A couple of "firsts" for me in the rockies today...


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duck911
September 25, 2010, 02:19 AM
Well, I took Friday off with the intention of heading to the high country to recharge the batteries and do a little hunting.

My agenda:

Hunt, and try to shoot, a ptarmigan, a blue grouse, and a marmot. I have shot a lot of things in my life but it just so happens the stars have never aligned for me to bag these critters.

So, I was up at the crack of dawn and headed up I-70 into the hills and working my way up towards the continental divide.

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide.jpg

This particular forest service road quickly winds up above the tree line. I walked a few miles through some of this terrain looking for ptarmigan. I had no luck with the ptarmigan today:

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide2.jpg


I hit the top of the pass, appx. 12,500 ft, at 8:30 AM. It was sunny, light breeze, and 39 degrees. I hiked out and down the ridgeline just to check out the area. The big cirque type valley in the left-center of the picture caught my eye and I headed that direction:

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide3.jpg

Hiking along the ridge, still scouting - fresh snow!

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide4.jpg

Approaching the valley:

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide5.jpg


On the way in, bumped a lone blue grouse. He darted up the hill, so I let him go, got around the corner, and hiked up above him. I hunted slowly back down the hill, zig-zagging back to where I saw him. I stopped to listen and glass, when I saw a perfectly camouflaged grouse sitting on a stump in front of me. I took one step, and he launched himself across the hillside, right in front of me. I took a quick snapshot before he turned the corner around the ridge and caught him with a full load of lead 4's in the head :blush:

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide6.jpg

I finally made it to the valley that I intended to hunt for ptarmigan and marmot. As you can see, talus slopes surround the area. The valley wraps around about 270 degrees so this picture represents just a sliver of the area. The pictures do not so this area justice, trust me....

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide7.jpg

I have never hunted marmot in the high country, though always wanted to. So, I really wasn't sure if I was in the right habitat, and, even how these little guys look when you spot them.

What I found out was that with some patient glassing, when they're sunning themselves on a rock they can be pretty easy to spot. The first boulder field "section" I came to, I spotted a marmot on a rock. I settled my Remington 700 .204 Ruger down on my pack and pulled the trigger. My first marmot!

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide8.jpg

The .204 did a number on this guy........

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide11.jpg

The arrow is my gear. Marmot carnage in the bottom of the picture. 108 yards on the nose.

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide9.jpg

Having scouted all the way in, and hunting ptarmigan and grouse, it was getting late in the afternoon, but as you can see, there is a lot of good looking areas for marmots in this spot. I sat down and glassed and spotted a few more critters in the distance, but decided to leave them alone until I can get my 15 year old stepson into the valley with me.

http://home.comcast.net/~duck911/divide10.jpg

--Duck911

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kbbailey
September 25, 2010, 09:26 AM
Thanks for the story and great pics.
Love that country out there.

375shooter
September 25, 2010, 09:39 AM
Consider yourself lucky to have access to such beautiful hunting country. Thanks for sharing the hunt with us.

kbbailey
September 25, 2010, 09:53 AM
I for one would like to see more posts of hunting/shooting adventures here on thr.

I get tired of posts about what to kill someone with...if..if...multiple armed assailants blah, blah.

The Bushmaster
September 25, 2010, 10:56 AM
kbbailey...Wonder over to www.huntingnut.com They may have what you are looking for. These are not professional hunters. Just guys that enjoy hunting, sitting around a camp fire and telling stories.

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