Thursday, March 3, 2011
Snipe Hunting! More to me than a practical joke!
However to me, Snipe Hunting is not a practical joke. In fact it can be some of the best wing shooting that you can participate in. I found this out while I was working for East Georgia Turf Farms in Statesboro, Georgia. I was fresh out of college and took a job with EGTF as a salesman selling sod and golf course construction jobs. The sod farm was a beautiful farm with large fields of green, green grass always maintained to perfection. In order to keep this beautiful grass ready for harvest, the irrigation system was run on a daily basis. This led to drainage ditches that constantly held water, especially in low lying areas. We even had some low lying small ponds that attracted several species of ducks. Hunting on the sod farm was a company perk and one that I took advantage of on a weekly basis. Although ducks and doves were always on my mind, the sod farm was home to another lesser known game bird, the Common Wilson's Snipe.
Snipe like wet areas just like the ones that we had on the farm. It was not too uncommon in South Georgia to jump a snipe while fishing around one of your favorite ponds, but other than that you just didn't see very many of them at one time. That was not the case on the farm. These guys grouped up in groups of 20 or more and could be forced out of their homes by walking irrigation ditches through the fields. Think shooting quail that have been flushed from a ditch. They are very quick and dart around your shot pattern with ease, but they are not very smart. I could walk up a group, fire off a couple of shots and then watch them as they gained altitude just to fly back over me again offering a third shot. Then they would just fly down the ditch and light on the other end of the field. Pick up your kills and start walking. Get the group up again and start the process over. Easy, peasy, lemon squeasy! If you could shoot just a little you could get your limit of 15 on any given afternoon. There were some afternoons when one field would yield my limit. I have never seen more Snipe in one place than I did on that sod farm. They were there by the 100's. It was a blast!! We had a good time eating them as well. Batter and fry those bad boys and it was just like eating a small dove. If you get a chance to chase these little guys, you should definitely do it. I always thought it to be a combination of quail hunting and dove hunting and what could possibly be better than that?
I was reminded of my Snipe Hunting days by two different things last week. The first was I jumped one of the little rascals at my Dad's pond while Reid and I were trying to catch a fish. It scared me to death as it took off across the pond. The second was I read about a Snipe Hunting adventure on "The Maine Outdoorsman". (No link to the actual story because I don't feel like trying to find it again). He was successful in killing ONE snipe. It made me realize how lucky I have been with some of the hunting opportunities that I have had in my life. I had never seen Snipe like that before and I have never seen them like that again. I just happen to come along when the getting was good and was able to enjoy the chase that God provided. I had some good days on that farm! We would get up for an early morning duck hunt, change ammo and hunt snipe until lunch, hit the fields in the late afternoon for some good dove shooting and then hit the creek one more time for a few late arriving Wood ducks. That is a day in heaven for a wing shooter like myself!!
I haven't killed a Snipe in over 15 years. Like I said, you just don't see them that often around here, but I still have wonderful memories of the chase that the Wilson's Common Snipe provided! As my buddy from Down East would say....
God love it!!