Tuesday, November 18, 2003
The state of Mississippi opened season on snipe Nov. 14, which extends until Feb. 28. The daily bag limit is eight birds, the possession limit is 16. The common snipe (Capella gallinago) is a winter resident in the southern United States.
A member of the sandpiper family (Scolopacidae), the snipe frequents bogs, marshes and wet meadows. They are similar in size to a mourning dove. They have a very short, erratic flight that makes them among the toughest of North American game birds to harvest.
Snipe are most active in flocks just before sunrise and just after sunset. The traditional method for bagging them is to send a trapper into an area armed with a small flashlight and a burlap sack. Other hunters beat the bushes in a ring around the trapper in an effort to drive confused birds into the bag itself. Regrettably, this method often meets with limited success and usually results in someone simply left holding the bag as the other hunters range further and further afield in search of the elusive birds.
A more successful snipe hunt is usually carried out in a lowland field on overcast days with the aid of a twelve-gauge shotgun and a well-trained dog.
Snipe can be prepared for the table much as dove and woodcock. A ripe Chardonnay goes well with the bird, though some people prefer a vintage Ripple.