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Thread: Ptarmigan Hatcher Pass?

  1. #1
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    Default Ptarmigan Hatcher Pass?

    Hi everyone so I have lived in alaska my whole life and have never killed a Ptarmigan I was thinking about going to Hatcher Pass this weekend weather permitting, and go for a walk with the dog. Im not asking for any secret spot but Hatcher Pass is a lot of land and just need a starting point. I was thinking about Summit lake but just wanted to know what you guys think. I have done a search on the forum and read what people have said. But any help would be great.

    Thanks

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    Member PG13's Avatar
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    Go to the food sources. This time of year, willow ptarmigan are in the willows, rock ptarmigan are probably near dwarf birch, and white-tailed ptarmigan are gorging on crowberries. If you know where a good crop of butterfly caterpillars are, I'd hit that spot everyday as the birds are storing up for winter. Willow ptarmigan are probably your most numerous species. They are also big (relatively). I've had my best luck following willow draws from the bottom to where they disappear in a finger. The dog will be a big bonus as ptarmigan are 1) runners or 2) stay-putters.

    There are ptarmigan in Hatcher Pass but they are close to home and easily accessible so you'll have to get lucky or burn up some boot leather. I'm a big fan of both methods.

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    Redneck...

    Ptarmigan are often hard to find without burning off a lot of boot leather, and right now they are forming into large groups and heading toward wintering grounds. If you happen to be hunting in a place along that migration route you will have great hunting. Ptarmigan are hard to figure out, but maybe that's a good thing because we really can't exploit them.

    Bottom line: Any day walking through Alaska's woods or out on the tundra with a good gun in hand and fine dog along is a day well spent. I wish you great luck on your adventure.

    Jim

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    Thanks for the information Jim. I will try my luck this weekend got a new pair of hunting boots and good dog so if I don't see any its still going to be a good day. And I read your book lost of great information that I can use.

    Thanks
    Redneck

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    This weekend we were finding Ptarmigan at about 3500 feet elevation at Hatcher.

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    Were they turning white yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grouse View Post
    Were they turning white yet?
    yes they were.

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    Any snow on the road going over the pass yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    Any snow on the road going over the pass yet?
    There was some snow on the road, but the rain took it out, the gate was closed on the Independence side after the storm.

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    Natures cruel trick when photoperiod has the ptarmigan turning white before the arrival of snow. I hunted them down along the Denali Highway a few Octobers ago when the unusally warm weather melted all of the snow and the birds were totally white in a dark world. They were understandably a bit skittish when my dogs pointed them. At the flush they would fly up as high as needed to find a little patch of snow.

    It really gets tough on all-white mating birds in the spring and a large number of them - perhaps too many - are easily spotted on dark tundra and killed by raptors.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dallas View Post
    There was some snow on the road, but the rain took it out, the gate was closed on the Independence side after the storm.
    I haven't been over the pass in years and there was no gate back then. Can you still get on Hatchers Pass road toward Willow with the gate closed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    I haven't been over the pass in years and there was no gate back then. Can you still get on Hatchers Pass road toward Willow with the gate closed?
    Only on foot until there is enough snow for snowmachines. There are two gates on the Palmer side, one where the road turns to go to Willow and one about a mile below Independence mine. they are both closed in the winter, but I think the gate going over the pass to Willow closed earlier than normal this year because of washouts from the recent storm.

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    so if I was to come up the palmer side how far can i get

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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Any report on current snow conditions?

    I may journey out to hatchers pass for a one day hunt in two weeks. That is if my daughters vollyball team goes to state tournament.
    http://www.myfishingpictures.com/watermark.php?file=133776
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    Default Ptarmigan Hatcher Pass?

    Only a couple inches. Until Monday there was almost none below 4000' except on a few N aspects so most birds were way up high. Could change in a few weeks. You certainly don't need snowshoes right now, a good boot is adequate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JediMasterSalmonSlayer View Post
    Any report on current snow conditions?

    I may journey out to hatchers pass for a one day hunt in two weeks. That is if my daughters vollyball team goes to state tournament.
    Hey Jedi. I can see them through my window right now as I am typing this. Just a light dusting all the way up to at least 4,000 ft. I'd imagine it will get dumped on very soon though.

  17. #17
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Sounds promising..I have snowshoes to bring with me just incase. I will know by this weekend (from the regional tournament results) if I am even going to be that way.

    I wonder if AKnook is up for some hatchers pass birds?
    http://www.myfishingpictures.com/watermark.php?file=133776
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