Hunting woodcock in spring is considered to be the hunt, which is open to almost every hunter, to get permission to shoot this bird fairly easy and cheap.
Hunting for woodcockappeared in Russia, obviously, together with a gun hunting with pointing dogs in the early XVIII century. But especially popular it has become since the beginning of the XIX century. This was facilitated by the progress in weapons technology, when to replace shock flint castle came shompolnye the gun with primer. At that time among Russian hunters special popularity of hunting woodcocks in the spring pouringfrom under gundogs. S. T. Aksakov wrote that hunting in the spring are pouring fabulously successful:
“Vysypte are sometimes so numerous that even the most experienced and cold-blooded hunter embarrassed and confused, and a young, hot, just crazy, and if it will be joined by the dog that chases the bird, then in a few minutes raspolagetsya and smashed God knows where cotenna vysypte”.
Going on a hunt for woodcock on mysapce and pausing till evening, the hunter, knowing that in the evening woodcocks began to make their mating flights above the forest, had to stand and rod. However, soon such the hunting of the woodcockacquired an independent character, and the hunters went specifically for traction. Landlords, being fond of hound hunting, not very fond to indulge in hunting woodcock with a gundog. But in the spring of canids hunting was gone.
After a short winter lull after hunting hare hunting in the spring open, which allows hunters to enjoy shooting birds. Woodcock refers to those birds which are actively shoot for the spring draft. Here it is clear that hunt only on males, because females are preparing for the hatching. Many hunters every year looking forward to hunting woodcock in spring, because they are fans of the woodcock and can’t imagine my life without hunting.
Why hunting woodcock in spring is so like the hunters?
This hunting does not requires from the hunter a long and serious preparation. Here you need to take care of weapons, ammunition, clothing and licensing documents. The day of the hunt and the anticipation of heading to the hunting grounds in search of woodcock close to the forest. Further there is the very act of hunting, which includes choosing the right location for hunting and a small disguise so as not to give himself to the woodcock. When the woodcock flies up to the hunter on a distance of shot, then in the stillness of the forest there is a crash and the creature falls to the ground. That’s how it is in a perfect picture, but in practice it happens very differently. Hunter gets in the wrong place, so the woodcock flies, not where we would like. Ammo curb is not the numbers of the fraction, which leads to mistakes, and sometimes we cannot even see the bird on the alleged plot.
After a long frosty snowy winter, the Russian people were inexorably drawn to the awakening after the winter sleep the woods. Well, if he was a hunter, then – on the hunt. So there was a true Russian spring hunting, including spring hunting of woodcock. Often this hunt was going a hunting company. Here’s how such a hunt described by Sergei Aksakov:
“If the company is large and snipe a lot, shots are heard constantly, as a runaway gun fire; sometimes forest echo loudly repeats them in a thin cool spring air, rolling echoes of the forest ravines; with amazement stops a traveler or passer-by, surprised at such a frequent and hot shooting, like the gunfight with the enemy in the advance circuit. The darkness of the night stops shooting. Meet the hunters; with rapt attention to rush the eye of everyone on aghdasi their comrades, trying to see in the dark, a lot of production from others? Loudly and cheerfully talks about his luck one, shame about the failures of the other. However, this hunting is never very profitable relative to the number of hunters and does not suit compared with the shooting in the pouring”.
In the early XX century hunting rules already prohibited the spring hunting woodcock from under gundogs, but allowed the hunting of woodcock (evening and morning). Even in the 70-ies – the years of bans and severe restrictions on spring hunting –the hunting of the woodcockin a period of 10 days was allowed almost everywhere. In many areas it was the only kind of spring hunting, while hunting for duck with a decoy, wood grouse and black grouse on-current was strictly limited to private, so-called organized farms, to which belonged almost exclusively military and state hunting and hunting hunting.
Model rules of hunting in Russia, adopted in 1986, has officially annually in the spring not only allowed a 10-day hunting woodcock in the evening-drawn, but the use of gun dogs (spaniels and pointers) for the selection of wounded and downed snipe. In recent years, this hunt more and more finds its admirers. By the way, it is the cheapest of all the spring hunts. How to hunt spring woodcock?
The nature and characteristics of hunting woodcock in spring
With the advent of spring all the birds mating season begins, so spring hunting opens exclusively on males of a woodcock. This period of life birds used by hunters in order to shoot it the male, which flies in the evening and morning in the certain places in search of females for mating.
The success of the hunting of woodcockis dependent not only on the choice of specific places where need to stop the hunter but from the nature of the forest, where going hunting. The forest should be “valdshnepy”, that is, to comply with the conditions favorable for breeding snipe.
Place — Where to look for the woodcock in the spring
Typical habitat for the woodcock– mixed forest: birch, alder and aspen with an admixture of spruce, oak and lime groves. A good undergrowth of mountain ash, buckthorn, wild cherry, Euonymus, hazel (hazel) said about the richness of soil and abundance of earthworms, main food of the woodcock.
Woodcock avoidsdry pine forests-Belomestnov, large amounts of solid dark spruce forests, extensive raised bogs of the moss. It is found here in very small numbers. But on the peat pits can be a good thrust woodcock. In the spring during the mass flight of woodcock pulled almost everywhere, but optimal for nesting forests better.
Date — Opening of spring hunting woodcock
When selecting forests need to take into account thedate of the spring hunt. If it’s open and a fairly early so that the forest is still full of snow, woodcock as a rule, avoid to pull in their usual places. Stand on early-drawn knee-deep in snow in their usual places (clearings, roads, glades, clearings) within a large forest is meaningless. By the way, at this time the local birds even a little, and the span is, in accordance with the most cormen, freed from snow in places.Perfect land for hunting just flown and flight woodcock are enemy(urema – low riparian deciduous forest along the river), which is overgrown with bushes, bird cherry, willow, birch and alder river valleys and small rivers. Here woodcocks find food near water’s edge, ponds and zapisov, either on the meadow. Last spring 2008, I was able to visit such places for good traction in the beginning of April. It was a full impression that it was, and thrust, and the real flight. Evening, almost all the woodcocks flew by oreme in one North-easterly direction, focusing on the channel of the river, on both sides. It is noteworthy that in the second half of April woodcocks were not pulled, and the whole thrust moved to the great forest.
Another good place for early thrust woodcock serve the abandoned, overgrown young forest field. The optimal age for such a young aged 5-17. Once the trees grow above 15 meters, the thrust here weaken and woodcocks begin to look for other routes. Tree species composition is also important. If the field is overgrown only by birch, good traction, do not wait. But shrub undergrowth, the presence of willow, alder, aspen, hazel promises good traction. The reason is simple: rich soil and a layer of last years leaves of these trees provide a good food base for woodcock. Typically, wood sandpipers stay here alone for a while. Often thrust here begins with the rise of the male woodcock from the ground right in front of the hunter directly from this young forest.
Finally, sometimes woodcocks at this time pull on the fringes of fields and meadows bordering a large forest, forest ravines, the slopes of which (South West exposure) free from snow.
As snowmelt thrust woodcock moves into the forest. If the soil on the forest glades and thaws to a depth of 3-5 cm, so the woodcock can feed on here. And thus the hunter becomes possible to pull in these places.
Shooting — where to get on traction and how to shoot woodcock
Place hunting of woodcock in the spring should be positioned on the tracks with the highest probability of summer snipe. It is very important to choose the right place for hunting woodcockfrom the point of view of review and ease of shooting. Never you can’t stand directly under the high spreading fur-tree, otherwise it will be difficult to shoot, and over your head and impossible. Better to move away 10-15 metres away from him and stand in low trees or small trees so that woodcocks passing over this tree would be convenient for the side shot.
Also recommend to become a large forest, many pulling over the head snipe you just won’t notice. If on some area of tall forest draws most snipe, go there, do not: if the height of the trees is large, the shots may not be successful. In this case it is necessary to look for areas of low forest, where woodcock are declining. In any case, you have to remember that a stationary hunter woodcock sees the bad and swoops in for a good shot. So do not hide from the woodcock for the trees. At the same time, for the hunter, waiting for woodcock should be a good review. It must advance to prepare for the shot, determine the direction in which woodcock will appear, pre-hearing and seeing it.
What will be the thrust?
Even according to the observations of L. P. Sabaneev,the height of the thrust woodcock coincides with the beginning of the croaking of frogs. Explain. We are not talking about the usual us lake and pond frogs and their forest relatives: herbal and moor. They aktiviziruyutsya much earlier than the first two types. When warming water in the forest pools they occur during the breeding season. Males of these amphibians begin to emit mating sounds. Herbal frogs hum, and the voice of moor resembles a short vzlaivaniya dogs. If they growled, then have a warm night with positive temperature, and hence the pull will be good. Usually active the rumbling of frogs in the suburbs is observed April 12-18, that coincides with anti-friction flight of woodcock and active traction.
In places where the forest is filled with hollow water, at the maximum water level links move in nezateylevaya forest areas. During the recession of floods traction worse. At this time the majority of females sit on the nest, and males first time with them and do not participate in the deadlift.
Weather during the spring hunting quite significantly affects the intensity of thrust woodcock.
Hunting woodcock in spring rod — practice
- Look long-term weather forecast. The impending cold snap with snow promises good traction. However, sometimes if the woodcock have arrived, it is possible to “reverse migration”, i.e. movement of birds to the South. So it is not always the worsening weather leads to poor traction.
- If the wind is from the North or East, to wait for a good pull is not necessary. In contrast, South and West winds, especially subsiding towards evening, promise good traction. This is largely due to the span. Woodcock flies to us mainly from the South-West and follows to the East or North-East. Tailwind always helps to activate the stairs.
- The rain stopped just before sunset, promises good traction. It is especially good when last rain melts the snow in the forest is very damp and fog from melting snow.
- Friendly snowmelt with small drizzling rain promises a good appetite.
- If before the evening dawn is coming in the afternoon, when the wind increases, the thrust will be spoiled.
- If songbirds (thrushes, Robins) singing in the sunset and a little timidly – thrust may not be.
- A shower or thunderstorm during thrust it completely stopped. However, after the cloud has passed, cravings can begin even in the dark.
- If night frost, the morning craving is often richer than the evening.
- If the pre-thrust in the air there are clouds of mosquitoes-Tolkunov, the thrust will be good.
- If the hunt opened later and has already blossomed birch – do not grieve: when birch leaf “penny”, the thrust will again be good. This is due to the arrival of young snipe from appearing after old ones.
- In the last days of the season hunting for traction may be better than in the opening.
- If woodcocks fly in pairs and low to the ground, quickly sit down on the ground, the next day thrust may not be. Usually after two or three nights very friendly thrust it temporarily weakens or may even even stops. This is because females are ready to begin the device nests and incubation, after which many males about 5-7 days to stop cravings and stay with them.
- The more in the woods snipe, the sooner starts the pull.
- After the first days of the opening of hunting the more hunters in the woods and above the hunting press, the later starts craving. Perhaps this is due to the fact that young woodcocks begin to pull in more dark sky, and the old, which are characterized by early initiation of thrust, it came under gunfire in the first days of hunting.
- On a cloudy and wet evening craving starts 15-20 minutes before the in clear and dry weather. When the wind is strong and cold start pull happens 15-20 minutes later.
How to pull the woodcock — three waves
In a classic case of woodcock during the evening, draw the three “waves”. First, at sunset, sometimes in light, flying “the Ranger”, the very first woodcock. Then after 3-4 minutes starts friendly traction throughout the forest. This first “wave” is pretty short, and on a clear evening woodcocks can fly high and uncomfortable to shoot. Sometimes at this time, all woodcocks going edge of the big woods, avoiding clearings and cuttings, where they were waiting for the hunter. Knowing this, experienced hunters stand at first at the borders of the great forest with the undergrowth and glades, and after a short break in traction is transferred to the clearing in the Bush and closer to the centre of the cutting area. In the pause between waves woodcock resting on the ground and feed. The second wave is the most abundant and long-lasting. At this time, the woodcock fly over their most favorite places. But it started to get dark, and snipe stopped. Many go to the cars, heading for home or hunting Lodge. Along the way, they no-no, and hear pulling woodcock. This means that the third wave, and they hurried away from the place.
Experienced valdshnepy recommend particularly quiet, humid evening not to hurry home. We need to light a campfire, boil a pot of water, brew tea, throwing him a few sprigs of currants with swelling buds. The light of the fire attracts pulling woodcock. Therefore on fire in the third “wave” thrust well they RAID.
How to choose a place for hunting woodcock in spring
- Large open clearings need to become to high single trees, clumps undercuts over which love to fly woodcocks.
- A good place to pull – on the border of uneven-age logging, such as 15-year-old and 5-year-old. Woodcocks pull on the curb “gennaco” and “karandashnaya”, “proteca” and fresh felling.
- If felling surrounds the old high forest is the place where he tongue juts out over the cutting, it is necessary to get it there.
- A great place to chain the field, one passing into another. You should try to stand in their narrowing.
- Very convenient for hunting pull jumper undergrowth, as if binding to each other, the arrays of tall forest.
- The edge of the old forest should be selected only if they are overgrown with undergrowth or over the overgrown clearing.
- Damp marshy overgrown with willows of a clearing in the woods always promise success.
- On the floor you can only get in if the surrounding forest is not very high. In this case you should try to choose their intersection with roads, meadows, or other forest routes.
- Hunting in the forest, choose a place to thrust in the floodplain forest streams.
- Single clearing in the big woods promises of good luck.
- Large clearings and clearings in the first wave thrust it is necessary to stand closer to the high forest when it begins to get dark, it is necessary to shift to the center, more open space.
- If tall old forest bordered by swampy undergrowth, need to become in the undergrowth, but closer to the border of the high forest.
- Where really dry or Vice versa, the entire forest bathed in hollow water, little snipe.
Pull the spring snipeis a kind of mating flight of birds that in the evening and dawn flies around the forest edge, clear cuts and meadows in search of a pair. Slowly flapping its wings and lowering his long beak, the male flies around the forest, filling his deaf hercousin appeal, the sharp ringing “Tikaram”. With the appearance of rival gambling is fastened an air battle. Often you can see up to three rivals at the same time that screaming chasing each other. But this dogfight is more of a symbolic character and ends without harm to participants.
During traction, the females do not produce Harkusha sounds, but only “zakaut” and as a pair they are usually flying ahead. Such bird hunter needs to pass without a shot, mindful of the need to maintain dams.
Success on the hunting of woodcockdetermine the ability to choose the right place, the art of shooting and, most importantly, hunting luck, as the intensity of thrust varies not only by years but by days, depending on the nature of the flight of birds and weather conditions. Pull both local and migratory woodcocks, only temporarily settled on the way to their native places.
Spring thrust woodcock occurs in the evening and morning. In the evening it starts at sunset and lasts until nightfall, after which only the individual forest sandpipers continue their overflights. Pull the morning starts in the dark, is short and ends before sunrise in the predawn twilight.
When the woodcock flies, it emits a specific sound like “zvecane and horkage” to the female heard him and summoned for mating. Such hunting woodcock hunting is also called rod. The main difficulty lies in how to choose a good place to wait for the summer male. For this you need to understand that the woodcock inhabits mixed forests, near swamps, streams, forest edges, meadows with small trees, bushes, forest clearings, that is, he doesn’t like to be in an open area.
Thus, to go hunting woodcock in the spring should be in such places. The best place of all the options is recognized that, when there is a swamp or a stream, a few meters away is is a low forest. As a rule, woodcock pulls at the edge of the forest over the tops of the trees, so the hunter need to stand somewhere nearby but behind some Bush or other shelter, to stay unnoticed. There are options when two or more belts together in one place, that is, intersect. This place also proves to be very profitable to await the approach of the male.
Quite often you can see hunters who choose the place for hunting in the meadow with small vegetation and shrubs surrounded by low trees around. When it is quiet, warm and cloudy weather, then pull the woodcock is very good, but on cold days it may not be, so take into account this factor. Distinguish morning and evening cravings. In the morning, almost do not hunt because years is still in the dark and ends with the first rays of the sun. The most popular evening attraction. It begins with sunset and lasts until full darkness. Bring a flashlight because at dusk to find a downed woodcock will be difficult.
Shoot, as a rule, fraction №7,8 at a distance of 40 metres. The aim should be the tip of the beak, but during strong winds it is recommended to do a little pre-emption.