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Woodcock Hunting?

610 Views 20 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  MRichardson
Any of you Gulf South folks do any woodcock hunting? I'm reading that a huge chunk of the US population winters here in the Louisiana river basins and the hunting can be quite good, even on public land. I grew up in the heart of south Georgia quail country, but I have to admit that woodcock have never even been on the radar. Thanks in advance for any info!
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· I Love Skinny Water
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I’ve chased them here in Georgia but haven’t taken a shot at one yet. I’m a avid quail hunter and once I saw one while hunting. We have a season here for them but getting someone to tell you where they are, not going to happen
 

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We call em Snipe here in SWFL.. They're fun and challenging for sure. Better keep your eye on them if you shoot one, when they land in the brush they're really tough to find if you didn't really watch where the bird landed.. I've been within 2 feet of one searching for it for 10 minutes till I finally found it..!! Watch out for rattle snakes when walking around the palmetto/pine areas..
 

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A simple old Gheenoe
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have done it here in SC with success. It’s a good time especially for us quail-lacking people.
Work your swampy edges, they like to hold tight so a dog is a good help.
Spending some time in the field with my dog is honestly the primary objective and appeal. I have a great English Cocker who loves to retrieve, but I've never even thought about using him to flush (which is ironic given his lineage) until I fell down the woodcock internet rabbit hole.
 

· Brandon, FL
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Growing up in the north we hunted them. I only hunted them because a friend of my father's liked to eat them. I will never ruin a pan by cooking one again.

They are called mudsuckers for a reason.

Go find a likely spot and find a one acre clearing in the middle of the woods. Stand in the middle of it approaching darkness and they will come in by the bunches. Best shooting will be 20 minutes before you cant see. You will absolutely need a dog.
 

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We call em Snipe here in SWFL.. They're fun and challenging for sure. Better keep your eye on them if you shoot one, when they land in the brush they're really tough to find if you didn't really watch where the bird landed.. I've been within 2 feet of one searching for it for 10 minutes till I finally found it..!! Watch out for rattle snakes when walking around the palmetto/pine areas..
snipe and woodcock are not the same bird
 

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Growing up in the north we hunted them. I only hunted them because a friend of my father's liked to eat them. I will never ruin a pan by cooking one again.

They are called mudsuckers for a reason.

Go find a likely spot and find a one acre clearing in the middle of the woods. Stand in the middle of it approaching darkness and they will come in by the bunches. Best shooting will be 20 minutes before you cant see. You will absolutely need a dog.
I haven't eaten one, they pretty musty? I would have thought they might be like a dove or something.
 

· Brandon, FL
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I haven't eaten one, they pretty musty? I would have thought they might be like a dove or something.
@DuckNut Yeah, what don't you like about them? Gamey tasting? Folks here in LA eat nutria, so there's a pretty low bar for table fare and a healthy respect for Cajun seasoning...
The number one food they eat is worms. Real dark meat and when you eat them you will know why I say they taste like worms.

There is a difference between snipe and woodcock. They are two different species and two different table fare. One is suitable for the table the other is a woodcock.
 

· Mostly Harmless
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I went a few times in St. Gabriel as a kid and really enjoyed it. Our duck dogs had to retrieve a couple before they made the connection and started to try to hunt for them. Woodcock seem to have a very, very subtle scent compared to ducks and pheasants. Our Labs tried to figure it out, but we never did it enough for them to get good; maybe the setters and spaniels pick it up more naturally. It probably just takes lots of miles in the woods.

I don’t think there is an easy way to scout for them. They migrate at night, don’t hang around long and they are basically invisible on the ground. You just have to spend a bunch of time in the soggy woods to find the areas they like, so put on your mud boots and start busting brush until you luck into them. They don’t run, but you have to almost step on them before they’ll flush; hopefully your dog will take to hunting them because you’ll be much more successful if he does.

I didn’t find their taste to be bad. I just pan fried them like quail. An overnight salt water soak before cooking helps most game birds.

Good luck. You won’t see many other folks hunting them down there.

Nate
 

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A simple old Gheenoe
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies, gents. Unfortunately, there are only few days left in the season-- but I'll be ready for next year! I might try to get some scouting/ dog work in after the season closes though; I'm sure my 8-month-old pup would appreciate it.
 

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Not a ton in my area but can say I have consistently found them on the edges of where pine plantation meets a drain or hardwood hammock/swamp. I have a Boykin spaniel that I use for everything upland birds, ducks, trailing deer and hogs etc. She hunts close and when we usually flush them I’m never prepared. Always one of those things they just jump up out of nowhere
 
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