That ever-elusive snipe has been teasing campers for years. People hunt and look, but snipes are extremely hard to find. (Some have even doubted their existence, if you can believe that.) Those little buggers are, indeed, real, and fairly easy to catch if you use the right techniques. Here are some hints to catch all the snipes you want.
Know What to Look For
One of the reasons snipes are hard to catch is because people don't know what they are looking for. A snipe is a mid-size rodent, about the size of a jack rabbit. However, unlike most rodents, it has feathered wings. Note that the rest of its body is covered in fur, like a mammal, but the wings are feathered. Nobody has ever seen a snipe fly, so we assume the wings are fairly dysfunctional. However, they are able to catch some air when fleeing from a predator. (I'd love to post a picture, but I've never taken an actual picture of a snipe. And, for some reason, I can't find an accurate picture on the internet, other than the snipe bird- which is NOT what we are looking for. Strange- I thought you could find everything on the internet.)
Set a Plan
Most people go on snipe hunts without a definite plan, which is why they don't have a lot of success. Snipes are very smart animals. They have very few defensive traits (no sharp teeth or claws, minimal speed, no defensive odor mechanisms) which make them easy prey to predators.
They have adapted over the years to become master hiders. The best way to find them is to lure them out of their hiding places. You can do so with a little bit of planning and patience. Here are some tips:
Deer Urine- Yup, just like hunting deer, you can catch a snipe with deer pee. Snipes love deer because they are docile. They also eat the same brush and plants. If you see deer tracks, chances are, snipes have been there, too. Get some deer pee scent (like THIS) and cover your face, legs, arms, and anything else exposed to air. Then sit very, very quietly and wait. This may take a few hours, but its worth it.
Milk Chocolate- There have been many reports of snipe teeth marks in chocolate. Snipe teeth a flat and blunt. They tend to eat milk chocolate, but leave dark chocolate alone- I guess their palates are not fully refined at this point. Leave chocolate out during the day to attract snipes. REMEMBER TO PUT IT AWAY AT NIGHT - bears also love chocolate. Like young children, chocolate does make snipes fairly hyper. If you use this method, wear good running shoes. Those little fellas can run and jump!
John Denver- Snipes are mesmerized by the smooth, earthy sound of John Denver songs. Hunters all over use his music to lure in snipes- particularly adult male snipes. Hunters have reported particular success with "Take Me Home Country Road" and "Sunshine on My Shoulders". If you play guitar, you're in luck. Ukulele? Even better. Pan flute- that's like a siren call to snipes. Sit around the campfire, play your John Denver, and sing along. Within a couple verses, the snipes should migrate over to the outer areas of your campsite.
*Note- Snipes HATE "Kumbaya" and anything with endless verses. You'll never see a snipe if you sing those songs.
Docile Animal Noise - Snipes, for some reason, are particularly attracted to "clucks" or "quacks" like chicken or duck sounds. (Remember they have wings, so I'm assuming they are part bird.) They are not only attracted to clucking and quacking, but the sounds actually make them feel safer. However, you can't make the noises loudly, you have to cluck or quack under your breath, moving your mouth minimally. If you make a pattern, "cluck, cluck, cluck, quack, quack, cluck, quack," you might have better luck.
How to Catch the Snipe
Okay, you've finally attracted that elusive snipe- now what do you do? This is the tricky part. Snipes are skiddish little creatures. Especially if you've lured them with chocolate, you never know how they're going to react. However, if you follow these simple steps, you should successfully catch that snipe.
1- Walk on crouched legs. Snipes are afraid of height. If you walk in a crouch (knees bent), you'll feel less aggressive to the snipe.
2- Keep clucking and quacking. This calms the snipe into submission.
3- Using a pillow case, go in from behind the snipe and trap him in the pillow case. If he faces you, circle around him to go from behind. Snipes have terrible peripheral vision and won't be able to see you behind him. If he turns around, keep circling until you are behind him. Remember to stay crouched while clucking/quacking as you circle him.
4- Once you've trapped the snipe in the pillowcase, you're set. Bring the little bugger back to camp and prepare him for some delicious eating.
Have you had any success with snipe hunting? What techniques have you found to be effective? Maybe post your favorite snipe recipe! We'd love any ideas.