When most people think of snipe hunting, they think of the mythical bird that adults would send children on a wild goose chase to find. Descriptions of the bird vary, depending on who assigned the imaginary quest. Likewise, methods on how to catch the make-believe snipe also vary. However, what many people don’t realize is that a snipe actually is a real game bird!
What is a Snipe?
The Wilson’s Snipe is a small, solitary brown bird with a thin cream colored stripe down the center of it’s head. Their most distinctive feature is a long, prehensile bill that gives them an advantage when foraging for insects and earthworms in muddy habitats. Snipe are migratory birds and winter in the southern part of North America in marshes, bog, and wet meadows.
When is Snipe Season?
Snipe season runs from November 15th through February 28th.
How do I hunt snipe?
Snipe hunting is simple and a lot of fun. You don’t need dogs, game calls, or decoys to have a successful hunt. However, because these birds live in marsh areas be prepared to get muddy on your snipe adventure. A good strategy is to walk slowly through mudflats and flush the birds from their location on the ground. Once flushed they quickly pick up speed, so be ready to aim and pull the trigger. Beginners may want to start slow by only taking one bird at a time as snipe easily blend into the surrounding habitat and can be hard to locate. Be sure to mark where the bird falls or you’ll lose track of them quickly.
*If you plan on using dogs — Snipe do not hold point and flush on their own, so hunting with a pointing dog may be difficult. Using a retriever will help you keep track of your snipe though!
Snipe Hunting Regulations:
Because snipe are migratory birds, they’re regulated on a federal level instead of by the state of Georgia. The daily bag limit is 8 birds and legal hours begin half an hour before sunrise and end at sunset. You can hunt with a shotgun no larger than a 10-gauge and may not use a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
Birds may not be completely field dressed and must retain the head or one fully feathered wing for identification purposes.
More information on hunting regulations for snipe may be found at: https://georgiawildlife.com/FederalRegulationsSummary
What license do I need?
Snipe requires a general hunting license and a $5 Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp (free for landowners hunting their own land.) A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the duck stamp, is also required for hunters 16 years old and older.
Where can I hunt snipe?
Because snipe enjoy wetter areas, drained waterfowl impoundments are perfect locations. Impoundments are usually drained at the end of January making February the best month to try your hand at snipe hunting. Altamaha Wildlife Management Area in southeast Georgia provides excellent snipe habitat with 3,154 acres of managed waterfowl impoundments!