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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

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

Fire ravages Modoc refuge headquarters

Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, Many valuable mounts were destroyed along with the headquarters offices and much memorabilia. Photos courtesy of Shirley Clay & the Modoc NWL staff
By Frank Galusha
10/06/15 -- Fire swept through the headquarters of the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge in Alturas on Saturday night, destroying much of the facility, including valuable mounts.Refuge employees wrote, “Horrible, horrible news.” .. Full Story

Waterfowl hunt clinic set for Butte County

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area photo courtesy of CA DFW
10/06/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program will offer a waterfowl hunting clinic on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County... Full Story

Snipe Season Opener approaches

Pair of snipers, photo courtesy of CDFW
10/04/15 -- If you always thought snipe hunting was just a rite-of-passage prank for adolescents around the campfire, you may be surprised to learn that there is a real hunting season coming up for this tasty game... Full Story

General Season for Chukar opens Oct. 17

Chukar, photo courtesy of CDFW
10/04/15 -- California’s general hunting season opener for chukar will be on Saturday, Oct. 17. The season remains open through Jan. 31, with a daily bag limit of six and triple the daily bag in possession. Originally native to... Full Story

Report elk hoof disease to ODFW website

Elk with hoof deformities while outdoors in northwest Oregon this fall. Trail camera image courtesy of Mike Jackson.
10/03/15 -- ODFW is asking hunters and others in northwest Oregon to be on the lookout for limping elk that may have hoof disease. Report any sightings to the ODFW’s elk hoof disease online reporting page or call... Full Story

CA Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest

10/03/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is conducting an art contest to select the design for the state’s 2015-2016 upland game bird stamp. This year’s stamp will feature the ring-necked pheasant... Full Story

October Openers for Upland Game Birds

Quail, photo courtesy of CDFW
10/03/15 -- While some upland game bird hunting opportunities started in September, the fall hunting season gains momentum in the coming weeks, with the early pheasant archery season opening on Oct. 10 and quail, chukar and... Full Story

Dennis Shiplet gets big Bull Elk

Dennis Shiplet and friend Justin with Bull Elk head, photo courtesy of Dennis Shiplet
Article by Alex Colvin
10/03/15 -- Dennis Shiplet from Cassel shot a nice 9x8 Rocky Mountain Bull Elk on September 19 in the Pondosa area of Eastern Shasta County. The 12-day season for Rocky Mountain Elk began September 16... Full Story

Still feel it!

By Chuck Giles
10/01/15 -- Finally, opening day of deer season is here. I am up with my wife, Skippy trying to score her first California buck. The sun is oozing over the treetops and Skippy is nestled into her new tree stand. Her change of attitude... Full Story

Mendota to streamline entry process

09/25/15 -- The Mendota Wildlife Area in Fresno County is refining its process of allowing the entry of reservation-holding waterfowl hunters during the upcoming hunting season. Mendota Wildlife Area was one of the few wildlife... Full Story

Oregon youth have shot at special hunts

Duck hunting, Photo by Mike Gray
09/21/15 -- The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge will host a new waterfowl hunting program just for youth hunters this fall, marking the first time hunting has been allowed on the refuge. The youth hunt dates are Oct. 31, Nov. 15... Full Story

RMEF offers online gear checklist

09/19/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation unveiled an interactive, online gear checklist designed to assist hunters be fully prepared as they head afield. “This is the quintessential checklist for the elk hunter,” said... Full Story

Reminder: Wolf Pack in Siskiyou County

Gray wolf pack, photo courtesy of CDFW
09/17/15 -- This Saturday, Sept. 19 is the general deer season opener in zones B2, B6, C1 and C2. Elk season is already open in Siskiyou County and the northeast zone. For complete hunting regulations including zones and season... Full Story

Tough rifle season for Modoc antelope

Bobby Ray, a longtime resident of Alturas bagged this beautiful antelope buck off the Likely Tables in Modoc County
By Lorissa Soriano
09/14/15 -- The general rifle season for antelope was tough hunting for many of the people who were lucky enough to draw a tag for the Modoc area. The antelope seemed to be a lot more spread out this year. Often they start... Full Story

More upland game bird seasons to open

California Quail
09/10/15 -- The 2015 general hunting season will open in mid-September for various upland game bird species in specific zones around the state, providing hunters with many opportunities to bring home some delicious... Full Story

Bucks and Bulls Contest underway banner at Annual Bucks and Bulls, Photo by Jason Haley
By Jason Haley
09/03/15 -- The 4th Annual Bucks and Bulls contest is open right now at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Medford. This season-long event brings hunters and trophies together from all over the region and state. There will be awards for... Full Story

OSP needs help in Douglas poaching case

elk poaching, Oregon elk hunting, State Police investigation, hall of shame
09/02/15 -- The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division is seeking the public's assistance with an ongoing investigation in southern Oregon, On August 29, 2015, Oregon State Troopers from the Roseburg Area Command... Full Story

Non-lead Ammo required on CDFW lands

08/26/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters that non-lead ammunition is required when hunting on CDFW properties for the upcoming hunting seasons. Lead ammunition may still be used on... Full Story

Sportsmen a Big Part of Healthy Wildlife

A deer in the wild with Papillomavirus infection
08/24/15 -- You may have heard the story. Sportsmen help wildlife because excise taxes on shooting equipment and license and tag fees predominately fund conservation efforts. Sportsmen and wildlife watchers also spend a lot of time in... Full Story

Trespassing -- No Need To!

Garmin Montana 600 with a picture of actual spot and hunt spot in the S. Wagontire Unit. I did the computer download and on a blank sd card on this Montana. I like the software and google earth on my computer to review spots and new spots, then send out the gpx file waypoints) to the hunters.
By Frank Biggs
08/15/15 -- Recently there was a great article written in Oregon Hunters Magazine about Trespassing and Trespassing laws in Oregon. How many people know that there could be restitution of up to $6250.00 for... Full Story

Waterfowl regs set for 2015-2016 season

Ducks and geese at Gray Lodge. CDFW photo by Lori Deiter.
08/10/15 -- The California Fish and Game Commission adopted the 2015-16 waterfowl hunting regulations on Aug. 5. The season length for brant in the Northern Brant and Balance of State Brant special management... Full Story

More RMEF grants to help Idaho elk

07/16/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $211,400 in grants that will fund more than a dozen habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage projects in the state of Idaho.The grants will directly benefit... Full Story

RMEF: Watch for #ProjectElk Documentary

07/14/15 -- A one-hour television documentary titled #PROJECTELK will help North America continue an on-going dialogue about the benefits of hunting and its positive impact on conservation. Produced by Jason Matzinger and presented... Full Story

Oregon Sleeper State for Pronghorns

A very good Pronghorn in the South Wagontire hunt unit in Oregon
By Frank Biggs
06/30/15 -- With time in the field, knowledge comes! No one comes out knowing everything about hunting but over the years I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge about hunting Pronghorn that roam the high plains and arid lands... Full Story

How much venison do hunters harvest?

Venison Bourguignon (Venison Stew), photo by Daniel Bledsoe,
06/17/15 -- The Dallas Safari Club (DSC) intends to find out. A study launching in 2015 will measure the actual amounts of venison and other wild protein harvested annually in North America. Researchers will assess the nutritional... Full Story

RMEF: 2015 Elk Camp registration opens

06/12/15 -- Full registration is now open and available online for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 31st Elk Camp national convention set to take place Dec. 3-6, 2015, at The Mirage in Las Vegas. “Elk Camp always generates a buzz of... 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

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

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,
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, 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.
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: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, 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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