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Of Springers and snipe

Casey Allen, freelance writer for MyOutdoorBuddy.comBy Casey Allen
I’m convinced the term “bat out of hell” was coined by a snipe hunter.  These small, short legged upland shorebirds have an erratic flight somewhere between a bat and a mourning dove. They are close to impossible to see on the ground and are found by walking and jumping them. They jump into the air, squawk, defecate, and then begin their erratic flight. By the time your shotgun hits your shoulder the snipe has changed direction three times.  They are the most challenging quarry in the shot gunning world.  Whether called Wilson’s snipe or the Common snipe, only ornithologists care about the difference. Old timers call them jacksnipe and all of them are hard to hit with a shotgun.Springer Spaniels ready for snipe hunt with Casey Allen of MyOutdoorBuddy.com

Snipe, whose close relative is the woodcock, are migratory birds and like waterfowl spend summers breeding in the northern states and Canada and winter in the south.  They travel south during the fall hunting season as the north turns cold. Snipe can be found in low, wet, open fields and along creeks and river beds, but not on the bay mud flats. Places where they can use their long beak to probe for food in the soft ground.
 
I dumped a box of 20 gauge 8 shot into the left pocket of my bird vest.  Walking the backside of the beach dunes into a light southern breeze coming off the Pacific Ocean, I shot twice at each of the first three snipe I jumped and missed.  “I better slow down,” I thought. “Take your time and get a good shot”, I told myself. So I did. And I missed, and missed, and missed.  It was not long until my right pocket had more spent casings than my left had live shells. My two springer spaniels were giving me long looks and I could tell they were wondering what my problem was.  Dogs are extremely helpful if they will stay very close to the hunter. Downed snipe can be hard to find because their natural camouflage is so perfect they blend in with the grassy terrain and a retriever will eliminate lost birds.   But if the dog gets too far out it will spook birds out of range and when there are a lot of birds it is easy for a dog to lose control.
 
Finally, my female springer Fiona jumped a snipe that did not zig-zag and I dropped it with one shot.  Fiona followed the little bird into the thick beach grass and with her short tail working at full speed sniffed the bird out and brought it to me.  She sat at my feet looking at me while I placed the snipe in my game bag.  I could see she was smiling but could only imagine what she was thinking.
 
Hunting pressure can have an effect on the snipe.  Once they are shot at a few times they learn to jump quickly and fly off at top speed using all their moves. I hunted my favorite area on a Thursday and with my male springer, Barkley, we shot a limit of eight snipe in two hours. It was my best day ever, taking only 24 shots. But then I was back the next Monday and I could tell someone had hunted them on the weekend. The snipe were hot and I shot a box and a half of shells for just two birds.
 
Guns and loads used for quail hunting are suited to the fast shooting required for snipe.  Steele shot may be required in areas used for hunting waterfowl so hunters should check their local regulations. Snipe are easy to clean by tearing the breast from the body and snapping off the wings. You may have to save the tasty little breasts in the freezer until you get enough for a meal. I can eat a limit of eight with no trouble. I like to sauté them with onions and mushrooms and they taste like a corn fed mallard.

More Hunting News

Shikar-Safari Club honors CDFW officer

05/27/15 -- California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lt. Sheree Christensen was recently selected by the Shikar-Safari Club International as the recipient of its 2014 Wildlife Officer of the Year award.Each year, the club honors... Full Story

ODFW: Big game raffle grosses $717,465

05/24/15 -- ODFW’s 2015 auctions and raffles for Oregon big game hunting tags grossed a record $717,465, of which $413,987 will go to the Access and Habitat Program and $254,578 to big game research and management.... Full Story

New RMEF elk tour crisscrosses America

05/20/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s traveling conservation exhibit, the Great Elk Tour, has a newly redesigned look for all to see as it rolls across America from coast to coast. “The Great Elk Tour is longer, wider, taller... Full Story

Non-lead ammunition requirement coming

05/17/15 -- Starting July 1 non-lead ammunition will be required when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands and for all Nelson bighorn sheep hunts anywhere in the state. CDFW reminds hunters... Full Story

Big game drawing deadline is June 2

Buck mule deer photo courtesy of CA DFW
05/15/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding hunters that the deadline to apply for the 2015 Big Game Drawing is June 2. Applicants must complete the sales transaction before midnight on... Full Story

B&C Club: Governor's Tags and fair chase

05/12/15 -- Ever more controversial, Governor's Tags have a new official endorsement - as well as a caution - from the Boone and Crockett Club. In a new position statement, the organization founded by Theodore Roosevelt supports... Full Story

News for waterfowl hunters from CWA

Kids waterfowl banding from a cage in the water, photo courtesy of CWA
05/10/15 -- CWA's Youth Summer Waterfowl Banding Day is fast approaching! This event is free for CWA members! Come on out June 24, 2015 from 9:00-11:00 at Grizzly Island in the Suisun Marsh. Youth ages eight and up... Full Story

Rare Company in Kentucky

The American Hunter associate editor Jon Draper poses with his eastern turkey and ace caller Mark Prudhomme.
By John Higley
05/04/15 -- You went where to do what? I’ve been asked that question more than once through the years as my addiction to turkey hunting took me to several states around the country in search of new experiences... Full Story

Kittles to host CA Duck Calling Contest

05/01/15 -- Kittle's Outdoor & Sport Co. in Colusa is proudly hosting the California State Championship Duck Calling Contest for the fifth year in a row on August 29th and 30th. Over the years this event has grown from a one... Full Story

PG&E receives award for swamp restoration

McArthur Swamp Resotration area of flat lands surrounded by large hills, with waterfowl habitat shown here. Photo courtesy of PG&E and USFWS
04/29/15 -- The National Hydropower Association today recognized Pacific Gas and Electric Company with an Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Award during a luncheon as part of the group’s annual meeting... Full Story

Shooting, gutting & skinning 101

By Bill Adelman
04/21/15 -- Just shortly after dirt was invented, my Dad took me out to the corner of my grandparent’s farm for my first experience with a gun, his .22 bolt action Remington. At age 11, this was a life changing event. A very successful... Full Story

B&C Cookbook kabobs the competition

04/21/15 -- Grilling season is here. The Boone and Crockett Club is sharing a kabob recipe from a cookbook that skewered the competition recently in a national book awards. The Club's first-ever cookbook, "Wild Gourmet... Full Story

CWA to celebrate 70th anniversary

04/13/15 -- This year marks CWA's 70th anniversary! Members are being invited to celebrate this event at CWA’s 2015 State Convention in downtown Sacramento on August 21-22. There is something for everyone, including... Full Story

Oregon turkey hunting starts April 15

04/12/15 -- The sight and sound of a turkey’s mating display is enough to quicken the pulse of even the most experienced hunter -- and makes calling in a spring tom as exciting as calling in a bull elk. So don’t miss Oregon’s spring turkey hunt... Full Story

Youth-only turkey season starts Saturday

Single hen walking among the trees, photo by Jason Haley, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photo by Jason Haley
04/10/15 -- “They’re not very smart, ya know,” a young bank teller told me yesterday, after asking what I’d be doing this weekend. Hmm…what does that make me? I haven’t taken a bird since 2009 when my Pop called in a big gobbler... Full Story

More bills to watch in legislature -- water

03/17/15 -- The 2015 Session of the California State Legislature is finally nearing full speed. This Gaines & Associates “Special Report” will provide you with all you need to know regarding the positive bills we are working on... Full Story

More bills to watch in legislature -- horns

Special Report by Bill Gaines, Gaines & Associates
03/16/15 -- The 2015 Session of the California State Legislature is finally nearing full speed. This Gaines & Associates “Special Report” will provide you with all you need to know regarding the positive bills we are working... Full Story

Bills to watch in CA legislature -- hunting

Special Report by Bill Gaines, Gaines & Associates
03/15/15 -- The 2015 Session of the California State Legislature is finally nearing full speed. This Gaines & Associates “Special Report” will provide you with all you need to know regarding the positive bills we are working ... Full Story

Pups & Partridges on the Calapooia Prairie

Liesl, 11 month old pudelpointer, photo by Gary Lewis
By Gary Lewis
02/18/15 -- They say a great pointing dog only comes along once or twice in a hunter's lifetime. Some dogs don't have the heart or the desire. Others don't seem to have the nose or the brain. We brought home our pudelpointer in... Full Story

RMEF to CBD: Stick to the facts

02/05/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling on the environmentalist group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to stick to the facts when making presumptions about wildlife populations. CBD recently claimed that Idaho’s wolf... Full Story

Modoc 4-H’ers earn spot on shooting team

Modoc 4-H Club members Grady Ingraham, Mavrick Farnam and Paden Smith will represent California at the 2015 National Shooting Sports Championship in Grand Island, Nebraska in June. Photos courtesy of Ingraham, Farnam and Smith families, respectfully
02/05/15 -- Modoc County 4-H members will be aiming for top honors at the 2015 National Shooting Sports Championship in Grand Island, Nebraska this June. Three 4-H’ers from Modoc County qualified to represent California... Full Story

DSC convention goers raise $1M in 1 minute

01/19/15 -- Responding to a heartfelt appeal for youth outdoor education, DSC convention goers on Saturday night raised $1 million in about 60 seconds. The fast flurry of fundraising was a highlight of the 2015 DSC convention and expo... Full Story

It’s Not over Till the Lady Sings

mountain lion on rocky edge, photo courtesy of UDWR and Carrie Wilson, CA DFW
By Gary Lewis
01/19/15 -- If you want to avoid being attacked by a mountain lion, conventional wisdom says, you should travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with children, stop and make yourself look as big as possible... Full Story

Federal Duck Stamp to cost $25

  The winner of the 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Contest was Jennifer Miller of Olean, NY, with her acrylic painting of ruddy ducks.  Photo courtesy of USFWS
12/12/14 -- Hunters will be paying another $10 a year to hunt waterfowl starting next year. The cost of the Federal Duck Stamp will go from $15 to $25. The increase is the first cost jump since 1991. Many hunters and organizations... Full Story

Modoc Big Buck honors shared

Sheriff Mike Poindexter of Alturas bagged this beautiful X2 4X4 - 30 inch Buck. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Poindexter
By Lorissa Soriano
12/09/14 -- John Dederick the Mayor of Alturas and yours truly of Alturas, tied for first place to win the Grand Prize for the “Biggest Overall Buck” in the 2014 Modoc Big Buck Contest.
This popular event was sponsored by the Modoc Outdoor... Full Story

C Zone Blacktail

By Dusty Clement
10/03/14 -- This hunt started last year when I discovered an out-of-the-way public piece of property which is very difficult to access taking a boat and a fair amount of hiking through the Sacramento River jungle to reach... Full Story

Vintage Waterfowler

old black and white photo of a skiff loaded with ducks and a man with his shotgun, courtesy of Don Webster
By Don E. Webster
09/16/14 --Having been pursuing waterfowl for over 60 years, I was exposed to its history as a mere child by my grandfather, Wilbur S. Pechin. He hunted ducks and geese along the Platte River in Nebraska in the late 19th... Full Story

The buck we didn’t get and two we did

Tyler Low with his 3x4 buck shot at 100 yards with a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum. Photo by Kyler Olson
By Tyler Low
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story

Where Are All the Pheasants?

Sacramento Valley Pheasant, Steven T. Callan, Where Have All the Pheasants Gone
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story

Ham on the Hoof

Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story

Back to the Start

heritage, history of hunting, hunting as a family, Jason Haley, Mt. Shasta, Mount Shasta
Article and photos by Jason Haley
10/18/13 -- I got tipped-off about a bachelor group of bucks from an archer I trust. That never hurts. And after spending opening day in the area, glimpsing two good bucks and seeing how the terrain lays out, I knew exactly... Full Story

Never say never

Never say never, rifle buk, Francisco Garcia, MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story

Me and my shadow

Twin melanistic fawns with doe, Me and my shadow, Jean Bilodeaux, MyOutdoorBuddy.com Article and photos by Jean Bilodeaux
10/06/12 -- It’s always amazing to see the huge bucks reappear in the fields in Surprise Valley right after deer season. Many times locals breathe a sigh of relief as the big bucks that disappeared a month earlier now reappear... Full Story

Hunting trip gone bad

Deer holding tight in cover during times of heavy hunting pressure as I was about to find out. Francisco Garcia hunting story. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story

 

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Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Amber Galusha, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

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