We were sitting around the stove one day and the subject got to hunting Ptarmigan. We knew where a good location with plenty of birds were but it took some effort getting there
We loaded up the snowmobiles and packed a lunch and headed out. This was in April and still cold and a lot of snow still in Alaska. I went to Alaska with hunting predators in mind. I got a nice Alaska Lynx and a Snowshoe Rabbit on some of the hunts.
We parked in a vacant spot in Cantwell, AK, situated on the edge of Denali Nat. Park and at the beginning of Denali Highway (Rt. 8) from Cantwell to Paxson which is closed in winter.
We started east on the Denali road traveling about 50 miles before we left the highway crossing over huge snow drifts. Some as much as 30 ft. high. After leaving the highway we crossed over a lot of frozen lakes which offered smooth sailing.
The ptarmigan seemed to prefer the gullies which had a lot of brush growing in them. You would see huge flocks take to the air, squawking and alight in another area. You could stalk them on foot with having a good chance of getting some. They were hard to see with their white feathers matching the white of the snow. All you see is white bumps on top of the snow mounds.
We pulled up and stopped to eat lunch. I jumped off my snowmobile and sank in the snow up to my shoulders. Not knowing I was sitting on top of a snow drift. It took a while to maneuver myself out of that hole. I grabbed hold of the runners of the snowmobile to help pull myself out.
While there we saw a herd of caribou scaling the side of a tall hill/peak. Interesting.
After getting approx. 20 birds we decided to return home. We were getting cold enough. We still had to go the approximate 50 miles back to Cantwell on snowmobile. I was glad to see the vehicle.
Check back next month for another adventure….John