Himalayan Snowcock

MSUcat61

Active Member
Apr 7, 2011
245
0
ABQ, NM
Anyone ever go after these guys? I was thinking of making a weekend trip over to the Rubies sometime in September to see if I could find some. It looks like they'll be tough to find and even tougher to shoot, but quite the experience, especially if I can actually get one.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
Wow...never heard of them. Googled and found lots of information. Sorry, looks like I'm too old to give them a try. I love to hunt upland game birds and every year meet friends and we hunt Chukar in northern Nevada. Funny thig is that I have seen Chukar in California while deer hunting way above the timberline at about 10,500 feet. I was so surprised, but there has been a covey or 2 there every year.
 

Caseyu

Active Member
Aug 27, 2012
272
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Reno, NV
Closest i got to one uploadfromtaptalk1376259645460.jpg came across his tracks durring a deer hunt in fresh snow. If i was not chasing a buck i would have found him.
 

JReeves

New Member
Aug 7, 2013
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Reno, NV
Hey there MSUcat61,
While we haven't gone after them yet, it's on my buddy and I's list for this season. We've done quite a bit of research and have found a few online posts regarding hunting them. Until this year I had no idea that they existed, and we're now very keen on the idea of bagging one! Also have ptarmigan on our list next month in CA! Snowcock looks to be by far the most challenging bird to hunt, but you're rewarded with something special even regardless of taking one home with you as they tend to live in some beautiful country!
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
6,382
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Dolores, Colorado
Also have ptarmigan on our list
I stumbled on some ptarmigan while i was elk hunting about 10 years ago. In the area here in SW Colorado where I found them, its above timberline and pretty tough hunting. Pretty hit & miss as sometimes I can't find them at all. I think its food source availabiltiy as they really like willows. Lost my Lab this year, so probably won't be going this year. Season opens here Sept 1.

Good luck
 

jgriffin82

New Member
Sep 17, 2011
13
0
Napa, CA
I hunted north of Jiggs a few years back near the Ruby Crest Ranch and there was a decent number of Snowcock. We would see a few everyday that were within shooting distance. I wish I would have killed my buck before the last day, those birds would have been great to go after. They seemed to stay up in the rock up above the valley floor and they held tight until you were right up on them.
 

tdub24

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2011
1,174
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Carlin, NV
And see, the folks I talk to have seen them, but the birds have seen the hunters also and flew at a minimum of 200 yards away from the top of the mountain in the rocks half way to the bottom. Stories I hear are more challenging than 75% of the elk stories I hear. I have yet to meet someone successful, even though I know they are out there. One day I may try since I live right here, but right now I just dont seem to have the interest. I have a bull depredation tag in the Rubies starting in October, so maybe I will run into some.
 

exit28nevada

New Member
Jul 31, 2013
18
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napa valley
Back in the mid-90's,we packed into the rubies,via lamoile and set camp below verdi lake,and bow hunted deer in that vicinity for 5 days. I came across a old camp it had a old dutch oven,and places to reign off horses,i asked the packer about it when he came to pack us out and he told us it was the camp he used for snowcock hunts,we never saw any but he said that was one of the better areas,all i know is that i wish i had a mountain goat tag cause they where in there and we saw them every day.
 

MSUcat61

Active Member
Apr 7, 2011
245
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ABQ, NM
I've read some posts online and even watched a few youtube videos. In one they were hunting near Overland Lake/Pass. A guy who is a photographer but not a hunter suggested looking above Island Lake off of Lamoille Canyon. It looks like just getting above 10,000 feet and putting some boot leather down and even glassing for them in the rocks is the best advice so far. And also getting at or above the birds' elevation similar to chukar. Any other thoughts on locations, tactics?

Also, I've read concerns about taking a dog along with due to the severity of the terrain and cliffiness, but I don't think I could live with myself not taking my dog on a bird hunt. I've taken him in some really sketchy spots chasing quail in Southern Nevada and chukar up here so I'm not too concerned. But then again, I've also seen several posts with guys taking their dogs without much issue. Any thoughts on this? And sorry to hear about your dog CC. I can only imagine how tough that must have been.

Another benefit to this hunt is that it seems it should be reasonable to find blue grouse in the elevations leading up to the snowcock habitat. And of course the gorgeous views as JReeves already mentioned.
 

JReeves

New Member
Aug 7, 2013
22
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Reno, NV
MSU, It sounds like you've found most of the info, of the very little, out there. They sound like pretty smart birds who make you work for it! Everything I've read also says to look above 10,000ft and that you're better off spotting and stalking them rather than just hoping to pop up on them. With that said, I'm not sure what benefit a dog would offer other than the optimistic hopes of a retrieval. I personally don't own a dog but my good hunting buddy will be leaving his at home rather than dealing with the constant stress and worry that the dog will end up running of a cliff, which judging by their preferred terrain, is a very real risk.
Lamoille canyon and it's nearby peaks and cliffs sound like the hotspot for activity, although I'm sure they're spread through the range with only the difficulty of terrain keeping the other spots from being as "pressured".
I just picked up my permit today, and it sounds like someone else was down there today doing the same! Perhaps somebody off of this forum? I hope we all get some days out there and can come back and report on what we learned/saw/didn't see. In all honesty I'm going into this first effort hoping to simply lay my eyes on one. As with any animal, there are many things to be learned before you're given the gratifying opportunity to pop a shot off at one. So anything beyond just seeing a rare and elusive animal will be a bonus in my eyes! And further more, it gives me a reason to explore some new country!
-Jesse
 

MSUcat61

Active Member
Apr 7, 2011
245
0
ABQ, NM
Well, heading out to the Rubies this weekend and I think I have a game plan. Gonna hike in to Echo Lake and camp and probably hunt towards the Dome depending on the terrain, etc. If anything, it should be a fun adventure and a good camping trip with some good fishing if nothing else. Wish me luck!
 

MSUcat61

Active Member
Apr 7, 2011
245
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ABQ, NM
Well guys, the trip was fun but ended up not quite what I was planning. A combination of leaving Reno late Friday night, consequently getting a late start on Saturday morning, and the mrs. not really up for the type of trip I had in mind, kind of foiled my plans. Plus, we kind of took the wrong trail to start, which lead to some serious bushwhacking and really slowed us down. We did bump 5 or 6 ruffed grouse early in the hike, but I missed some very doable shots. My dog looked at me like I was an idiot (which I suppose is arguable at that point). I was really disappointed since I've yet to take a ruffed grouse yet; only blues and spruce grouse so far. We made it to Goat Lake and caught as many brook trout as you wanted to, which were actually bigger than I expected. Kept two for dinner.

We did see two bighorn sheep, which after the die off was probably pretty fortunate. Never really saw many deer. Just a few does. Some fellow hikers saw some goats, but we never spotted any. Interestingly, we ran into the guy who runs the backpacking the ruby mountains website. He had quite a bit of insight in where to find snowcock. I was on the right track, just didn't make it there on this trip. Nonetheless, it was a good backpacking trip, got in a little shooting, and had some great fishing.

Here are some pics of the trip. I'll definitely be back...
IMG_1000.jpgIMG_0984.jpgIMG_0988.jpgIMG_0991.jpgIMG_0978.jpg
 
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JReeves

New Member
Aug 7, 2013
22
0
Reno, NV
Well I'm packed and loaded for our effort at tracking some of these birds down. Three of us are heading out tomorrow morning and planning on spending a cold 4 days out there in the Ruby's. It'll be interesting to see how the snow and cold affect them, if anything we're hoping that it might push them down to a little better cover, but I'm sure they aren't called Snowcocks for nothing. We keep joking that they're probably running around atop the very highest peaks elated with the new weather. If nothing else, a little dusting of snow will make spotting them easier, and will hold some tracks for us. We'll be setting up a base camp pretty deep in at about 9500' although with the recent storms and cold spell, I can't foresee many people out there until the deer opener. We patterned the guns last week and I've opted to take my Franchi 20ga after being pleasantly surprised with how well it patterned the Prairie Storm 3" shells in a 1 1/4oz #4 with a full choke at 40 yards. Also packing a few rounds of #5 and #6 in hopes of jumping some grouse down lower.
 

tdub24

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2011
1,174
55
Carlin, NV
Good luck, get those pics out as soon as possible. See a good bull, lasso him to a tree for me and send over the coordinates. LOL!