Snipe Hunt Directions
Jack Finnerty (finnerty@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Tue, 21 Mar 1995 17:55:35 -0500
Many boys introduce new scouts into "snipe hunting" on one of the first
outings. An ASM in a local troop here in Fairfax, VA put the following
THE SNIPE HUNT
Over the past several years, a controversy has been raging within
several of the local troops as to the existence of snipe. Well, the
common snipe, otherwise known simply as snipe, is one of several snipe
species that inhabit new- and old- growth forests of the north-central
Atlantic states. The snipe is a nocturnal bird. This means that, like
owls, it feeds after night-fall, by foraging for worms, grubs, snails, and
seeds. However, unlike owls it does not fly at night, but instead, runs
rKather fast though the underbrush. Snipe are extremely territorial and
tend to travel in mated pairs, though not always. A snipe will
aggressively chase a competitor out of its territory.
In the early part of this century, the snipe inhabited marshy
areas exclusively. However, a great deal of predation, primarily by duck
hunters, forced several of the remaining snipe species to migrate to
forested areas which offered more places to hide. Please note: The snipe
is not a federally listed threatened or endangered species.
The Snipe Hunting Method
The successful snipe hunt is a cooperative effort. It should be
undertaken by groups of boys. Each group should number a minimum of 4
boys but not more than 11. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHOULD A BOY ATTEMPT TO
HUNT A SNIPE ALONE. Besides the fact that he is not likely to succeed, he
could get himself hurt, disoriented, and lost. There is only one recorded
instance in the annals where one boy hunted a snipe alone, though his
success is a matter for debate. A young lad from Anne Arundel County,
Maryland, being somewhat hefty, was slow and tired, and got himself
separated from his hunting group when he stopped to rest. Realizing that
he was lost, he began to panic and wandered aimlessly in the woods until
at last he caught sight of one of his fellow hunter's flashlight beam.
Anxious to catch up, he ran toward the light and squashed a napping snipe
under his boot. Obviously, the disgustingly bloody and gutsy mess was not
edible. But worse yet, having squashed the hapless snipe, he slipped as
though he stepped on a banana peel, sprained his left ankle and broke his
right arm in two places. SO REMEMBER BOYS: STAY TOGETHER!!!
Hunting Method and Strategy
Experience and statistical analyses over the past several years
have clearly demonstrated that the following method and strategy are tried
and true. However, due to the fact that snipe are quite cunning, hunting
success by boys is usually limited to less than 50 percent.
1. Each hunting group is to designate a hunt coordinator, one snipe
caller, and one alternate snipe caller. The callers should be scouts who
are good whistlers. The callers are to get calling instructions from the
Senior Patrol Leader.
2. Each Hunting group will be equipped with a brown paper bag. Shaman
will demonstrate how to fold each bag to simulate a snipe burrow.
3. Each hunting group will divide itself into two subgroups. A subgroup is
to place itself at about 25 yards from the other. The subgroup with the
brown paper bag is to also have the snipe caller with it.
4. Both subgroups are to remain as hidden and as quiet as possible. The
brown paper bag is placed low to the ground to simulate a snipe burrow and
held open with both hands. At a given signal (by flashlight), the snipe
caller will begin his call.
5. The idea is to listen for any approaching sound through the underbrush.
A snipe will rush toward a snipe call to either find a potential mate or
to fight off a potential competitor.
6. When an approaching sound is heard by the subgroup holding the bag,
they are to signal the other subgroup (by a different flashlight signal)
to rush the approaching snipe.
7. The snipe, upon hearing the noise behind it, will think that it is
being hunted by some animal, will then pick-up speed and will run into the
simulated snipe burrow (brown paper bag), whereupon the bag must be closed
shut as quickly as possible to prevent the snipe from escaping.
A WORD OF CAUTION
The brown paper bag is to be held away from the body, since the
speeding snipe could poke its pointy beak through the bottom of the paper
bag and into your leg, knee, or other sensitive body parts, so PLEASE BE
CAREFUL. SNIPE MAKE GOOD EATING, BUT THEY ARE NOT WORTH GETTING INJURED
In the event that you catch a snipe see your leader for
defeathering, gutting, and cooking instructions.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City