- Categories : Hunting

White as the snow in winter and dark as the land you will cross in summer to hunt it, the rock ptarmigan is one of the most coveted high mountain wildfowl, especially for the charm of its flight often alternating a quick fluttering with a glide outstretching its wings while swooping down from the peaks. Besides that one of its outstanding features is the capability of blending in with the surrounding environment to escape the eyes of natural predators (golden eagle, fox or crow) and hunters, including you!

However before you can reach the areas where it dwells, you have to walk for a while and endure a long approach march. Indeed, the “white-feathered wildfowl”, also known as Lagopus muta due to the similarity of its paws to those of a hare, is mainly diffused in the Alps at an altitude ranging from 2000 to 4000 metres asml. Let’s say, it’s not that comfortable to reach. On the other hand, being among the lucky ones who have the opportunity to hunt a rock ptarmigan and the landscapes you will see are going to pay your strain to get to the hunting ground back.

On this journey one is usually not alone. Besides a few trusted fellow adventurers there could be your loyal pointing dog. It too, just like you, may be hindered by hiking on the rocks, that will wear out his fingertips, perhaps putting it through the winger even after a few kilometres. To reach your destination, we therefore recommend that you take short breaks so as to recover your strength and enjoy the lanscape, which is always impressive.

Reached the altitude? Excellent, your mission is almost accompished. The time has come to make a difference and reward the efforts made so far! Don't be deceived by the ease of the shot. Getting rid of any hindrance between you and the prey doesn’t mean proceeding knowing it is an assured win, because the ptarmigan, as mentioned above, is a wildfowl which can esaily camouflage itself. Furthermore, its flight is not very noisy and it often skims the ground. That’s why it’s worth to a have a properly equipped shotgun and we are going to recommend you the gauge size, the barrel length as well as the best shotshells… would you happen to go back to change it?

Hunting techniqueGaugeBarrel lengthSelf-loading shotgunOver and under /
Side-by-side shotgun
Shotshell G.Lead shots Nr.
Pointing dog 12 66 / 71 ** *** / * 37 / 38 7 / 6 / 5
Pointing dog 20 66 / 71 ** *** / * 30 / 32 7 / 6 / 5
Pointing dog 28 66 / 71 ** *** / * 28 / 32 7 / 6 / 5

We therefore recommend a 12-, 20- or 28-gauge single or double-barreled shotgun and lead shot size between 7 and 5. As regards self-loading shotguns opt for ** chokes, while for over and under/side-by side ones the *** and *sizes.

Perseverance and great passion shall completely gratify your endeavour, that’s for sure. Try to leave so minded (at dawn, don’t waste your time), to be aware of everything you could have to cope with, on the side should a little tiredness prevail, take a break, breathe and think that you are one step away from achieving the dream of many hunters!

You have found our advice useful and are sure that you will put what you have learned into practice on your next hunting trip? Browse beyond this article! Learn how to properly use a choke and all the guides provided by Gemini , drawn up with the help of specialists, for hunting and shooting enthusiasts like you.

Our thanks go to Professor Simone Bertini and Diego Apostoli for their availability and the precious time they devoted to us for the drafting of these guides.