The only hunting I've ever really done with a dog is chasing cottontails back in Illinois. Never really chased birds with them but maybe someday. Anyways I will definately make sure to look into the cover that you mentioned Jim, I know of a few areas that are exactly like that.

  5. #5
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've had moderate success ptarmigan hunting above treeline without a dog. I basically spot and stalk them like big game with binos, or last year, a spotter. Usually later in the fall than August, more like late Sept or Oct. when they flock up.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  6. #6

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    I hunt ptarmigan without a dog, and it's like others said: cover a lot of ground, and glass it carefully. Sometimes I spot a couple birds hundreds of yard away; other times I look down and see one a few steps from my feet. At least half the birds I find are ones I see flying and mark where they land, and sometimes even then it's hard to find them.
    Jason
    http://www.troutnut.com -- Fly fishing photos & insect hatch encyclopedia.
    http://www.daltoncorridormap.com -- Exact 5-mile Haul Road corridor boundary for GPS & Google Earth

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