Southern Agenda

Snipely the Best

Illustration: Tim Bower

Snipe hunting in South Louisiana is no fool’s errand. Wilson’s snipes are real birds, a migratory species that’s as tough to hit as a dove twisting into a cornfield. Think of a woodcock that relishes marsh and muck instead of tangled thickets, and you’ll have the picture. It is lauded for the table and cherished as quarry that takes little more than hip boots and a shotgun to pursue (the season runs November 2–December 4 and December 17–February 28). Unlike deer hunting, which is often a solo endeavor, says Ben Duplechain, wetland bird specialist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, “snipe hunting is more of a social gathering. Most hunters go out in groups of three or four, walking to push the birds out of the marsh. It’s more of a get-together with friends and family, to flush a few birds and have a good time.” He adds that snipes resemble other shorebirds, such as dowitchers, and “correct I.D. is important when hunting, as many other shorebird species are not legal to harvest.” A hot spot for top-notch snipe habitat is the 44,000-acre Sherburne Wildlife Management Area, within the Atchafalaya Basin between Lafayette and Baton Rouge.