Red Game - Snipe Hunting
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Red Game – Snipe Hunting

For a true hunter, any trophy obtained by him on a hunt is truly priceless – whether it be a duck, a hare or a bear. The hunter rejoices at the teal, shot down by a beautiful shot, and the hefty bill boar. Every game is good, as well as all kinds of hunting! However, among the many hunting animals and birds, there is a small group of four medium-sized waders that deserve special attention.

For a true hunter, any trophy obtained by him on a hunt is truly priceless – whether it be a duck, a hare or a bear. The hunter rejoices at the teal, shot down by a beautiful shot, and the hefty bill boar. Every game is good, as well as all kinds of hunting! However, among the many hunting animals and birds, there is a small group of four medium-sized waders that deserve special attention.

One and a half hundred years ago, the founder of Russian literature on hunting, Sergei Timofeevich Aksakov, in his work “Notes of a gun hunter of the Orenburg province” noted: “… Hunters love to shoot game of all ranks, sometimes cherishing one or the other, depending on rarity, need and time, but prefer all other breeds to play bog … To her belong the hollows (dupel – A.P.), snipe, garnish. This is an aristocracy of game, to which only a woodcock is ranked from the forest category. ” It was these four birds of the Bekasov family from the waders that belonged to the honor of being called “red” game! Aristocrats in those days did not shoot ducks, leaving this occupation to commoners, but hunted “red” game, mainly with cops – pointers and setters.

This hunt was appreciated not only because of the excellent taste of waders (it is also appropriate to recall S.T. Aksakova: “Snipe, hollow and garnish, together with woodcock, are known to all grocery stores for the extraordinary delicacy of their taste. Their fame is so ubiquitous and durable that you don’t need to talk about it … ”), but also because of the beauty of hunting with a gundog and the difficulty of shooting small, rather fast flying birds.

Unfortunately, in our time, the interest of hunters for snipes has fallen markedly. Hunting with cops is now the domain of single enthusiasts, and huskies and porn are dominant among hunting breeds of dogs. However, the analysis of hunting with dogs of different breeds is another topic. Today we will try to introduce readers to the four birds of the Bekasov family, those who were formerly called “red” game – snipe, dupel, garnshnep and woodcock.

Snipe

A relatively small bird, slightly larger than a starling. Body weight, depending on the season of the year, ranges from 90 to 150 grams.

Males and females are similarly colored: brown and reddish-buffy tones predominate in the color. The top of the head of the snipe is brownish-brown, in the middle of the crown there is a longitudinal wide strip of buffy color, along the edges are two equally wide brow stripes. The back is brownish-dark with lighter mottles and stripes. Clear light streaks stretch along the ridge. The abdomen is light, whitish, devoid of speckles. Upper covering tail feathers are rusty ocher with dark transverse stripes. The wing feathers are brownish-black, while the secondary feathers have white tips. Neck, goiter, chest – yellowish-brown in color with dark longitudinal stripes, throat and chin – with a cream tint. Along the shoulders and above the wings, bright buffy edges are noticeable. The beak is dark pink in color, its length is 62-76 mm. Eyes are dark brown, pushed far back to the back of the head. Legs are relatively high, gray with a greenish tint. Wings – acute, up to 135 mm long.

The most typical habitat of snipe are treeless wet and swampy areas – floodplain meadows, sedge marshes. In this case, snipe, unlike many other waders, is also found in shrubbery areas, but only in those cases when the bushes do not form dense closed thickets. Somewhat less often, it can be found in open areas of high marshes, in swampy clearings. Bekasu does not need vast territories; it can settle on relatively small shallow marshes, not wide floodplains of small rivers and lakes.

They hunt snipe mainly with a gundog. It is possible, although with great difficulty, to get it and “trampling” without a dog from the grass, where he is hiding. In this case, sharp vision is necessary to notice where the bird has flown over and the excellent reaction when shooting at a snipe soaring from under its feet.

When hunting with a gundog dog, remember the following. A snipe does not stand the dog stand very well: a “hot” dog often “mates” a snipe without a shot. To calm the cop, it is necessary to take breaks in the hunt. Sometimes it’s enough to pull the dog from the rack and lay it for a few minutes at its feet.

A snipe takes off rapidly, with a characteristic “smacking” and makes several zigzags in the air, turning around its axis to the right and left so that its white abdomen flickers from one side to the other. And only beyond the bounds of a sure shot his flight becomes straightforward. Experienced hunters shoot a snipe in the instant when it, rising from the ground, describes a gentle line.

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