Ptarmigan shooting in Iceland takes place in what is without a doubt some of the most magnificent country. You really do feel as if you are on top of the world as you look over miles and miles of snow covered landscapes and peaks. Walked up ptarmigan in the Icelandic mountains is one of those experiences you’ll never forget. It is not high volume shooting, but on average you would hope to come across a handful of coveys, pairs and singles each day, enough to give each person some exciting shooting and an opportunity to shoot their first ptarmigan.
Although the birds are plentiful (over one million in the country) they can be hard to find as they move with the abundance of food and the ever changing snow line. Finding their footprints in the snow is a great way to increase your heartbeat as you know you are in the right area. This beautifully camouflaged bird is a member of the grouse family, so when you do flush them they can jink and twist and be quite challenging to shoot.
The shooting season is short and runs from October until the end of November on a limited number of days at weekends and we have exclusive rights with our shooting partner to some superb areas. A reasonable level of fitness is required, similar to what you would require for walking up grouse in Scotland. The guns will spend most of the day on foot along the slopes and tops of snow covered hills. In November, when the weather changes, the first snow falls produce a heavy covering of snow on the mountains which forces the birds to find food and shelter in the lower lying valleys, whilst the hunters are still required to do a considerable amount of walking, the terrain is not as steep or as arduous as might be expected in the early half of the season.
After a long day’s walked up ptarmigan there is a no more welcome sight than the lodge and a hot tub in the snow! The accommodation is far less basic than one would assume for such remote areas. The lodges, often used for fisherman during the summer, usually have live in staff and highly qualified chefs producing exceptional food using local ingredients. We believe looking after our clients is as important as the shooting itself.
Goose shooting has become a very popular sport in Iceland. There are plenty of geese on the island as four species migrate from mainland Europe, the greylag and the pinkfoot geese nest on Iceland, whilst the barnacle and white-fronts use Iceland as a stopover on their way even further north.
The greylags and pinkfeet use the suitable marshlands of Iceland to nest and raise their young far away from any disturbance. But as the summer draws to a close, these birds move from inland down to the southern coastal areas to feed and prepare for their flight south. The barnacles and white-fronted turn up at about the same time, having had an even shorter summer further north.
The shooting is usually done by flighting the birds into decoys at dawn, often hiding in sunken pits, as well as sometimes attempting to get underneath a flight line. They are extremely wild and can be a magnificent sight as huge skeins silhouette against the morning’s rising sun. Their constant calling is very evocative and extremely exciting, and if all goes well, the professional guides can call them into range.
The season runs from 20th August (barnacle goose season begins 1st September) until 15th March.
We can tailor an itinerary to suit your requests, so if you would like to do more goose shooting, or no goose shooting then that can be arranged very easily. Below is just an example itinerary:
Day 1: Depart from Reykjavik Airport at 15.00 and arrive at the shooting lodge early evening.
Day 2: Goose shooting – starting one hour before sunrise. Drive up to the ptarmigan area in the afternoon.
Day 3: Ptarmigan shooting until the afternoon.
Day 4: Ptarmigan shooting until the afternoon. Drive back to Reykjavik in the evening.
Day 5: Depart home.
For the lover of wild bird shooting this highly exclusive trip is really as good as it gets.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about shooting in Iceland, please contact our Sporting Agency on 01494 883227 or email email@example.com.