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Thread: elevation

  1. #1
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    Default elevation

    what elevation should i hunt at? 1000 2000? ptarmigan?

  2. #2
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Elevation doesn't matter, they're underground in caves

  3. #3
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default ptarmigan

    Hey Hey Hey, be nice. He just wanted to know what elevation. wish I knew. Oh well, hope someone helps him out.

  4. #4

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    grouse, after a couple trips to the moutain I'm sure you'll figure out that this isn't a science nor can you apply a formula to where they'll be at. Like Jim said earlier...these birds have a mind of their own. Here one min gone the next. The best advice is to take what you have learned on here and pack up the truck and head outdoors because you won't put any birds down behind the keyboard . By reading your report earlier sounds like you were in the right area...now you just have to figure out when they'll be there (the fun part). Change up the times...try sunrise..afternoon...evening...find someone with a dog...and you'll put some birds down.

    Good luck

  5. #5
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    Grouse,

    That's a good question, but quite difficult to answer in that ptarmigan are at different elevations throughout the state. But in your area it could range from 1000 or so feet on up to 5,000 feet. Willow ptarmigan are usually found lower than rock and white-tailed ptarmigan, the whitetails spending a good portion of their year up where the Dall sheep are typically found, the rocks in the middle. Here in my neck-of-the-woods, the interior, you'll generally find willows and rocks between 1000 and 3000 feet, but you'll also see them right down around town at some 434 feet above sea level. Not to be flip, but ptarmigan are exactly where you find them. The best shot is to get up above tree line and start hunting. They eat heavily at sunrise and sunset, but also a bit during the day, otherwise they are laying very low and concealed.

    Let's pick a spot most folks know and can visualize, the area around Cantwell on the Parks Highway. Ptarmigan will be found right along the highway eating willow buds that grow profusely along roads and right-of-ways. But those ptarmigan will also be found up in those high willow lined gorges, slopes and ditches at several thousand feet. And just to keep you on your toes, after you spy a group of three toed tracks around a copse of willow brush and you break your butt getting to that spot, eyes focused hard on said spot, heart pounding, a pile of winter white birds will explode from the snow on your left or your right, or on both your left and your right and your behind! Sometimes they are hunkered down right out in the open, albeit down into the snow.

    When you finally take your first ptarmigan take note of how much the bird bleeds in your gamevest, and how dark the meat is that you have prepared for consumption. And then ask yourself why this is so? Could it have something to do with lots of flying and the need for blood in those muscles? Yep, ptarmigan are fliers, that's for sure. Up the mountain and down the mountain and all around the mountain. Don't like it on one hillside, just pick up and move on over to the other. Not a bad life, seein' lots of country, sleeping somewhere different each night...but those birds are constantly being hunted by fleet footed and silent winged predators hell bent on making them a meal...24/7/365!

    Talk to you later.

    Jim

  6. #6
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    you could write a book on this subject. In fact the last poster did! I have had luck geting into them in the aformentioned willow lined gorges. In the fall I saw thousands on Kodiak all along the base of the goat cliffs in the high alpine bowls, of course my 325wsm was a little much for them so I just enjoyed the show.

  7. #7
    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    I'm pretty new to ptarmigan hunting and don't have a lot of input but my limited experience (of 2 hunts) supports the claim that they are completely unpredictable. My first hunt I shot a whitetailed ptarmigan at around 1000' in the willows in the bottom of a valley, two weeks later I shot a willow ptarmigan at around 1600' in the same valley but up higher on the mountainside. This was in complete contradiction of what I would expect based on their documented behavior, but it keeps it interesting.

    Dogs help, and they're great company to boot.

  8. #8
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    thank you guys for your really kind advice

  9. #9
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Hey Hey Hey, be nice. He just wanted to know what elevation. wish I knew. Oh well, hope someone helps him out.
    Just a little sarcasm Roland. I had actually emailed grouse about the area at HP where he got into a lot of tracks. It's a little exacerbating to see tracks everywhere and not see a bird for hours, so I was mostly kidding when I mentioned my cave theory They've got to be somewhere.

    I figured getting a dog would help with ptarmigan hunting, so I went out and got one.

    I took him up on the trail and he didn't find one bird. In fact, after about 1/2 mile he fell asleep in the ski trailer next to the baby

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