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Thread: ptarmigan options for a novice hunter

  1. #1

    Default ptarmigan options for a novice hunter

    I'm trying to do my best at keeping my wife's interest in hunting high.... She has two elk and two turkey under her belt from our time in the lower 48 and keeps asking about ptarmigan hunting up here. Great, I'm more than happy to take her out. We just moved to the big city this summer so I've only had a chance to explore areas like Hatcher Pass and the Peters Hills. Any thoughts on those two areas for ptarmigan? I'd like to take her to an area that's doable within a day. We also talked about hunting grouse on the Peninsula but I'd like her to experience something a little closer to our pheasant hunting in the Dakotas

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

  2. #2
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Alpine valleys usually hold birds especially willow and spruce thickets at the upper extent of tree line, I see a ton of birds while out skiing in Arctic Valley (legal to hunt outside of the tokle creek drainage meaning not the ski area) the valleys coming off the ridge between hiland valley and arctic are a great area as is the peters creek drainage uplands... Ptarmigan valley is aptly named, theres a few other great places around eagle river but I'm not telling because I want first shot at the birds there come christmas. The chugach holds a lot of birds for sure just keep an eye on the regs the weather and if you are out after the snow falls carry the appropriate gear for the uplands (beacon shovel probe). Of course basically any where that you can get up high and away from people you can find birds. A dog is helpful.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Does she like darker meat with a gamier flavor? My wife doesn't ...and if yours is like mine, then you might want to redirect her bird hunting interest towards ruffed grouse. Flat light-brown dirt roads running along mixed forest... look for scratch on the road and poops the size of a half dollar on the road. I generally see the most between 4pm and dark, but I don't get up at the crack of dawn for birds. Grouse country is ptarmigan country...

    Have fun,

    Brian

  4. #4

    Default Grouse

    If you are hunting the dirt roads for grouse keep in mind it is illegal to shoot them on the roadway. I believe you must be 25 yards off the road. The ATV trails around Jim Creek in Palmer is good place to check out.

  5. #5

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    Anyone hunt up by Cantwell or up further towards the Yanert Valley? I was thinking about checking that area out for ptarmigan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHunt View Post
    If you are hunting the dirt roads for grouse keep in mind it is illegal to shoot them on the roadway. I believe you must be 25 yards off the road. The ATV trails around Jim Creek in Palmer is good place to check out.
    I used the term "roads" loosely. The regs say "constructed road" but not much about what that means. Some of that is common sense ...but if it's been made with road-making machinery, is open, and is maintained, then you can't shoot from or across it. I think for big game at least, the rule is 1/4 mile off the road before you can shoot (really.) The places where I hunt grouse are not roads in that sense since 4-wheelers created them. That's not "constructed" as far as I know. The point is that grouse seem to like fine gravel or even sandy gravel for the purpose of filling their gullets and as such, tend to be more concentrated in those kinds of areas.

    Brian

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    Member akhunter83's Avatar
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    Default grouse

    I had seen six grouse last weekend in Hope on the resurrection pass trail. Really easy hike. Only took two myself, it was early in the morning and i was mainly there to look for bear. Saw to good size brownies eating berries.

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    I dont think it makes a difference as far as big game or smal game...As long as your off the road.Unless in your in some type of restricted state park land.

  9. #9

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    You may not take game by:

    "Shooting on, from, or across the driveable surface of any constructed road or highway."

    No 1/4 mile rule in most places. F

    Is listed first under general hunting rules in the regs. Page 15 i think.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    the 1/4 mile rule can be there in state parks sometimes on federal land, sometimes municpal cods call for it (like here in juneau)
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    powder...your not goin to hit any anyways so it does not really matter if you get first shot at the birds

    "I Envy Him And Him Only, That Catches More Fish Than I Do" Izaac Walton 1653
    The question of hunting is not a matter of life or death... it's more important than that

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    Member AKRDGRUNNER's Avatar
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    Default shooting

    you only have to step off the driveable surface.....the only minimum distance requirement that I can remember is the haul road....could be wrong though. Of course dont shoot on or across the road as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangeak View Post
    You may not take game by:

    "Shooting on, from, or across the driveable surface of any constructed road or highway."

    No 1/4 mile rule in most places. F

    Is listed first under general hunting rules in the regs. Page 15 i think.
    I called the AKFG department twice to verify ...got different people each time. Both stated 1/4 mile away from the nearest constructed road, period. I know that nobody follows this rule strictly, but that's what it is anyway. And it doesn't appear that anybody enforces this rule either, with the main concern being that you don't shoot from or across a constructed road. So, unless two people at the AKFG here in Fairbanks both only told a part of the truth instead of the whole truth, I believe the rule applies everywhere in the state...

    Maybe some of you other folks can call them up and find out what the rule is too, so we can find out if there's more to the story. In both cases when I called, the person on the phone had to 'go find out' the answer ...which sorta implies that they might not have been familiar with all aspects of the rule. And don't ask me why they don't print this in the standard complete set of hunting regulations (big game and small). Seems like if someone could bust you for something, and ignorance is no excuse, that they'd make sure to put the necessary information in the regulations. A while ago, which prompted my phone calls, I read the regulations from cover to cover and 2 things were missing: legal shooting hours and the required distance from the road before you can shoot legally. BTW, 'legal shooting hours' has no meaning in Alaska except for federally regulated water fowl. You're responsible for not shooting game that's illegal to shoot, so the bottom line is that you can shoot from "can see to can't see".

    Brian

  14. #14

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    5 AAC 92.080. Unlawful methods of taking game; exceptions
    The following methods of taking game are prohibited:
    (1) by shooting from, on, or across a highway;

    5 AAC 92.990. Definitions
    (22) "highway" means the driveable surface of a constructed road;

    No distance is required according to the AAC.

    The 1/4 mile determination is based on the land manager adjacent to the road. In Denali State Park, for example, the general rule is 1/4 mile from the road, and 1/2 mile from facilities. Some specific trails, like the Byers Lake Loop Trail, also have 1/2 mile rules. In Chugach State Park, developed facilities and the New Seward Highway, from MP 90 to 115, has 1/2 mile rule. In Hatcher Pass East Management Area, it is within 1/4 mile of a developed facility or road. The exception to this is within special management areas, where regulations are applied to a specific geaographic location, such as the Dalton Highway Corridor management Area or the Minto Flats Management area.

    So it all depends on where you hunt for distance from the road. In some cases, as long as you are not on the driveable surface of a constructed road, and not shooting across it, you are fine. So check with the Agency for the land you wish to hunt, whether it is Park, Forest, Refuge, Etc. Also, if you think you are in an area that you think is open to hunt, and they tell you it isn't, ask them to show you the Code or Statute. It will help you understand what excatly is prohibited or allowed on certain lands.

    fyi: 11 AAC 20.990. Definitions (4) "developed facility" includes a building, a boat ramp, campground, picnic area, rest area, visitor information center, swim beach, trailhead, parking area, and a developed ski area;

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    Thanks ...but does this mean that I have to stop "ski lift hunting" up at Alyeska? Just kidding...

    Brian

  16. #16

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    Seems like if you are hunting for a ski lift, that would be the appropriate place to go Think they can be categorized deleterious and exotic wildlife? I know some of the people that you find there could be.

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    Default Jim Creek shooting

    Jim Creek is a bad area to go shooting or hunting. It is illegal to shoot on or across a road or trail. Jim Creek is one big trail, road. There isn't anywhere out there that you could safely discharge a firearm. I have seen people shooting at berms out there. Directly behind that berm people are camping or driving four wheelers. Or what about the people that shoot across the open area. Their bullets cross the river and strike the side of people's houses. Please don't shoot in the Jim Creek Public Use Area.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHunt View Post
    If you are hunting the dirt roads for grouse keep in mind it is illegal to shoot them on the roadway. I believe you must be 25 yards off the road. The ATV trails around Jim Creek in Palmer is good place to check out.

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