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Location: Austin Colorado
Joined: 10/26/2006
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Ptarmagin Hunting

Anybody out there go after these little birds? When I'm out there hunting them I normally only see bowhunters. Here is a pic from a few years ago hunting with my Girls above timberline.

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Location: Antelope, Ore
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Ptarmagin Hunting

I didn't know the had them in the lower 48. I hunted the years ago when I lived in Alaska. Lots of them up there especially on the tundra. But they are like chickens, I think to many would give a pointing dog fits. The damn things would just stand around and watch. The spruce grouse were different and a dog that can work a spruce grouse can work anything. But those grouse don't taste so good!

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Location: Austin Colorado
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 52
Ptarmagin Hunting

They still give the dogs fits. Mine are flushers only so they seem to enjoy the bird. I think Co is about the only state that has a huntable population. The season runs about 1.5 months and starts in early Sept. Darn things live at 13,000 feet + so it's good conditioning for elk, goat or sheep. There are not near as many here as in the north but I've bumped a few coveys that numbered in the 80- 90 birds. Dogs lost their minds and I ran out oxygen before I could gather my limit.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Ptarmagin Hunting

Ptarmigan in the lower 48 ... whoa ... that is interesting. Any leads on areas? I'd come down for a hike for a look at that. Are they natural / native, or imported from the North?

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Location: Colorado
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Ptarmagin Hunting

In Colorado I've only seen Ptarmigan above timberline. One common place to see them (without having to hike!) is along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. The population is sizeable in Colorado, as AustinCo stated, they have a hunting season for them.

Its my understanding they are native. I'm guessing if you have areas above timberline in Idaho, you may have some as well.

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Location: Idaho
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Ptarmagin Hunting

I'm saying this in fun - but not entirely in fun. My wife and I have discussed moving to CO - this settles it. Well, probably not, but maybe.

I don't know of any in Idaho. We have some incredible mountains - but not all that much above timberline - except for pure rock. This Colorado ptarmigan thing really intruiges me. My favorite upland bird is the chukar. Are there similarities? Chukar like open, rugged terrain below timberline. They (chukar) are NOT native. Their MO is to be in flocks of 10 to 50 or more, with the most common size, perhaps, of about 25 birds. They are a handsome bird - between size of a large quail and a small pheasant. They run (oh, do they run) uphill, and fly down. Often they bank back and forth combined with their anaerobic flight acceleration makes them quite a challenging target.

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Location: Austin Colorado
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Ptarmagin Hunting

Serious,
There are quite a few populations of native Ptarm here in Co. I would suggest not taking any guns into Rocky Mountian Nat. Park, they don't allow any hunting there. Thankfully there are quite a few birds elsewhere. I hunt all over Co along the continental divide for them. There are a bunch of passes (some of them 4x4 acsessible only) that cross over the divide. My normal hunting day starts with a bumpy ride up the pass. Park at the top of the pass (normally anywhere from 11,000-12,000 feet) and go up from there. Most of the Co birds I have found starting from Leadville all the way down to Durango. The Ptarm isn't all that difficult to draw a bead on. In fact they really are madding to hunt but still fun. The country will be open rocky tundra, they really realy on their plummage to keep them safe. They are well camoed. I've been hiking along (with out dog saddly) and stop in an open expanse of tundra seeing nothing. All of a sudden the rocks started moving around me...these were Ptarm that I just walked into and they didn't flush just held tight. Dogs help but normally when you bust a covey they will fly 20-50 yards off and land again. Low slow fliers so you have to be carefull with dogs. One of my hunting partners had to quit using his Brit Spaniel cause the brit was taking his limit before he could get a good shot.

Not to get you into trouble with the wife but we have chuckars here also. They reside primarily here on the western slope in canyon country. Steep and hot but there are birds in it. We have some populations of gambles quail, good pheasants, a few sharptails and turkeys.

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Location: Idaho
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Ptarmagin Hunting

... fascinating! Do other people hunt them? I take it from your post that they are not `white' when you are hunting them.

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Location: Idaho
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Ptarmagin Hunting

You people keep giving me reasons to move down there - and I'm ... `just about to do it'. My business (engineering consultant, and other stuff) - is highly moblie - in fact, already licensed in CO). My wife would move tomorrow. She sells makeup, and I like to climb, do outdoor stuff - we need to find a place where we can do both.

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Location: Austin Colorado
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Ptarmagin Hunting

Serious,
You are correct in saying they are not white. In fact they are normally in transition and their color is mottled brown with some white coming in. It really depends on the temps leading up to season. There are a few of us that hunt the bird. Every once in a while I find a pile of feathers at the top of the pass where someone else had bagged a few birds.

Are you into technical climbing or peak bagging? I live on the west slope near Delta and theres tons of climbing with in an hours drive. When there was a better population of Gunnison Sage grouse (different from Greater sage grouse and they are in the process of listing them as endangered) in the Gunnison area I got my high altitiude grand slam in one day. Woke up early, hiked to the top of a mountain shot my limit of Ptarm, went down to tree line shot my limit of "Dusky" grouse (the artist known formally as Blue grouse), dropped down into the sage and shot my limit of sage grouse. It's a day I'll never forget! Busy with the U-Haul yet?

Did I mention the fishing?

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Location: Idaho
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Ptarmagin Hunting
AustinCo wrote:
Did I mention the fishing?

No, you didn't ... you didn't mention the waterfowl either. (You haven't got to that part yet.) But the lure continues to grow by what you did mention Big smile .

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