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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

Mule deer head found in jeep, 5 charged

Mule Deer head in back of jeep, OSP
08/2714 -- Five people are facing wildlife-related charges following an investigation that led to the discovery of the head of a freshly killed mule deer in a vehicle about 9 miles southwest of Pendleton near the Umatilla... Full Story

Boone & Crockett welcomes new leaders

08/25/14 -- Thirty-six conservation pros from across the U.S. are about to embark on a training odyssey described as "one of the most far-reaching professional development initiatives ever undertaken" in natural resource... Full Story

Sky Lakes Wilderness 790 fire update

08/24/14 -- Fire activity continues to be moderate as the fire moves in an eastern direction progressing one mile east of the Pacific Crest Trail north of Luther Mountain. The fire has grown to a total size of 1150 acres. Today, crews... Full Story

2014 Modoc Big Buck Contest

Modoc Big Buck Contest flyer
Article by Lorissa Soriano
08/23/14 -- Attention all Buck Hunters!! The 2014 Modoc Big Buck Contest is currently underway. It’s not too late to register for the event as long as you have an unused California deer tag and have not harvested... Full Story

Part of PC Trail closed in OR due to fire

RSF 236 Closure Map
08/23/14 -- The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) located between Oregon State Highway 140 north to the Crater Lake National Park Boundary will close at 12:01 a. m. August 23, 2014. This portion of trail is approximately 25 miles... 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

CWA comments on BDCP

08/17/14 -- In late July, California Waterfowl submitted comments on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The BDCP is the Habitat Conservation Plan that would provide Endangered Species Act permits for building... Full Story

Kids get their shot at pheasants

Duanne Dungannon photo, bow with shotgun and retriever with duck
By Tyler Dungannon
08/14/14 --  [Story printed with permission from OHA] Young Oregon hunters can take advantage of extraordinary opportunities to enjoy a day or two of pheasant hunting in September, perhaps even with a guide... Full Story

​Kruger Farms/CWA free duck hunt raffle

08/14/14 -- Less Than a Month to go! Kruger Farms and California Waterfowl are offering a FREE duck hunt for two at Kruger Farms Gear Testing farm in western Minnesota during the 2014-15 season! Airfare, lodging, meals... 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

CA waterfowl/dove hunting regs approved

08/07/14 -- California Waterfowl reports the waterfowl and dove hunting regulations for the 2014-15 hunting season have been approved by the California Fish and Game Commission – and overall the situation looks good... Full Story

Oregon Antelope Outlook

lone antelope lying in field, photo by Tyler Dungannon
By Tyler Dungannon
08/06/14 -- Antelope face some dry conditions on the range this year in southeast Oregon. When antelope endure drought, they tend to cluster together, which may make hunting difficult. According to ODFW biologists... Full Story

Oregon bird/fish regs on governor’s desk

08/05/14 -- The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved a $357 million budget proposal for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the 2015-17 biennium that includes a combination of program cuts... Full Story

Help OSP solve Douglas Co. poaching case

07/31/14 -- Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish and Wildlife Division is asking for the public’s help in identifying the person(s) responsible for killing three deer and leaving them to waste in Douglas County, July 18-24, 2014... Full Story

Enter Big R Big Buck Contest now

Numerous Big Game Mounts. Photo taken at Daniken’s Taxidermy in Gold Hills, Oregon, by Jason Haley
07/30/14 -- Pre-Registration is open now for the Top of Form43rd Annual “Big Buck,” “Lucky Buck,” or “No Buck” Contest at the Big R stores in White City, Klamath Falls and Redmond. Bow hunters’ last day to register is August... Full Story

​A-Zone opener great for Alturas archer!

Dan Ryan of Alturas bagged this nice 3x3 buck
Article by Lorissa Soriano
07/29/14 -- Dan Ryan of Alturas and one of his good hunting buddies,"JP,” of El Dorado Hills, bagged these nice bucks during the season opener of A-zone archery. This was a great way to kick off the 2014 archery deer... Full Story

CDFW waterfowl hunting clinic in Redding

07/27/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program and California Waterfowl Association are sponsoring a waterfowl hunting clinic in Redding on Saturday, Sept. 20... Full Story

Sauna Weather Hog

John Higley, author, kneeling at edge of muddy water hole looking for wild pig tracks. San Luis Obispo County.
By John Higley
07/13/14 -- I killed my first wild pig, a toothy, spotted boar in 1965. It was on a hunt with hounds in San Luis Obispo County with guide Eldon Bergman. I’ve never forgotten the commotion when we got close enough... 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

ODFW: Get controlled hunt draw online

06/20/14 -- Hunters who applied for a 2014 fall controlled hunt can find out now if they drew the tag through the Hunting Resources section of ODFW’s website or by calling 503-947-6102 or 800-708-1782. Calls made... 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

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

Stay sharp for when the shot counts

Daisy Pellet Rifle, Powerline 1000S
By Jesse Bible
12/01/13 -- I would like to share a method for honing shooting skills. Here in Northern California, the odds are that you will be taking a close shot at a deer that has more than likely seen you first. Once you have determined... 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

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

Francisco Garcia, Outdoorman's Diary, bad hunting story 08/28/12 -- 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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