If you think ducks, geese and doves are the only migratory birds to hunt in winter, you couldn’t be more wrong.
There’s another game bird that is plentiful in the right habitat, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Anybody who has good shallow wetlands where they hunt ducks or geese should always keep their eyes out for snipe,” said Bill Riley of Vicksburg. “They look a lot like small doves when flying but they have large beaks and they will jump up and fly only a short distance before setting back down.
“In other words, once you get on them, you can keep shooting them without fear of running them off. We have this one area where we have two little marshy patches, separated by a levee that doubles as a UTV trail. We put shooters on the levee, and then have guys in waders walk through marsh and jump the snipe. They get up and fly to the other marsh, passing right over the shooters. Then we go and jump them again, and they fly right back across the levee to the other spot. The limit is eight apiece a day, and we usually get that in a couple of passes.”
There’s a bonus.
“People ask me a lot about eating snipe, and I always have the same answer,” Riley said, winking. “They are horrible; give all you shoot to me. They are actually wonderful. They are very similar to doves, only a bit smaller. We breast them out and cook them the same way we do dove.”
More migratory seasons
* Dove: Open through Jan. 15, statewide. Limit is 15 per person per day.
* Geese: Open through Jan. 29, and then again Feb. 4-15.The daily limits include: 3 Canada geese; 20 in aggregate of snow, blue and Ross’ geese; 3 white-fronted geese; 1 brant goose.
* Light goose conservation order: Open Feb. 16-March 31 for snow, blue and Ross’ geese only. There is no limit.
* Snipe: Open through Feb. 28. Limit is 8 per person per day.
* Crow: Open through Feb. 28. There is no limit.