Finally made it back home last night. What a hunting trip! I don't have that many photos, seems like I get so concentrated on hunting it slips my mind every time.
Started off in Colorado where I left at 3:30 am to get to the airport and fly to Denver so I could have the baggage and rental car ready by the time my Dad arrived. We left as soon as he did and headed up to Guanella pass, only to run into the road closed due to construction and wouldn't be able to go through for another hour and a half later.
We get through and go to our spot. The hike was well...like what a person from sea level going to ~12,000 feet would be..rough.
As we go the snow starts to come in, but continue to press on. Then comes the lightning and now the snow is coming down in blizzard proportions :( At that time it was decided to head back down and call it a day.
That night we set off to Craig to go after blue grouse. Had a great morning and a two man limit of birds were taken, so we headed back to Georgetown to get ready for the two following days after ptarmigan.
Here is my Dad with two of his dusky's (at this time we hadn't shot the remaining two left on our limits)
Me with my dusky's
Some nice Colorado landscape
The view while driving down
So now back after ptarmigan, we get above treeline before sunrise and begin hunting. The weather is very nice and a stark contrast to what we had experienced two day prior. A friend from Denver joined us on this morning and we walked almost the entire course of our area without seeing anything. As we arrived to the end, the habitat was looking increasingly better, and as luck would have it, one of the ptarmigan that was around 400-500 yards off took off running to catch up to the rest of the group and Mark spotted him.
After a quick check with the binocs we could see several birds and then it got exciting! They were heading down the hill, so when we crested the ridge thinking we were going to shoot them as they flushed but they were no where to be found. Then we heard one of them calling and could see him moving down below. We head down there to at least get the one we could see, little did we know that six were down there :p As many know the rest was the easy part,lol. We ended up with six ptarmigan, I got my first limit of ptarmigan of all things and am still in disbelief about getting so lucky. Before this hunt I decided not to take any electronics due to the weather factor, so these pics were taken back at the motel before we got some rest.
Here is a pic of the big ol' boy my Dad took
My ptarmigan (these are the four I'm mounting up for myself, three from me and the one extra my dad didn't want since he decided to just get the one big male mounted)
One of my favorite pics showing their snowshoes, amazing little birds, now I'm 10 times more excited to go after the winter plumaged one.
After this hunt my Dad got altitude sickness so we stayed in at the motel the next day instead of going back out hunting to give him the time to get better.
I then left to Washington where the first two days were spent in the Western part chasing bandtails, sooty's, and red ruffed grouse. They had a pretty wet spring and the hatch must have been horrible. Out of the two days I took a juvy sooty male and juvy red ruffed female, and no bandtails.
On the third and last day of the trip I met up with another friend on the eastern side of the cascades to chase the sierra subspecies of the sooty grouse. Had some misfortunes like having the adult male I was needing right in front of me and having my shell misfire to some bad weather blowing in later that day but all in all ended up with a really nice female and a super large adult male to end the trip that I got within the last 30 minutes of the trip.
I ended up missing my flight home because I was 7 minutes past the deadline to check in my bags. Slept at the airport and finally got back home last night.
Wish I had more pics but was great time I will surely not forgot any time soon.
Thanks for checking it out!
--Specializing in Waterfowl & Upland Bird Taxidermy--