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IDing woodcock and snipe #14200891 10/14/19
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JJWise Offline OP
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Haven’t hunted either much other than a woodcock that my dog flushed opportunistically while we were looking for quail, but I’m looking to get into it more often. Here, our woodcock and snipe have very different seasons, but it seems that they look nearly identical, especially when you’re faced with a flushed bird rapidly getting away. What do you look for to tell the difference? Not just the anatomical differences that could be spotted on the ground, how do you tell in flight?

BP

Re: IDing woodcock and snipe [Re: JJWise] #14201172 10/14/19
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woodmaster81 Offline
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I differentiate by location/habitat, body shape, flight characteristics, sound upon flush, and distance they flush at. Color is also a possibility but a silhouetted bird is mostly black. The first three above are my major cues as they are so different. I have seen snipe while hunting woodcock but it was rare and it was an obvious snipe area tucked into the woods rather than the snipe in woodcock habitat. The only time I have seen woodcock in snipe habitat has been at night and that was mostly in the spring.

Woodcock and snipe appear similar in books, in real life they are as different as quail and woodcock. I have much more concern distinguishing snipe from a number of other shorebirds- none of which are legal game and share the same habitat. It isn't tough but it can be tricky at times. If I don't positively know, I don't shoot.

Last edited by woodmaster81; 10/14/19.
Re: IDing woodcock and snipe [Re: JJWise] #14469427 01/15/20
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castnblast Offline
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Woodsmaster81 knows what he's talking about. A couple more comments: Snipe invariably take off at a shallow angle away from you, and often make an alarm call many people describe as the word '"scaipe". Very different than the almost vertical flush of most woodcock and their quiet twittering call. Snipe wing beats are very short & rapid and they zig zag and twist more than woodcock. Woodcock in flight are quick, but wing beats are more of a "flutter". I've hunted snipe a lot, woodcock only one trip. I didn't have any trouble telling the difference as a first time woodcock hunter.

Re: IDing woodcock and snipe [Re: JJWise] #14470442 01/15/20
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shawlerbrook Offline
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Woodcock take off like a helicopter and make a distinctive sound. Have a long needle like beak.

Re: IDing woodcock and snipe [Re: JJWise] #14471435 01/15/20
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kid0917 Offline
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agree, woodcock are a lighter color, rounder, take off more vertically. and are usually in semi-open timbered wet areas.

snipe, low departure, make the "scape scape" sound, not round, and darker. usually in open wet areas.

IC-A


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