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Thread: Is this the norm?

  1. #1

    Default Is this the norm?

    I climbed a southeast alaska mountinin with my pointer and as soon as I hit the alpine he locked on point? I spotted to willow ptarmigan walkint to us, not away from us. To keep this short, I had to literally kick the birds to cause a flush. I still had fun but i was hoping for more of a challenge on my first alaska bird hunt. Is alaska upland bird hunting always this way?

  2. #2
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Default A little chuckle!

    Im no expert by any stretch as I've only been here since Oct, but I am pretty sure that that is what you have to look forward to! The few Ptarmigan I have seen so far wouldnt budge and if they did they just flew into a branch at eye level to see what you were. I did get some grouse to fly up on the rex trail, but was still able to get close to them once they were in the tree. Thats good for me as a photographer, but for hunting it makes for some unevenful encounters!
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

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  3. #3
    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Default easy pickins???

    My time has only been a couple years in Alaska and the ptarmigan expereinces have varied. Some birds have been very spooky and others have not been so. I have had birds running like track stars and some flusing before I could get in gun range 75 yards or more. Some sit till I kick them up, not the biggest challenge to shoot, but it can be good for the dog, testing his or her staunchness as they sit or walk around in front of it. I think there are several variables (others with more experience please tell me if you disagree), the cover, the amount of people traffic in the area, and time of year are a few.
    my 2 cents worth

  4. #4

    Default

    It varies a lot with conditions, as well as past history and experience of the birds. I've had the same birds go from spooky 60 yard flushes to kickem close on the same day. The only dif was the wind came up in the afternoon when they quit flushing so wild. There may also be some difference in behavior depending on which direction you approach them from- uphill versus down, into our out of the sun, upwind or down, etc, but I haven't played with it enough to say one way or another.

    In areas of tall grass they will flush like pheasants right at your feet. Great fun.

    I never know what to expect when I go after them, so I really like a 20 gauge O/U with interchangeable chokes. I carry mostly 7/8 oz or 1 oz loads, but always have a few 3" 1 1/4 oz premium #6's rolling around in my pocket for the days they are flushing wild.

  5. #5

    Default

    If you diddnt think it was a challenge. Hunt them with a bow. Its plenty fun and you get a little bit more respect for the birds. They dont know you can warp speed something at them lol. But they are made to bea eaten.

  6. #6

    Default

    I usually hunt ptarmigan with my .22 pistol, it requires you to either spot them before you flush them, or what is usually the case is I will flush some, and then follow them to where they land. As far as how skitterish they are I have found it depends on what the local conditions are. In the winter, especially later in the winter I think they are more easily spooked, whereas in the summer and fall they are more docile.

  7. #7

    Default

    thanks 4 the input. Most of the fun is watching my dog work the country anyway!

  8. #8
    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Default Youve got mail

    elhewman, sent you a pm!
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

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  9. #9
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi elhewman
    Ptramagin tend to hold tight early in the season, in fact I've steped on the little buggers, and be in small groups. Late winter they are much more likley to flush and alot easier to spook they also will gather into groups that may number in the hunderds of birds, It sometimes looks like its snowing in reverse. I use either a bow or a .22 pistol in the fall/early winter and switch over to a 20ga. for late season.

  10. #10
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    Ptarmigan are pretty stupid a lot of the time. They usually wait till im within 5 feet of them untill they flush
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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