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Thread: Where to go - grouse/ptarmigan

  1. #1

    Default Where to go - grouse/ptarmigan

    I have a hard running GSP - 18 months old - and want to get him into wild birds. The more the better. Always looking for training partners!

    Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
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    Default GSP

    Let us know where you live and I'm sure there's someone here who could help

  3. #3

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    Anchorage - but willing to drive!

  4. #4
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    go into the mountains (check the regs make sure they are open) where there are willow thickets and shrub evergreens (~1800'-2500') stay off slopes or valley bottoms adjacent to avalanche terrain (slope angle greater than 30&#176... Pertty much any mountains will due, lots are around anchorage... Use a topo to scout valleys right at treeline that may be suitable.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Nailed her on the head

    AK POWDER MONKEY nailed it perfectly. Follow his roadmap and you'll jump birds, especially with that good looking 4-legger you have. My favorite time to go out is the morning after a few inches of fresh white stuff. When you cross bird tracks, they're not far in front of you. Good Luck exploring. Grab yourself a topomap that has trails dotted on it for you. Hit those trails that take you up the mountain valleys and look for the willows. You'll find the ptarmigan. Good Luck.

  6. #6
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default Seriously vague

    Sorry I can’t help anymore GSP, but the answers seem a bit vague. I know no one wants to give out a secret spot but to say look in the mountains….
    At least a location area such as Hatchers, Sutton, or by Chickaloon, Kenai, etc… gives a little more direction to look.
    I will go into closed hunting areas without a gun just to get the dog on birds but unfortunately haven’t had much luck in the last couple yrs.
    I know C&B had a good outing recently so you must have found a hot spot because I haven’t seen 100 birds in the last two seaons combined. The other problem comes when the snow gets to deep you need snow shoes, it makes it hard for the 4 leggers to go that far.
    Good luck & I let you know if I come across any.

  7. #7
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    The top of Hiland road in Eagle River holds a lot of ptarmigan. I don't know the regs up there, it might be open.
    AKmud
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    The top of Hiland road in Eagle River holds a lot of ptarmigan. I don't know the regs up there, it might be open.
    You have to go over the top and hunt in the Ship Creek drainage. South Fork drainage (where the Hiland Rd. trailhead is) is closed to hunting.

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    Member rlcofmn's Avatar
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    The regs say eagle river drainage is open to small game by permit only and is by bow, shotgun and ML only. Im not sure what it takes to get the permit but it looks like it is possible to hunt there. It would not be worth the hike to get into ship creek for bird hunting to me.

  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlcofmn View Post
    The regs say eagle river drainage is open to small game by permit only and is by bow, shotgun and ML only. Im not sure what it takes to get the permit but it looks like it is possible to hunt there. It would not be worth the hike to get into ship creek for bird hunting to me.
    The regs you're referring to are for the main stem of Eagle River, otherwise known as the North Fork Eagle River. South Fork (Hiland Road) is not open to any hunting, permit or otherwise. As for the hike into Ship Creek, it takes about 20-25 minutes. That's not too much effort in my book for some close-to-home bird hunting.

  11. #11
    Member rlcofmn's Avatar
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    It says eagle river drainage upstream of glen hwy. the drainage also includes all streems or other water flowing into the eagle river. also if you look at the map in the reg book the line for the eagle river managment area includes the north fork. However i would check with adf&g before hunting there. The hike to the peak is 1000 feet vertical and 3/4 of a mile as the crow flys (i got my moose there this fall) its just not that easy of a hike and then you go down the other side how far? it would just have to be really good hunting for me to hike in for birds. But there are people that do it just for the hike so i can understand your point on it.

  12. #12
    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Default Similar boat...

    GSP, I am in a similar boat. I am still learning the habitat and habits of birds here. Some guys will tell you specific drainages while others will talk about habitat to look for. It is all useful if you put it together with some leg work. It takes time but hang in and good luck.
    I also can use training partners. The more the merrier...
    I know a few and have worked with the ABDA to get my fix. Give me a shout sometime via PM and we can talk more if you like.

  13. #13
    Member Waldo2382's Avatar
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    Default how about a guide?

    Being new to Alaska and having been in unfamiliar territory before, perhaps hire a guide. I know of at least one that I ran across on the internet in Kenai and I'm sure there are more around. This will at least give you an idea of where to go (I wouldn't keep going back to the guide's spot, but maybe put it in my spot book for future reference...at least two years) and what to look for. I admit to doing it plenty, first duck hunts to new areas and species, first pig hunt in Cali, first deer hunt...etc. and I will still use one when I have no one to go with and I'm trying a new area. Sure it may cost around $300 or so dollars per day, but what you will learn will be invaluable. Heck, I just did my first sea duck hunt this past November and now I feel confident that I can hunt them ducks, not in that guide's stomping grounds, but I have an idea where to look now and what I need. Good luck.

  14. #14

    Talking Thanks!

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up Reference to an older article of mine

    2 sum things up a bit –

    If you are ptarmigan hunting this time of year in Alaska (early winter season) here are a couple things to keep in mind.

    #1 you cannot be idle in your approaches to successful sightings. Doing well means that hunting methods are hiking plus sometimes climbing intensive, time or daylight consuming, and if not… you better have the toys (snowmachine/truck/trailer/skis/snowshoes) to get you there.

    #2 you will often find them visually (even hear them) at medium distances situated in dwarf brush and mixed terrain… or very importantly by open water or gravel sources. Windblown areas with exposed buds, berries, coarse dirt and a little water nearby… etc. is good finds if discovered with close by comforts (roosts, shelter, pockets, and so on).

    Ptarmigan hunting may best be assisted in early winter by using finer shooting and well-equipped rim fires in .22 and .17 (handgun or rifle)

    To the contrary… or if not much of a marksmen - stick with short, lightweight shotguns.

    Ptarmigan are plentiful in population near or just outside urban sprawls (cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks) as well as in the most rural parts of Alaska. You’ve just got to get out and do some serious trompin’ or snow machining. “Best Hunting” will turn up in these parts come late February and into spring closure of the season.

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    Default Any room left in the boat?

    Another GSP (11 months) So far he`s pointed sand pipers around Anchorage in the summer.
    Trying to find a place to just take him out is a headache.Went down the public land office downtown, they say theres nowhere legally I can take him to just fire a few rounds over him and pointed me to Falcon ridge.

    Not too bothered about serious hunting with him yet,we are both still learning this game.Just a place for him to smell few birds and somewhere to get him used to the gun would do.

    Nothing worth having is easy though I guess.
    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

  17. #17
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UK_in_AK View Post
    Another GSP (11 months) So far he`s pointed sand pipers around Anchorage in the summer.
    Trying to find a place to just take him out is a headache.Went down the public land office downtown, they say theres nowhere legally I can take him to just fire a few rounds over him and pointed me to Falcon ridge.

    Not too bothered about serious hunting with him yet,we are both still learning this game.Just a place for him to smell few birds and somewhere to get him used to the gun would do.

    Nothing worth having is easy though I guess.
    If I am not mistaken you could take em up and let him point the birds then use a blank pistol to get him used to it pretty much anywhere. Not quite the same as realy hunting but could be a start.

  18. #18
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    There used to be alot of grouse behind service high on the trails between the school and hilltop ski area. Ya cant hunt, but its a good place to see some birds usually. Also, the cambell tract facility on abbot rd is another good little trail system to see birds.

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