Himalayan Snowcock are a large species of grouse native to the Himalayan region in Asia. However, a number of the birds were brought to the United States in the early 60’s, and were introduced into Nevada’s Ruby Mountains. The barren mountain sides found above the tree line in this range are the perfect habitat for Snowcock, and have allowed them to flourish. During the day, small groups can be found feeding on roots and seeds in high areas before they retreat downhill to nest on the ground in protected areas formed by rocks or thickets. Birds are grey in color, with brown streaks and dark lines on their neck, making them well camouflaged in these rocky areas.
Where To Hunt Himalayan Snowcock
Snowcock are predominantly hunted in the state of Nevada’s Ruby Mountains, with Elko and White Pine county being the best locations.
Himalayan Snowcock Hunting Techniques
The extremely rugged nature of the country that Snowcock thrive in makes them very difficult to hunt. Much like hunting chukar, the birds are very spooky and hunts often involve long hikes in unforgiving terrain. They prefer the most remote and untouched areas of the mountain, so getting away from both hunting and hiking pressure is key. Because of this, horses are often utilized to dive deeper into the backcountry. The season runs from early September to the end of November, but the best opportunity at taking a bird lies in September, as access to hunting areas is often shut off by snow storms and bad weather come October.
Likely the only weakness that snowcock possess is their vocal nature. Birds are often very camouflaged, and the lack of cover in the terrain makes it difficult for a hunter to get close before spooking birds. However, birds frequently make a high-pitched whistling sound that gives them away, and perceptive hunters can use these sounds to pinpoint a bird’s location and carefully stalk in close for a shot.
Himalayan Snowcock Regulations
Hunters wishing to chase Snowcock must only purchase a base license and a Snowcock hunting free use permit. The permit is free, and is simply used to track the harvest of the rare game birds. The Nevada season runs from September 1st through November 30th, and there is a daily bag and possession limit of 2 birds.
Why Target Himalayan Snowcock?
Snowcock are extremely difficult to hunt, with overall success rates landing at around 3%, as there is little to no information on the birds, and conditions and terrain are unforgiving. However, the difficulty of the hunt makes the successful harvest of one the pinnacle of upland bird hunting. If you are a bird hunter that has killed plenty of grouse, pheasant and quail and are looking for something new, a Snowcock hunt is the ultimate challenge. This hunt will leave you battered and likely frustrated, but the struggle is well worth the reward.