The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Hunt

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 2, 2009, 09:39 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: October 21, 2008
Posts: 557
Any Alaskan ptarmigan hunters out there??

Hey all!
I'm headed to Alaska in a couple of weeks, and just found out our fishing trip is now going to be an upland bird hunt- ptarmigan particularly. I'm really interested in advice on what size/ type of shot to use (12 guage double) and what would be the best type of boot for an all day hunt in mid to late November in the south central region (not exactly firearm related but still relevant I think).

brmfan is offline  
Old November 2, 2009, 11:22 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: October 20, 2008
Location: Fort Yukon, Alaska
Posts: 735
I have shot my share of ptarmigan, but they are sort of a target of opportunity, ie, I rarely go out hunting for them. I have shot as many with AR-15 as with shotguns. As for shot size, I use 7 1/2 shot. Usually here above the arctic circle, just happen into groups of them while on the trapline or trail.
roklok is offline  
Old November 3, 2009, 12:40 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Location: Fairbanksan in exile to Aleutian Hell
Posts: 2,647
I usually use 12ga 1 1/8 oz #6 loads. If I'm going along a creek or gravel trail, I'll use a .22. You'll also get in plenty of spruce grouse too in south central.

Basically any dove load will work.
Herman Cain '12

Squished bugs on a windshield is proof the slow/heavy bullet theory works.
stevelyn is offline  
Old November 3, 2009, 01:29 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,822
The first two years I lived in Alaska, I lived in a little cabin about 3 miles north of Healy (Lignite). I worked for the railroad and got laid off in the winter, (thats why my wife made me move to Anchorage and get a real job with APD), anyway I had to hunt for a lot of my food. Ptarmigan was plentiful, you just crused along and they were easy to find. Normally shot at relitavely short ranges. I carried a Savage 22/410 over and under, the 22 for rabits and the 410 for Ptarmigans. I think, in my case, a 12 gage, even with skeet shot would be overkill. If thats the gun you choose, then I'd go with an open choke so you dont concentrate the pellets to ruin the birds.

OH, by the way, roasted Ptarmigan are tastie.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old November 3, 2009, 03:45 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: September 8, 2005
Location: South Texas
Posts: 805
Danner boots by far. There not cheap, but your feet will thank you at the end of the day. I always wanted to try a pair, but I never wanted to fork out the money for them. I found a pair on close out for about half price. There by far the best boots I have ever worn. I would defintely pay full price for them now if I can't find them on sale once these wear out.
trooper3385 is offline  
Old November 5, 2009, 12:08 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: March 14, 2007
Location: Palmer Ak
Posts: 319
Use a 22 for most of them but when I was teaching the kids to hunt we used a 2o ga with 7/8 oz of 7 1/2 shot wide open chokes. any idea where your headed its a big state and even in winter the temps vary widely as well as the terrain.
aaalaska is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 11:08 PM   #7
Join Date: October 24, 2009
Location: Sitka Ak. the outer coast of Baranoff island
Posts: 20
I have shot a few,I aways used a .22 rifle. they are easy to get close to.
blaackhand is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 03:48 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Location: Kodiak, Alaska
Posts: 2,118
Gun: If you must use a 12ga, 7.5 shot is plenty. Go to the range and test your patterns, find out how you're patterning at various ranges. Aim for the head.

I would recommend a .22lr.

Boots: I don't know where you're headed, but if deepish snow or rivers/streams are likely, a set of hip waders will serve you better than any boot. FWIW, I use Kamik rubber boots with a felt liner if the snow is less than 12"-18". Keeps my feet warm even when wet. I've hunted with guys who swear by Wolverine and Danner boots, but they are often ready to head back to the truck long before I am, usually because their feet are wet and cold.

Fishing: What are you fishing for?
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.
jgcoastie is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 10:37 AM   #9
John Peddie
Junior Member
Join Date: December 10, 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 10

I always used a .22 LR hard point, throat shot with a 4 X scope. Typical range might be 15-20 yards.

Cheap, light and spares the meat.

If you absolutely feel compelled to use a shotgun, a .410 is lots.

Calling it an upland hunt may be a bit of a misnomer. In more remote areas, they have so little fear of man that they refuse to fly. You have to groundswat them-no wing shots.

I have a picture from my daughter of a flock in their driveway, eating like city pigeons around bread bits.
John Peddie is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 10:43 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: March 6, 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 3,324
I lived in Chistochina in the seventies and hunted them with a Winchester 190 .22lr. We shot them in the head as they roosted. Took me awhile to get the hang of spotting them. The secret was looking for their black eyeballs. Good eating.
Proud NRA Benefactor Member
Microgunner is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 11:31 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: August 21, 2008
Location: Back in Wyoming
Posts: 1,125
Go with versatility all the way...

I'd take what everybody has said so far and sort of combine it - plus a dash O' salt.

Gun - 12 ga. is an excellent choice. Bring at least three choke tubes (full, mod, I.C. are what I carry) or maybe your double has fixed chokes? It should be fine.

Ammo - bring a few different things - 7 1/2 and 6 shot combined with the apropriate choke will do fine. I'd also bring along some Brenneke slugs for just in case.

I've seen Ptarmigan dumb enough to kill with a club and I've seen em' flush so early you'll need that full choke and 6 shot. I've also stumbled across hundreds at once with no shotgun in hand only to hike back to the same area later (with a shotgun) only to find the area devoid of birds...

Boots - They need to fit well just like anywhere else -
I'd bring some ankle fit hip waders, lightweight but sturdy hikers and some insulated boots.

You should give more detail on the specific hunt area, methods of transport (mechanized, hike, ski or snowshoe?) and actual dates for more specific responses. Also, I live in south central (Kenai Peninsula). PM me.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
wyobohunter is offline  
Old November 9, 2009, 06:09 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: March 29, 2009
Location: wasilla alaska
Posts: 196
just save your beer bottles.... i killed on with a 2x6 this weekend... they are SSOOOOOOOO easy to kill
alaskaman94 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10804 seconds with 9 queries