Ptarmigan hunting

Ptarmigan Hunting is an Option on Your Drop Hunt

If you can fit it within weight limits, you might consider bringing a small rimfire rifle (or a shotgun if you’re that serious about it) for ptarmigan hunting. Bowhunters should consider throwing in a blunt or two.

Ptarmigan hunting methods vary, as does the weapon of choice.

Most popular is the shotgun.

Bring either a 20- or 12-gauge and 4- to 6-shot loads. Both work fine, but you’ll find yourself having to get somewhat close to get a decent shot. This can be a tough challenge in the deep snow (which will most likely not be an issue during your hunt) along willow thickets, but it makes for adventure against such a fast bird. The problem with this option on a drop hunt is the weight.

The .22 is also a popular choice.

A .22 topped with a good scope that has been sighted in to shoot tacks is a lot of fun and makes for easy quick shots. Proper shot placement wastes very little meat.

Another option is to use archery equipment.

Arrows tipped with blunts work great and provide a lot of excitement and stealth. You’ll probably lose some arrows and miss more times than you hit, but it’s all great fun.

Bag Limits and Hunting Season

Some units close after specific dates, while others are open all year. Bag limits are pretty liberal but most have a possession limit. Be sure to check regulations at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s website (