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Thread: Ptarmigan Hunting?

  1. #1
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    Default Ptarmigan Hunting?

    I am new to hunting in Alaska and am wondering where are a few places to try for ptarmigan within and hour or two from Anchorage? Any tips, tricks, and/or directions to areas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2

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    J,
    Ptarms are usually hunted way beyond the city boarders of anchorage. If two hours being your max driving time allotted, i would say that mystery creek (Down before Sterling, after the Russian River area) would be just about a 1.4 hour drive... or maybe sutton (Jonesville Mine Road) if you drive fast enough :P the farther you go the better your chances for a successful ptarmigan hunt...

  3. #3

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    oh yeah, and for tips/tricks/etc- i would recommend reading up on grouse/ptarmigan habitats and food sources. I know gravel, berries, hips, and spruce trees are all good signs... I usually drive down mystery road until i spook one, park the truck, and begin the stalk... There's no other way to do it there from what i observe. In Sutton, I use Binoculars to try and glass the area to try my luck spotting one and still-hunt my way over there. Or walk along the gravel road until I glass/see one, or spook one from getting too close...
    From my experience, they're real skittish, probably from getting hunted excessively..
    but hey, just my .02

  4. #4
    Member sameyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhoos View Post
    I am new to hunting in Alaska and am wondering where are a few places to try for ptarmigan within and hour or two from Anchorage? Any tips, tricks, and/or directions to areas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
    Jhoos,

    The areas Gary808 refers to are primarily spruce grouse country. Later in the winter when the snow gets real deep some ptarmigan will come down into the Mystery Creek Road area but very tough to find and the road is closed by then anyway.

    Ptarmigan are an alpine/subalpine bird. Early in the year they are high up among the sheep feeding on berries. As the snow comes they move into mountain valleys and congregate in willow patches, which is a primary food source for them. The last ones I took, a couple of weeks ago, had crops full of willow buds and a few blueberries and they were at 3,000 feet. You can find ptarmigan in about any mountainous region in south central. Get up above treeline and start looking for tracks in the snow around shrub willow patches. Big gently sloping valleys with a crick running through willows at the bottom are good places to start. As the snow gets deeper they will come down further and sometimes can be found in willows well below treeline. Lots of leg work involved to find ptarmigan but always great country to be in while doing it.

    ps Search recent posts on this forum, there is a wealth of ptarmigan information that has been posted in the past month or so.
    Last edited by sameyer; 11-05-2010 at 07:52. Reason: add a message

  5. #5
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=sameyer;829356]Jhoos,

    Ptarmigan are an alpine/subalpine bird. Early in the year they are high up among the sheep feeding on berries. As the snow comes they move into mountain valleys and congregate in willow patches, which is a primary food source for them. The last ones I took, a couple of weeks ago, had crops full of willow buds and a few blueberries and they were at 3,000 feet. You can find ptarmigan in about any mountainous region in south central. Get up above treeline and start looking for tracks in the snow around shrub willow patches. Big gently sloping valleys with a crick running through willows at the bottom are good places to start. As the snow gets deeper they will come down further and sometimes can be found in willows well below treeline. Lots of leg work involved to find ptarmigan but always great country to be in while doing it.

    Very well put by sameyer! Any trail that gets you above treeline where you can find some willows could put you in some birds. They are very tricky to hunt without dogs and extremely hard to find once you shoot them. If you find a spot keep the location a secret!! Several of my normal go-to spots seem to be over run with people this year. Strap on the snow-shoes and have a good time.

  6. #6
    Member AKPyron's Avatar
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    ADF&G actually puts out a book about Grouse and Ptarmigan that is incredibly informative and can teach you A LOT about the birds, their food, habitat and habits. And the best part is ITS FREE. (Not being sarcastic)
    If you live your whole life afraid to die... Then you can never truly live!

  7. #7
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    In addition to willow ptarmigan dining on willow buds, one might also consider the rock ptarmigan and the white-tailed ptarmigan. Rocks eat the buds of dwarf birch, and whitetails will eat willow, dwarf birch, and alder buds. Each of them will eat any exposed freeze-dried blueberries available to them.

    Welcome to Alaska, jhoos! Let the adventure begin!

    Jim

  8. #8

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    matter of fact, would the turnagain pass be a good spot near anchorage?? I always drive by it when i hunt down south, and was always curious about its valleys and mountain and such...

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