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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

Don't use B&C scoring on captive deer

12/17/14 -- The Boone and Crockett Club today reaffirmed its objection and rejection to the use of its name and scoring system in conjunction with captive deer and elk. So says an official resolution presented and signed by... 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

Deadline nears for January CWA hunts

12/12/14 – Applications for some of the premier hunts offered in January by California Waterfowl are due at noon on December 15. If you are interested in taking part in these hunts you should contact CWA immediately... Full Story

In the Moment: Oregon Duck Hunt

Reno, a Chesapeake Bay retriever makes a retrieve out of the frigid water of the Crooked River. Photo by Gary Lewis
Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/10/14 -- "Widgeons," Sackerson whispered. A flock of ducks streaked out of the sunrise and I picked one out, swung with it and put the bead on the tip of its beak and squeezed, followed-through. Missed. Fifteen ducks in... 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

F&GC releases 2015 meeting schedule

12/09/14 -- The CA Fish and Game Commission has released its agenda for its January 14 Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in Sacramento as well as the meeting dates and locations for both the WR Committee meetings... Full Story

Bighorn sheep relocated in S. Oregon

Bighorn sheep running out of truck into freedom, ODFW photos
12/08/14 -- ODFW captured and relocated California bighorn sheep at several locations this week to improve genetic diversity among herds and continue efforts to restore this native species in Oregon. Twenty bighorn sheep were released on... Full Story

Waterfowl hunts added to Upper BBWA

12/08/14 -- California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced that additional waterfowl hunting opportunities will soon be available at Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area. The Llano Seco Unit of the Upper... Full Story

Inyo County man arrested for deer poaching

  Tracking dog Sieger helped wildlife officers locate a poached trophy deer. CDFW photo
12/06/14 -- California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers arrested a poacher today in Inyo County for allegedly illegally killing a trophy 3×3 deer in the G-3 zone. Joseph Eugene Bragdon, 37, of Bishop was taken... Full Story

Economics 101: ‘Hunting Works for Oregon’

12/04/14 -- Stressing the major impact hunting and recreational shooting have on Oregon’s economy, a broad group of local and regional leaders representing sporting organizations, small businesses and retailers today announced... Full Story

CDFW plans deer hunter opinion survey

12/03/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is updating its Deer Management Plan. To assist with this planning effort, CDFW has selected Responsive Management, a company specializing in natural... Full Story

December 2014 CDFW Calendar

11/29/14 -- Crow season opens on December 6 and extends through April 8, 2015. General bear season opened concurrently with general deer season in the A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 deer hunting zones... Full Story

Are Ducks In Heaven?

Don Webster, Illustration by Everett D. Wilson
By Don E. Webster
11/24/14 -- [Author’s Note: Inevitably, this time of year causes me to reminisce about the many great experiences I've had in the outdoors, many of which were spent in the marshes with friends. I'd like to share a chapter from... Full Story

Bucks & Bulls contest gaining momentum

Elk antlers, Jason Haley
By Jason Haley
11/19/14 -- It’s taken a while, but the annual Bucks and Bulls contest at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Medford is finally taking shape. I stopped by a few days ago and there are now 11 bull elk, 11 blacktail bucks... Full Story

My Best Friend Always Wears a Fur Coat

Don Webster author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com, The oudoor edge
11/17/14 -- Like many waterfowlers, I’ve been around hunting dogs as long as I can remember. More than likely, when I came home from the hospital as a newborn, there was a hunting dog of some sort riding with me and my mother in the... Full Story

For the turkey hunter in your life

By Frank Galusha
11/17/14 -- Successful Turkey Hunting by John Higley with contributions from J. J. Reich should be in every experienced or would-be turkey hunter’s reading and re-reading list. This book covers all the basics but within every... Full Story

Connecting with Fall Turkeys

Fall flock of turkeys, John Higley, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By John Higley
11/08/14 -- Judging from the number of wild turkeys I’ve seen recently in my travels around Shasta County I’d say fall hunting will be fair, if not outstanding, this year. It all depends on the number of turkeys in the area where you’re hunting... Full Story

Pheasant season opens Saturday

Kona, Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Alturas photo courtesy of Dan Ryan
11/05/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is providing several pheasant hunting opportunities at Northern California Type A wildlife areas for 2014. The general pheasant season opens on Nov. 8...  Full Story

Eden Landing ER hunts to be allowed

Waterfowl hunting at sunrise photo courtesy of CA DFW
10/23/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering fall waterfowl hunting opportunities at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. The reserve includes former salt ponds now managed by... 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

Don’t forget waterfowl hunt regs!

By Frank Galusha
09/19/19 -- As usual, our waterfowl hunting regulations are complex and the dates are hard to remember. Be safe and carry a regulation booklet with you at all times. Or print out the regulations directly from the CA... 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

Water shortage hurts pheasant outlook

09/10/14 -- [Updated 09/11/14] -- Pheasant season is less than two months away and this morning Pheasants Forever confirmed what most California hunters have suspected. The severe drought plaguing our state is crippling our pheasant... Full Story

Feral pig hunting to start on the SRNWR

08/19/14 -- Beginning September 1, 2014, the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge (SRNWR) will allow feral pig hunting in authorized areas. This decision will improve consistency of the refuge hunt plan... 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

Oregon program takes disabled youths afield

Ashley Jensen in wheel chair in front of blind used when she hunts.
By Jason Haley
07/06/14 -- It began decades ago with a prayer and a broken-winged raven, struggling to move across the beach in the Cook Inlet of Alaska. As former pastor, Ken Coreson watched this scene play out: seagulls... Full Story

John M. Browning

By Don E. Webster
02/05/14 -- One has to wonder how differently the history of not only America, but the entire world would have been if John Moses Browning (January 23, 1855 – November 26, 1926) had not been born... 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

The Mudhen King

Mid-Eighties. I’m writing screenplays. They invite me down to Hollywood, and things look promising, but they want the horse in my story to be green. By that, I mean they actually want a green horse. Green in color. Don’t laugh... 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 of Nature-Drunk.com, 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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