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Thread: I don't do this often, but could use some help

  1. #1
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    Default I don't do this often, but could use some help

    I could use some help. I've been up here from 07 when I was stationed at fort Richardson.
    I didn't do so well last year with ptarmigan & grouse hunting. This year the duck hunting has been ok at best. I am a big waterfowl and small game hunt kind of guy. My cousin is coming up here for a business conference and is going to stay a couple extra days so we can hang out. I was hoping to take him out and shoot a couple critters. Since the ducks have been a flop so far this year, could anybody give me a solid pointer to get some ptarmigan or grouse?
    I know nobody wants to give up their spots. We both grew up hunting and respect the sport of it and the etiquette. We would not share any locations or hunt out the spot. He will be leaving and I have a couple month old baby, so won't be getting out much this year if any.
    In past I have hunted around Fairbanks, North Pole, delta junction, paxson, eureka, and anchorage/mat-su.
    we are trying to stay around anchorage & mat-su, but if need be I will drive him up to eureka or something.
    Mi would greatly appreciate some points in the right direction for my cousins visit.
    Thanks guys and gals ~Ryan

  2. #2
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    Well you've recieved the response I expected.

    Reality is hunting pressure around ANC and South Central in general is just too high to be giving out any spots. Having said that, if you search the small game forum or just browse the pages you'll find a ton of advice on finding your own spots. Take as much time as you can with that advice in the field to scout some areas before your cousin shows up and you should be able to get him on some birds.

    My best spots are places I stumbled on during other season or just running my dog or hiking with my wife. Its taken several years to put a few reliable places in my pocket, I suspect most guys on here would tell you the same thing.

    It may be too late, but a fella up in Fairbanks has written a book or two on upland birds in alaska or something along those lines that I believe you can purchase from this website.

  3. #3
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    Grouse and ptarmigan move to much to have a secret spot that's hunting a lot of times you don't get anything until you learn to ask for someone's spot is just unrealistic because ptarmigan move depending on berries and food and temperature affects grouse. c father not her further away from people the more success you will have. I wouldn't recommend taking someone visiting alaska on a hunting trip but more of a hiking trip. Because this ain't the Dakota we don't have the kind of population of upland game

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    I took the dog out tonight to scout a new spot, didn't see a single bird, I did pick up a coyote skull and a moose shed! Way better than finding birds in my opinion!


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  5. #5
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    For ptarmigan, get up high and stay high, then cover ground. I know that may sound overly simplistic, but when I spend at least a few hours in the high country I see ptarmigan at least 80% of the time. If I'm on the ridges, I usually see rock ptarmigan - if busting willows down a bit lower, then willow ptarmigan make themselves known. I've spent time in the Chugach, Kenai, Talkeetna, and Alaska Ranges over the past few months, and I've seen rock ptarmigan in all of them with regularity. No specific spot needed - just climb and run the ridgelines.

  6. #6
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Get up high and, oddly enough, glass for them.

    Not exactly classic bird technique but its worked for me a lot in the past. Right now ptarmies are flocked up and you can find them with a spotter or binos pretty easy.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  7. #7
    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    I'm still learning a lot about upland hunting here so I'm no expert. This is my second year and I have had good success this time of year getting above the tree line and start hunting willow along drainages. The first pic is this summer on a training run but, it is where I start and it works in the fall. In the winter I'm still trying to figure out where they go. I'm reconing new places all the time but I live in Anchorage so to get to Ptarmigan country I need to almost back pack in or drive a ways. The second pic was Saturday after a 6 hour hike Friday night to get into there. Great fun but it was a smoker!



  8. #8
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    All good advice. In the early fall ptarmigan are indeed grouped together in broods. Finding them isn't all that easy. As fall progresses the birds come together and flocks will increase greatly in size and begin to move about. If you find them you've struck pay dirt. In the winter months ptarmigan go pretty much where they please, but if you hunt the likely places hard enough, often enough, you will find birds. Using a binocular is good advice if you don't have a dog or two, and even with the dogs it could help you save covering a lot of extra miles.

    And some fellow in Fairbanks did indeed write a book on this stuff, and it is available for purchase on this website.

    Jim

  9. #9
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    Jim,

    I still need that guy to sign my copy.

    Chris

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    Chris,

    I've not seen you in a long time my friend. I'd be honored to sign your book. One of these days I really do need to stop by and say "hello."

    Jim

  11. #11
    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Not sure if SC AK is anything like SE, but if so, like Brian said go up high to the alpine and start moving. Although there is snow in the alpine down here right now, generally all the ptarmigan to be found down here are in the alpine. A friend of mine went goat hunting a week or so ago and he and his buddy shot 40 ptarmigan and saw well over 300...

  12. #12
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    I don't know much about Ptarmigan hunting but those are some beautiful dogs!!

  13. #13
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    Denali highway is always a good bet, I usually go up on the Paxson side while caribou and moose hunting, and then love hitting it after big game season and do some camping and bird hunting with the dog. But I live in Valdez and that's the easy side for me to get too. The grouse hunting is great south of DJ and Ptarmigan are plenty full around Valdez, just takes some walking. Season is about to close down here, so guess this info is more for next year.


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  14. #14
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    Thanks all for the info. My cousin had to cancel the trip.
    On another note, due to the crap winter we have had, I have not gone out for ptarmigan one time this year winter. Sucks. I'm going insane.

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