I pulled the quills I could remove by hand and we proceeded onward and up. This is the ptarmigan that Dall sheep hunters flush off high mountain peaks while … Although it is also classified as a game bird, no hunting for the species is currently permitted. These birds choose wetter places and more luxuriant vegetation for breeding than the other two species of ptarmigan. Friends and I once bagged all three, the ptarmigan grand slam, in a small alpine valley above Anchorage by hunting from the valley floor all the way up to the craggy ridgeline. In Utah, they only live in the Uinta Mountain above 10,000 feet. Thanks for the message and the vote of confidence. Ptarmigan tend to eat a vegetarian diet of seeds, buds and leaves. I can say that USAA has been incredible about this. Beautiful birds. It’s good to be alive and following bird dogs. Cinder was quartering nicely in front of me and Gretchen at 11.5 yrs old was gone…she was taking a nice cast off yonder. Damn! They nest above timberline in the alpine tundra of western mountains, and are the only birds in North America that spend their entire … I decided to try and harvest another ptarmigan with the left undamaged barrel. They have been transplanted successfully to other states like CA, OR, and Utah in areas with similar habitat. The white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), also known as the snow quail, is the smallest bird in the grouse family. They are also native to Alaska and Canada above the tree-line. White-tailed Ptarmigan. And it’s the smallest grouse in North America, closer in size to a partridge than it is to its other grouse cousins. Cinder made a beautiful retriever to hand. Recently, a Colorado study of the Southern White-tailed Ptarmigan was used by the USFWS to decide that the iconic bird does not need special protections under the federal Endangered Species Act. Thanks for sharing. Thanks very much for the note. He does fine work. Email Us. I described to Bret what had happened and he asked if I was ok to hike back down to the truck. First off, Colorado’s white-tailed ptarmigan live in some pretty unforgiving locales and if you are tired after a day hunting pheasants on the plains, you will be exhausted after a few hours hunting these birds. Rainier subspecies (L. l. rainierensis) of the Washington Cascades is one of two subspecies in the coterminous U.S. that is currently under review by U.S. Change ). I love this time of year as the air gets that hint of winter and the leaves start to change yet cling on to their desire of summer to never end. WHO IS THE BEST WRITER ON GROUSE HUNTING? White-tailed ptarmigan are native to Colorado’s subalpine tundra that exists above the tree-line…11,500 ft or so here in Colorado. Great post Birddogdoc! Willow Ptarmigan Rock Ptarmigan White-Tailed Ptarmigan Ptarmigan Slam 6 days / 6 nights. In the breeding season they live in rugged country full of boulder fields, snowfields, glaciers, cliffs, and rockslides at higher altitudes than any other grouse or ptarmigan. In the Lower 48 we aren't that fortunate. White-tailed ptarmigan are native to Colorado’s subalpine tundra that exists above the tree-line…11,500 ft or so here in Colorado. Lives most of its life above timberline. Ha! However, there are still opportunities in the lower 48, as well. White-tailed Ptarmigan can be differentiated from all other grouse (including other ptarmigan) by their small body size and distinctive white tail feathers. Heaven On Earth: Stories of Fly Fishing, Fun & Faith (Kindle Edition), Heaven On Earth: Stories of Fly Fishing, Fun & Faith [NOOK Book]. My dogs have had some great points and my FB English cocker Ellie flushed 5 blues across a logging road and I never got a good shot opportunity. Karen and I returned from State College PA last Saturday and my dogs were so restless that I decided I’d get up early and head to the high country for white-tailed ptarmigan. Tall bushes are an important feature for willow ptarmigan. Although its diet will become more variable in the warmer months with the addition of insects, knotweed forb flowers and leaves, the willow remains a dietary staple year round. In Montana, the white-tailed ptarmigan is found only in a few mountain ranges in the state’s northwestern region. Like the other ptarmigan species, the willow ptarmigan nests in sparsely timbered or treeless areas. Around here that is where youll find all three forest grouse (Ruffed/Spruce/Blue), depending on the habitat in that local. Great Blog! One of the few creatures that live on alpine mountaintops almost their whole life, the white-tailed ptarmigan is the smallest bird in the grouse family. I started to laugh. Gretchen was about 150 yards to the north ahead of me…moving at 12,500 feet is like traversing on the moon. by Ryan Lisson. They remind me a lot of spruce grouse on the wing…not terribly sporting. I have the gun scheduled to go to a renowned gunsmith from AZ and CO who specializes in classic American double guns. Ten feet into the field and I was face down in the rocks…having slipped or tripped and who-knows-what-face-first landing on my beloved Ithaca. Cinder quartered off into some willows and encountered her first porcupine…it surprised me that they too are found about the tree-line. We have been skunked as many times as not. They live above timberline almost all year in the young mountain ranges of southcentral and southeastern Alaska, and many whitetails stay on the high slopes even in winter. Small Game Species — White-tailed Ptarmigan, Board of Fisheries and Game: Actions & Activities, Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program, Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS), About the Division of Commercial Fisheries, Western Alaska Salmon Stock Identification Program (WASSIP), Online General Season & Registration Permits, Subsistence and Personal Use Fishing Permits, CSIS – Community Subsistence Information System, The Technical Papers and Special Publications Series. White-tailed ptarmigan are true birds of the mountains. This game bird is also known as the snow quail in some parts of Northern America and Europe. Thanks for your great blog! I gained my composure and grabbed the bird and headed back out of the boulder field. It seems like many bird hunting blogs have gone dormant. Who cares? I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it! Hope you and your gun recovered from your fall! Fish and Wildlife … Those birds are hard to find. The White-tailed Ptarmigan subsists mainly on willow buds during the winter months. don’t you have insurance on that gun anyways? Rainier white-tailed ptarmigan are small birds that live in high elevation, alpine environments, where wind and cold temperatures prevent the growth of trees. My right knee was throbbing and my pants were blood-soaked, my right 5th finger was swollen and so was my left forearm. Thank heavens there were no tree huggers parked in the immediate area. I’ve found most of the ptarmigan at about 12,500 feet in elevation where there are boulder fields and subalpine stunted firs. USAA will cover the entire cost. Yes sir! ( Log Out /  Yep…they literally want that Rocky Mountain High! ( Log Out /  Hunting Opportunities for the White-Tailed Ptarmigan As you read above, about three quarters of the white-tailed ptarmigan population occurs in Canada, and much of the U.S. population lies in Alaska. White-tailed Ptarmigan eggs are light cinnamon, showing dark spots toward the time of hatching. I haven’t hunted ptarmigan for about 10 years for various reasons. So if you want to hunt them, ... White-tailed ptarmigan are the only bird that lives permanently in our alpine regions. Yes sir…I had the foresight to get USAA to insure all my guns against theft and damage…even idiot cross a boulder field at 12,500 feet damage! Andy cut me off and proclaimed hey! The shaded portion of the map indicates areas White-Tailed Ptarmigan are found in Alaska. We were at ~1600-1700m of elevation. They have been transplanted successfully to other states like CA, OR, and Utah in areas with similar habitat. Horseback adventure in the wilderness. The white-tailed ptarmigan is considered as the smallest game bird in the grouse family. The air up there lacks a few O’s. Love your writing:). Adult white-tailed ptarmigans are 30 to 31cm long with an average weight of 330 - 480g. I quickened my already slowed pace hoping to get to where Gretchen was before the birds decided to blow out of there. I painfully worked my way to the truck passing a few tree-hugging, nimrod hating hikers on the descend. Lagopus leucura . Dusky Grouse often appear at or above treeline in the mountains of western North America, but lack the white tail. The southern and Mt. February 5, 2019; 5 mins Read; 0 Shares “To expose the uplands to the world, to capture defining moments, to push our passion and culture forward, to bring our community closer, to … … We started our ascend above the tree-line. Unforgiving Locales . I missed the next two or three birds and finally connected with a third bird to complete a Colorado limit. Southern White-Tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura altipetens)Description. Please do not substitute this template. White-tailed Ptarmigan, the smallest grouse in North America, inhabits alpine habitats from timberline to the high alpine in the mountain cordilleras of the West. I almost came south for a 2nd attempt at ptarm, but with a 7-month old setter, I am going to give her another year to grow up. The White-Tailed Ptarmigan is a difficult bird to spot and hunt. It’s hard to find them and Colorado is full of active people hiking above the tree-line that truly frown upon shooting sports and nimrods in general. The rock ptarmigan’s distribution is similar to that of the willow, though the willow ptarmigan is typically found in the moister, more densely vegetated portions of their collective range. I spotted Gretchen about the time 3 small white birds burst from the boulder field. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. They nest above timberline in the alpine tundra of western mountains, and are the only birds in North America that spend their entire … Sorry about your gun, that country is beautiful and unforgiving. I made a nice right to left crossing shot with my 1927 Ithaca grade 1 NID .410 and the bird folded in the boulder field. White-tailed, the smallest and apparently rarest of the ptarmigan, tend to be found higher than the others, in craggy bolder fields and often near snowfields or glaciers. My knee is back to normal and my Ithaca .410 is with a good gunsmith in AZ. 2 3 ... recreation (including hunting), mining, and development, and protection from environmental perturbations that contribute to global climate change, pollution, and depletion of the ozone layer. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. $3,650 per person . Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Gretchen had moved on and was 50 yards below me. Duh, I hadn’t thought about that because of the birds. How hard can hunting ptarmigan really be?” Pretty hard, actually. We’ve made it to another bird season. Ptarmigan Hunting. Thank Heavens! Bummer! Suddenly another white bird rocketed up right between my feet headed for the boulder field. While the other ptarmigan are strictly northern, this one follows the cordillera of the high Rockies as far south as New Mexico. Gretchen was putting up birds 30 yards below me so I worked slowly down towards her. Locating ptarmigans in the Uinta Mountains. Thus…they have a very dark but delicious breast meat. I noted the right barrel was severely damaged but the left barrel was ok. Since there is usually a lot of snow the only option most of the times is to use snowshoes or skis. It is a permanent resident of high altitudes on or above the tree line and is native to Alaska and the mountainous parts of Canada and the western United States.It has also been introduced into the Sierra Nevada in California, the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon and … The ptarmigan also swallows “grit” (sand, dust or dirt) to help grind food in its gizzard. The elk bugle across the hills. Within 6-12 hours of hatching, the female leads her clutch of 4-8 chicks to food sources where they are able to feed themselves. I was climbing and thinking about my patients and their surgical procedures scheduled for the following day when my Garmin Alpha vibrated indicating Gretchen was on point ahead of me. Terry called me today and I was very ecstatic to hear him say he can help my gun out! Anther bird presented a straight away and I pulled the single Miller trigger twice to get the left barrel to fire and the bird hit the ground. For Ptarmigan hunting from Oct 16-February 15th on snowmachines, the rate is $850.00 per person per day for hunting days and $350.00 for travel days. We arrived at our destination before the sun had crossed the great divide…it’d been in the 90’s in Denver the past few days but was actually < 40 degrees Sunday morning making it perfect for ascending 2000 feet up with the dogs and shotgun. 1 Description 2 Habitats 3 Attractants 4 Retrieving 5 Missions 6 Permitted … It is the smallest of the ptarmigans, and the only one that nests south of Canada. A second release of 35 mixed young and adults was accomplished in September of the … Our blue grouse hunts are conducted in the wilderness surrounding Marble, Colorado on horseback. They’re famous for being virtually invisible when they stand still against the windswept rocks, low shrubs, and snowbanks of their high-mountain habitat. 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