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Thread: Ruffed Grouse and Ptarmigan Habits

  1. #1
    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Question Ruffed Grouse and Ptarmigan Habits

    Ok, I am sold on ruffed grouse being the best eating of all the grouse species up here. Now my question is what kind of habitat do I need to look for to get into more of them. Also, this time of year should I expect to find them flying solo or in small to large flocks. It seems I have rarely seen ruffed grouse hanging out together, just wondering what others have found on this. I am used to finding them in aspen and birch forests down in the matanuska valley region... is it the same here in the interior? Anything in particular I should look for?

    Next question pertains to ptarmigan... I have a great ridgeline that I can consistently harvest ptarmigan from during calm/clear winter days... yesterday was snowing and windy as could be. I looked everywhere for the ptarmigan, mostly on the leeward sides of rock outcroppings and hills, but not down in the deep and forested valleys between the ridges... my question simply put is WHERE do they go when a storm blows in... I figured they would just hunker down on the leeward slopes near bushes and such... Any ideas?

    Thanks

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    You live in FBX where ruffies occur naturally however down here in southcentral we have a little different situation. The ruffies were tranlocated here into certain areas and have been slowly expanding. This is why there is so little help when someone asks where to find them on the forum here, none of us want to slow that expansion by adding too many hunters! I found them by putting boots on the ground and covering alot of country! Here is a link to the some info on the ADF&G website which is a good spot to start reasearching ruffies up state wide.
    http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...fg=game.upland

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    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Wink Thanks Lujon

    Thanks for the tip there, I have already read a bunch with the ADFG info and was hoping someone might pipe up with general habitat hints, or at least confirm for me that the naturally occuring ruffies we have here in FBX are fond of the same stuff as down there. They seem to behave a bit differently around here than what I was used to down there... not sure what the deal is... anyhow, feel free to pm me if you have any generic advice you would care to share... I actually prefer not to get any specific locations... knowing what to look for is more valuable...

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I mostly find ptarmies hunkered down in dwarf spruce/willows at valley bottoms just above tree line on good days they pop up to the ridges and white tails hang out up high
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    You live in FBX where ruffies occur naturally http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index...fg=game.upland

    LUjon you sure on that? i have always been told and thought that the ruff grouse was introduced to AK... and that it has finally taken hold in the interior...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    never mind... too many political threads... seen the link you had attached... hmmm has to be true F&G says so.... got schooled AGAIN...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    LUjon you sure on that? i have always been told and thought that the ruff grouse was introduced to AK... and that it has finally taken hold in the interior...
    From all I have been able to find they are only introduced in the Mat-Su and Kenai areas. Those birds were actually transplanted from the interior. I know they like aspen and poplar forrests. Here is a map of their natural range as best I can tell.


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    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    I know "outside" they do alot of clearcutting of aspen for the Ruffies...they like the new buds. Not sure if they do any of that up here, but that could help ya if you find some new growth.

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    Member Limetrude's Avatar
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    Default Useful information

    Thanks all, I have some decent ideas now and appreciate the help....

    -Limetrude

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I've found more ruffies between Sutton and Eureka than anywhere else down here in SC. The biggest flock I have come across was 5, most of the time they are singles.

    Eureka has quite a population of Ptarmigan and I have heard stories of huge flocks off the Paxon side of the Denali hwy. Someday I am going to take a snowmachine trip up there and nab some birds.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    I've found more ruffies between Sutton and Eureka than anywhere else down here in SC. The biggest flock I have come across was 5, most of the time they are singles.

    Eureka has quite a population of Ptarmigan and I have heard stories of huge flocks off the Paxon side of the Denali hwy. Someday I am going to take a snowmachine trip up there and nab some birds.
    We need to hit up Alaska_Lanche for a weekend at the Cantwell cabin next spring. We wen't a couple days after season ended and flushed hundreds just running around with the sleds. It would have been a blast with my little single shot breakdown 20 guage!

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Let me know man! I'm ready. Luke and I go waaaaay back .
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    So all the posts were great but this snow kills me, went out today where I have taken several birds but not with this much snow on the ground. Tried everything, high ground , low ground and in between. Spruce trees and clear cuts. Generally where do the birds more likely hang out when the snow is on the ground? They obviously are not near the roads feeding on gravel so are they hanging out under the spruce or hanging in the trees??

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    have seen them up in spruce trees as well as underneath. mostly up in the trees given predator availability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    never mind... too many political threads... seen the link you had attached... hmmm has to be true F&G says so.... got schooled AGAIN...
    I watched that "Grizzly Adams" type of guy that does wildlife shows on Sunday mornings a couple of weeks ago because they were talking about ruffed grouse in particular, those and Goshawks that is. They said that ruffed grouse and goshawks occur wherever aspen occur to a very close degree. The aspen seed pods are a staple food for them. The map that they showed indicated ruffies occurring clear up to and all over the Interior and much of other parts of Alaska... find the Aspen, find the ruffies. They didn't mention cranberries at all though...

    Brian

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I've seen ruffies in PWS
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    I watched that "Grizzly Adams" type of guy that does wildlife shows on Sunday mornings a couple of weeks ago because they were talking about ruffed grouse in particular, those and Goshawks that is. They said that ruffed grouse and goshawks occur wherever aspen occur to a very close degree. The aspen seed pods are a staple food for them. The map that they showed indicated ruffies occurring clear up to and all over the Interior and much of other parts of Alaska... find the Aspen, find the ruffies. They didn't mention cranberries at all though...

    Brian
    LOL seen that same show the other weekend... so i guess LUjon gets the extra credit...... ( Marty Stouffer, wild America)
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowtechshooter View Post
    So all the posts were great but this snow kills me, went out today where I have taken several birds but not with this much snow on the ground. Tried everything, high ground , low ground and in between. Spruce trees and clear cuts. Generally where do the birds more likely hang out when the snow is on the ground? They obviously are not near the roads feeding on gravel so are they hanging out under the spruce or hanging in the trees??

    In Wisconsin ruffed grouse will fly right into soft snow and "roost" inside their little igloo. They will hold tight under the snow until you very nearly step on them. The only other spot I've consistantly found them in snow is under/in spruce tangles.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

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    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNViking View Post
    In Wisconsin ruffed grouse will fly right into soft snow and "roost" inside their little igloo. They will hold tight under the snow until you very nearly step on them. The only other spot I've consistantly found them in snow is under/in spruce tangles.
    I have also jumped them out of the snow, years ago while trapping out of fairbanks. I'm guessing to stay warm on those cold nights.

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