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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been a very good winter so far. Snow conditions are excellent, birds are cooperating, and Ava and I are trying our best to keep the voices quiet.

We took a buddy and his griffs out to teach them the ptarmigan game and to give my new ski set up a try. Definitely a big improvement over snow shoes. My buddy's griffs managed to honor Ava's points a few times, and did some nice recovery work on a couple cripples that flew far before dropping. But Ava easily showed them why she is the Queen of the Mountain by finding every contact first for the day (and gave the griffs the serious stink eye on the tail gate for trying to share in her birds).

Gotta love hunting for white birds that bury themselves in the white snow on an overcast, flat white light day.

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This batch of ptarmigan porcini parmesan sausage ain't a bad way to use up 25lbs of ptarmy breasts either. Might have to thaw out some more birds and make another batch here soon.
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Love it!!! Awesome pics!

I have a few questions if thats ok

How much country are your covering to find coveys? Are you cc skiing on trials or just going overland in grouse areas? How do the Dogs do in deep snow? How far do they range? Do you run GPS collars? Are the birds more jumpy in the later season, do they run or are they cooperative? What is your typical shot distance? Are Alaska ptarmigan tougher than Utah Ptarmigan, what shot size is typically used?

I sometimes wonder how my pointers would do in super deep snow, day in and out. they have done well in the 2-3’ of snow range but generally that’s only deep on north faces and not all over all the time.

Thanks again for posting up, fun to see birds and bird dogs in the great white north!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Love it!!! Awesome pics!

I have a few questions if thats ok

How much country are your covering to find coveys? Depends. Fall season I average about 10 miles round trip on my boots, with exceptions where I kill birds within 10 yards in some places or I put 18-24 miles on my boots. Winter snowshoe hunts are usually 2-6 miles occasionally 8-10 miles. This ski trail was about a mile before Ava found birds, round trip was just under 4. But I've had to shoo birds off the truck before in this area (no shooting within ¼ mile of any road in this area). Are you cc skiing on trials or just going overland in grouse areas? This place is a trail that does have ruffies and spruce grouse in the first mile of the trail before it gets to classic ptarmy country above tree line. One of my buddies has come up with a whole set up for hunting skis that is not conventional but very good and that's what I used to put my kit together. How do the Dogs do in deep snow? Depends on what the snow is like. Soft deep snow is terrible and the dogs are stuck swimming can't really range out and hunt. I don't hunt those conditions. I like a nice crust and then the dogs run right on top of the snow no problem. How far do they range? Ava is usually a 40-120 yard dog, largely depending on how thick the cover is. She likes to maintain visual contact, but occasionally she stretches out to +300 yards--she had about 10 minutes that hunt where she was way up front, out of sight while I was navigating some creek crossings. When I finally got my crap together and got up there she was holding a point on a nice double that I managed to get both birds on to reward her. My buddy's griffs were 10-60 yard dogs , but he also does not get them out more than a few times a year, so they lack some cover confidence. Some of my friends run GSPs up here(including my ski buddy) that are +400 yard dogs and they get out there in the tough snow. Do you run GPS collars? Because Ava is a line of sight dog, I don't. I have a Garmin Pro 550 that I run on Ava but I can't remember the last time I needed to use it while in the field with her hunting. More as just an insurance policy if something goes sideways in a hurry. Are the birds more jumpy in the later season, do they run or are they cooperative? Honestly? Ptarmigan are unpredictable bastages. Sometimes they are dumb grouse, sometimes they run and sneak better than any pheasant. A lot of the time they are just like wild chukar devil birds. Sometimes they hold nice like quail. They can be jumpy when pressure gets put on them. These birds were pretty jumpy, flushing at 40-100 yards and one group that tried running through the trees to sneak away until Ava pinned them down for me. What is your typical shot distance? Average is about 30 yards, but it was closer to 45 last Saturday. Are Alaska ptarmigan tougher than Utah Ptarmigan, what shot size is typically used? Confession time: I never have killed a Utah ptarmigan. But probably not. I like using 4s when I can find them mostly because the pellets usually pass straight through--and I also like being able to reach out and smack the bastages when they decide to run/flush at 75 yards.

I sometimes wonder how my pointers would do in super deep snow, day in and out. they have done well in the 2-3’ of snow range but generally that’s only deep on north faces and not all over all the time.

Thanks again for posting up, fun to see birds and bird dogs in the great white north!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here are a couple pics from last spring that show what I like in conditions for the dog work. There was about 8-10' of base with a great crust. You can see Ava just floats on the top, and when it's wide open like that Ava will go check out the likely cover hundreds of yards away and wait for me to huff and puff my way up the hill as long as needed if she finds birds. That day she got about 500 yards away (always up hill, and actually at the top of the ridge in the background of the first pic) and held point for me for nearly 30 minutes while I caught up to her.
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Nice write up. I own a griff and I occassionally hunt with a GSP, a DK, and a Pudelpointer. The DK and Pudelpointer outhunt her every time--she just doesn't have the speed or range to find the birds first. That said, I think she is perfect for solo hunts--ranges 40-200 yards and does it at a pace that I can keep up with in the chukar hills. She is money every time we go out. I'm tempted by the thought of a pudelpointer for my next dog, though. I like 'em. Then again, I also like English Pointers, English Setters, Brittanies, French pointers. I just like bird dogs. They're cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Nice write up. I own a griff and I occassionally hunt with a GSP, a DK, and a Pudelpointer. The DK and Pudelpointer outhunt her every time--she just doesn't have the speed or range to find the birds first. That said, I think she is perfect for solo hunts--ranges 40-200 yards and does it at a pace that I can keep up with in the chukar hills. She is money every time we go out. I'm tempted by the thought of a pudelpointer for my next dog, though. I like 'em. Then again, I also like English Pointers, English Setters, Brittanies, French pointers. I just like bird dogs. They're cool.
Every hunting fella needs a PP.
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The light conditions were rough this weekend, but Ava did her part. My poor shooting skills are the reason for the stink eye on the tail gate, or so I'll lie to myself (Ava HATES picture time).
 
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