Chugach State Park Ptarmigan and Grouse Hunting Question
Hey everybody, I am new to small game hunting here in Alaska but I have done some duck and pheasant hunting with my old man back home in WA, but I have yet to take a bird here in AK. However, I have been here for 3 years and I know the Chugach State Park the back of my hand. I see A LOT of birds whenever I go hiking in the high country particularly around Indian Pass, South Fork Eagle River, Penguin Ridge Trail, and pretty much anywhere that you're not on the trail but above tree line.
I have looked at the regulations and it looks really nit-picky about where you can and can't hunt. Some area's are open but I am not sure about hunting in them because of proximity to trail and stuff like that. I was just wondering if anyone had hunted the Chugach for Ptarmigan and could offer advice about how to go about's it and which spots work well for hunting, considering access and area's to shoot.
I am going to get a cheap .410 since my 20 gauge seems slightly over-kill for these birds, considering I did accidentally kill one with a rock on time. Plus a .410 is easily packed far back into the backcountry!
Don't know about the regs for the area you mention, but I do know the 20 gauge is far from being too much gun for ptarmigan. A .410 is pushing 1/2 ounce of small shot out the bbl, and the 20 is pushing 7/8 oz of shot. Not that big of a difference on paper, but if you shoot flying it makes a big difference in the air. As the birds age a bit and get more experience you're likely to find yourself outgunned with the .410, but this is just my opinion based on many years of bird hunting. I've been using a little 28 gauge sxs lately and I know I'm pushing it if I even think of going out beyond 35 yds.
Good hunting to you!
This page spells out the specific areas in 14c and their limits:
This page shows the specific management areas in 14c and their boundaries:
This page is a free page for USGS topo maps so you can compare the maps above and examine the specific ridge lines and creeks that make up the boundaries of the management areas:
I have heard that within Chugach State Park you are not allowed to discharge a firearm within 1/4 mile of a road, but have not been able to confirm that with a law enforcement or State Park official who knew for sure, I play it safe and make sure I'm 1/4 mile from roads and trail heads. Any more questions feel free to private message me.
A little more info on the state park page. Under guns and other weapons, not hunting. They make it really tough to find all the rules.