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Thread: Recent Aleutian ptarmigan hunt

  1. #1
    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Default Recent Aleutian ptarmigan hunt

    Since we've been a little light on hunting reports lately, I figured I had better post these images from an afternoon of ptarmigan hunting last Sunday. I was hunting on snowshoes and using my Webley and Scott 12 bore with 26" barrels choked improved cylinder and modified. I started out using 1 1/8 of 7 1/2 shot, but switched to 1 1/8 of number 6 as the birds were flushing a little wild. The eagles had them worked up and good close range flushes were rare.

    Here are a few birds as I was working up to them:


    A nice male:


    And my bag for the day, 4 males and 3 females:


    These are rock ptarmigan and it appears that the population is strong this year. We don't seem to have the big cycles of abundance that are seen in the interior, rather we see year to year variation in abundance that seems to be tied to conditions during the spring hatch. Hunting around here is best after a heavy snow that concentrated the birds on the flats, in the willows and near creeks and bogs.

  2. #2
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    dang pretty cool, i know i see tons of birds on fall bear hunts on the south half of the pen.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  3. #3
    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    On a good day out here the ptarmigan hunting is very good and it's hard to beat roast ptarmigan and a good bottle of wine on a winter evening!

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    I have only shot a few ptarmigan, how do you tell male from female?

  5. #5

    Default Gender

    Male have red above their eye.
    Frank
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  6. #6
    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Yes, but in winter plumage as these rock ptarmigan are the most obvious distinction between males and females is the black mask running from bill to ear on males. The mask is easily seen on the male in the photo I posted and is easy to see on live birds in the field. In winter plumage there is no way to tell male and female willow ptarmigan apart as there is no black mask.

    Prior to the start of mating in the spring, ptarmigan form unisex flocks and you will see that if you are fortunate enough to take a double from one flock, they will both be the same sex. Later the flocks will break up and you will see males start to establish breeding territories on promontories, mounds or other high ground. Right now they are in mixed sex flocks. Probably more than anyone wanted to hear about ptarmigan...

  7. #7
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Chisana,

    If I lived closer, I'd invite myself over to dinner and bring the wine <grin>. Glad you're getting out and enjoying the winter activities. That Webley is a fine piece.
    Best,

  8. #8
    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    Thanks Mark. We're having a pretty decent winter here all in all. I like the Webley as well, but I sure do hit more birds with an over and under!

    As best as I can tell, our ptarmigan are darn near the same thing as British red grouse and over there the opening day of grouse season is a holiday of sorts: "the glorious 12th" (of August). Sort of like our August 10 I suppose! I hear that the winter flocks get pretty impressive up north, down here 20 or so birds is a good one.

  9. #9
    Member calndux's Avatar
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    Default If you get tired of that ol' SxS....

    I might be interested. Nice double gun....Nothing like a SxS. I have shot American doubles for years....Seems like lots of folks are coming back to them.

    nice brace of birds also....

    calndux

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