Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Snipe Season 2015


Snipe season is here and there are a bunch of wingshooters just waiting to hear if the birds have arrived in our region, but just because the little winged rockets choose to stop in for a little rest and relaxation while on their way south, doesn’t mean our hunters will be able to hit anything other than sky and marsh grass.  I’m here to tell you there isn’t another upland game species capable of making a skilled shooter look like it’s the first time he/she has touched a shotgun.  Snipe can humble even the best shooters and I’m not going to tell you my shots per bird ratio.  Let’s just say my shell bag gets decidedly lighter even though the game bag takes a bit of time to fill.  Their flight after flushing is fast, erratic, and very close to the ground making them difficult to get a bead on let alone a load of pellets, hence the rationale behind carrying lots and lots of shells.  They also have a habit of flushing at exceedingly long distances after having been chased around the bog for a few weeks, and to make matters worse, they’ll gather other birds into a small group as they scream across the grasslands well out of range.  The hunter is left to watch the spiraling flock in dismay as it searches for a safer place to set down. is a website dedicated solely to the pursuit of this wonderful little bird and there’s even a section about what to do with your game once you get home.  We’ve tried a bunch of different ways and have been pleasantly surprised each and every time.  My favorite is wrapping the breast in a slice of bacon along with a slice of jalapeno or garlic for some extra flavor.  Done simply, the meat is a little strong, so adding something with a little zip make all the difference if serving it to folks that aren’t used to wild game.  We tend to use them as appetizers rather than trying to make an entire meal of them, so not having a whole bunch isn’t a real problem.  Just be on the lookout for a stray BB or two.Wilsons Snipe

I’ve written about snipe hunting in previous seasons  and just like other hunting or fishing endeavors, each year is a bit different than any other.  We started hunting  a little late compared to other years, mostly due to the high water levels and air temperatures we’ve been experiencing locally, but there are some serious cold fronts on their way and they should push a new flight of birds south.  The Audubon Field Guide has some interesting information about snipe that might help hunters and bird watchers alike if they seek to hit the field in pursuit of sport or in the spirit of discovery.  Snipe are a marvel of migration, have interesting mating habits, and astounding growth rates, making them a birder’s dream if you get a chance to locate one sitting still, which isn’t very often.

Grab your shotguns and a whole bunch of shells a few months before the season really takes off, then hit the trap or sporting clays fields because there’s no replacement for practice when it comes to making the most of your time afield.  Try to put an emphasis on low-going away, and hard left-to-right and right-to-left crossing targets since those are most likely what you’ll see in the field, but expect to miss your fair share no matter how many shells you expend on clay birds. 

So, search out some sniping grounds if you find yourself in need of some sport.  There’s nothing to compare when it comes to a challenging target, but make sure you’ve got enough shells to last a while.  You’re sure to miss a few.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando




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