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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

Sportsman’s Warehouse flyers showing here

By Frank Galusha
03/25/15 -- Attention MyOutdoorBuddy readers! If you live near a Sportsman’s Warehouse facility in Northern California or Southern Oregon their Spring Hunting SALE flyers are showing here. You don’t have to subscribe to a daily... Full Story

​CDFW’s plan for deer up for review

Photo of deer in the misty woods, photo by CDFW
03/24/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its draft Deer Conservation and Management Plan, which is now available for public comment and review. CDFW is proposing to develop 10 large-scale...  Full Story

Spring turkey season opens Mar. 28

Wild turkey photo courtesy of CADFW
03/21/15 -- California’s 2015 general spring wild turkey hunting season opens statewide on March 28 and extends through May 3, with the archery season extending through May 17. Hunters who have a current junior hunting... Full Story

Improvements coming for OR elk habitat

03/20/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has awarded grants to fund 20 conservation projects that will improve more than 23,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the state of Oregon. The grants total $279,733 and directly... Full Story

OSP seeks help again for elk poaching

Poached Elk, photo courtesy of OSP, Fish and Wildlife Division
03/17/15 -- The Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish and Wildlife Division in Newport is asking for the public's help locating the person(s) responsible for the unlawful killing and waste of two bull elk in Lincoln County. On Wednesday, March 4... 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

CWA sponsors State Bills AB 665 & SB 615

03/13/15 -- Two members of the California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus, Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) and Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto), are partnering with CWA on legislation in 2015. AB 665 (Frazier) would keep local... Full Story

Pintail banding crew wraps up Sac Valley

Banded birds being released, photo courtesy of CWA
03/12/15 -- CWA's Post Season Pintail banding crew had one last capture event last week netting an additional 159 pintail and two new recaptures. There were six volunteers providing invaluable help including three from The Nature Conservancy... Full Story

ODFW offers youths guided turkey hunts

Zack with his spring turkey taken on the C2 Ranch in Jackson County in 2012. Photo by Rob Romancier
03/11/15 -- ODFW is offering youth hunters (ages 17 and under) the chance to win a guided turkey hunt on a private ranch in Jackson County during the spring 2015 turkey season. Ten hunts will be raffled off on March 31, 2015. Winners will receive... Full Story

Apply for CWA youth hunts now!

03/09/15 -- California Waterfowl's fall hunt program has passed and now its spring hunt program is getting underway. Look for spring turkey and pig hunts spanning from Redding to King City. These hunts include opportunities for youth... Full Story

CDFW offers pig hunt clinic in April

Attendees gathered around CDFW hunting instructor with pig laying before him as he teaches them about hunting. photo courtesy of CDFW
03/05/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program and the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Association are offering a wild pig hunting clinic Saturday, April 18 in Lockwood...  Full Story

Hog Wild

Bill and Gerry Adelman posing with Gerry's hog, photo by Bill Adelman
By Bill Adelman
03/02/15 -- Pig in a poke.. When pigs fly.. In a pigs eye.. Pig latin.. Fat as a pig.. Lipstick on a pig.. Sweating like a pig! Where did all of these attributions to the imported hog begin? Why did they catch on? Why are they... Full Story

ODFW: Get ready to hunt this spring!

02/25/15 -- ODFW has openings in several hunter education classes coming up in late February and March. “Spring is a great time to take hunter education,” says James Reed, ODFW hunter education coordinator... 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

What to do in Modoc in winter?

A group of hunters from Modoc county holding rifles and posing for a picture during a day of shooting practice, photo by Lorissa Soriano
Article and Photos by Lorissa Soriano
02/04/15 -- So what else is there to do in Modoc after big game, waterfowl and upland game bird seasons are over? Fishing is generally slow this time of year. Grounds are usually frozen, so there aren’t any squirrels as of yet popping... 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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