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Recent Aleutian ptarmigan hunt

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  • Recent Aleutian ptarmigan hunt

    In the ptarmigan invade Fairbanks post I eluded to using a suppressed .22LR pistol for ptarmigan hunting. Here are a couple of nice male rock ptarmigan I killed last month with a suppressed Browning Buckmark. In this pistol I use CCI 40 grain solid Minimags. Accuracy is good and there is little to no meat damage. I picked up a hen right after these two males with a solid head shot at 20 yards. I use a suppressed heavy barrel 10/22 with 2x Aimpoint (2 MOA dot) and that is a good arrangement for longer shots. CCI standard velocity is the preferred ammo for the rifle.

    I prefer to hunt ptarmigan with a shotgun because I enjoy the challenge of wingshooting, but the .22s are fun to take out from time to time. I've used a bolt action CZ452 American with Leupold 3x9 and felt more like I was assassinating ptarmigan than hunting them.

    The beagles are okay for bird hunting. They will occasionally flush a bird that I don't see and are good for chasing down the rare running, wounded bird. Usually I take the beagles just to get them a few hours of running. Often they are more trouble than they are worth on a ptarmigan hunt.

    I've been out for ptarmigan three times this year and am hoping to go again tomorrow!




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  • #2
    Thanks

    Thanks for the photos, I also enjoy hunting them with a shotgun and wing shooting, it would prolly help if I had a dog to flush the birds sometimes because sometimes they just don't want to flie and all they due is run. Thats when a .22 is the ticket the problem I have is I don't want to haul two long guns up the mountain with me, that's why I'm looking at getting a .22 pistol. We had a couple when i was growing up and they were a blast to plink with and I think they would be great to carry along on my ptarmi hunts. Thanks for the pics and story good luck tomorrow

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    • #3
      Originally posted by catchfish View Post
      I'm looking at getting a .22 pistol. We had a couple when i was growing up and they were a blast to plink with and I think they would be great to carry along on my ptarmi hunts.
      Check out the Browning Buckmark with a heavy barrel. Economically priced with a trigger and accuracy as good or better than the Ruger Mark II. If you go with a Mark II I prefer the Government Target Model and replaced the rear sight with a part made by Bowen Classic Arms.
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      • #4
        Nice Post! Ive never shot a rock ptarmigan. Never really knew what the difference was. Nice Hound too! I wouldnt bring my beagle ptarmigan hunting! Id never get a shot off.

        You ever run Hares with the beagles up there? How is the running?

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        • #5
          Thanks for the compliments guys. Rock ptarmigan are the only species we have west of Unimak, they are a little smaller than a willow. Check out the ADF&G booklet Grouse and Ptarmigan of Alaska. It's available at most ADF&G offices and is really good.

          I only take my beagle when the snow is deep because it slows him down and he has to stay closer. Otherwise I would not get a shot either. We have two beagles, but one has an injured back and has to stay home on these longer trips. I would love to get them on rabbits or hares sometime, but we don't have any out this way unfortunately. My folks live in West Virginia and we have property back there. Sometimes I think it would be worth taking the dogs back there sometime just to get them on some cottontails, coons, etc.
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          • #6
            Beautiful

            Nice pictures there, Chisana.
            I don't get much meat damage when I shoot them in the head and I hate worrying about bb's when I eat em, but I understand what you mean about assassination with a rifle.
            Would enjoy a suppressed license but can't bring myself to do the paperwork--shucks, my comp is being monitored since I typed that long "A-word." LOL
            Sweet avalanche.

            Ben

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            • #7
              The weather broke for a few hours this afternoon and I went out to try and find a few birds. Managed to get four with the suppressed 10/22. All head or neck shots except one. The CCI standard velocity ammo caused so little damage that you can eat right up to the hole as they say. Will get some new pics up soon. I think I'm done with the .22s this season and will move on to the 20 gauge Savage Milano and 28 gauge CZ Ringneck. Usually our best hunting is in late February and early March. By late March the males seem to be starting to establish breeding territories and I'd rather not mess with them if they have made it that far through the winter.
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              • #8
                I have a brother in West Virginia and I got my Wildlife Management degree at WVU. I don't get back there very often but sure enjoy calling turkeys in the spring.
                I hunt ptarmigan with my German Shorthair Pointers and an O/U old Berreta 20ga.

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                • #9
                  Good demand on the taxidermy market for rocks.
                  I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
                  I have less friends now!!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by martentrapper View Post
                    Good demand on the taxidermy market for rocks.
                    Thanks for the head's up on that. I actually had someone contact me about getting a few birds a while back, but seem to have misplaced their contact info. How do you prep the birds for taxidermy work?
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                    • #11
                      As I previously mentioned, I picked up four more birds on Saturday with the 10/22. Here's a poor quality pic. Tough to get good lighting this time of year.

                      There were about 50 birds behind my house on Saturday which is quite a few more than normal, but I am not seeing big numbers in my normal hunting spots.

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                      • #12
                        Willow Ptarmigan

                        Just wanted to correct Chisana's post on rocks being the only species out here. I have lived here for over 16 years and have shot many willow and rock ptarmigan over the years - check the audobon winter bird count for other sources of local birds.

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                        • #13
                          How come the suppressor? What brand suppressor do you use for both the buckmark and the ruger? Very good looking ruger, BTW. Is that an older action with an aftermarket barrel and stock?
                          The Alaska Life www.facebook.com/thealaskalife
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                          ~Spero Meliora~

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by akdoshin View Post
                            Just wanted to correct Chisana's post on rocks being the only species out here. I have lived here for over 16 years and have shot many willow and rock ptarmigan over the years - check the audobon winter bird count for other sources of local birds.
                            Then the willows were misidentified. Give Vernon Byrd at USFWS or local ADF&G a call. Vernon Byrd is one of the most knowledgeable people on Aleutian birds and literally wrote the book on the subject. He has told me that there are some very questionable reports of willow ptarmigan west of Unimak and that if they are accurate then the birds are simply strays rather than residents. I've probably killed a couple of hundred ptarmigan on Unalaska and have seen a few thousand and have never seen a willow.

                            I would really like to see evidence of the willows you've killed out here and suspect that some of the bird folks at ADF&G and USFWS would be interested also.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hunt_ak View Post
                              How come the suppressor? What brand suppressor do you use for both the buckmark and the ruger? Very good looking ruger, BTW. Is that an older action with an aftermarket barrel and stock?
                              I use suppressors on several of my firearms because I enjoy shooting with little noise. The 10/22 can is made by Mark White at Sound Technology the Buckmark was done by Doug Melton at SRT. The Ruger is a factory stainless 10/22T with the barrel shortened to 16".
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