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First woodcock of the season


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At this time of year it's likely it's a native rather than immigrant?

In my syndicate we don't shoot them until we've seen what's about in the woods come Christmas time.  If there's enough about we'll call them fair game which, with our guns' abilities, means we'll bag half a dozen by the end of the season!

I took a cracking woodcock one day late last season, one I'll never forget.  I was involved in organising the day and just dropped in as a back gun on a few drives to keep myself amused. I stood behind a hedge, behind several of the pegs.  Woodcock was called, 6 shots went off and it arrived over the hedge untouched!  This is quite an unusual thing if you connect with a woodcock I think: my first barrel puffed a few feathers out of it but it carried on flying strongly - second barrel was let off with the bird a good 60yds past me as it quartered away from me over my right shoulder, and a second puff of feathers came out of the bird....  Down it went like a stone.  The dog sighed and faithfully trotted off.  I couldn't believe it for a moment. If it hadn't been for the second puff of feathers I'd have said the first barrel was a lung shot like you sometimes see where they drop 100yds later but the second barrel definitely brought it down.  Probably a once in a lifetime event.  I only shoot one or two woodcock every season, sometimes none, so it really does stick in the memory.

As much as they are a prized game bird to shoot we need to show restraint with them I think :)

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I only take one woodcock a year for myself to eat . Only if I had the chance at a left and right would I take 2 but the chance of that has yet to happen 🤣 i think they're beautiful birds that deserve great respect and are a joy to see 

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1 hour ago, blackbird said:

What I see as totally pointless is shooting/killing snipe you are just taking the birds life for fun as they cause no crop damage & there is more meat on a bloody robin.

Absolutely and in a lot of areas they are suffering through loss of habitat. I live in the Fens and it’s a great delight to me when on the very rare occasion one pops up out of the dyke.

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4 hours ago, blackbird said:

What I see as totally pointless is shooting/killing snipe you are just taking the birds life for fun as they cause no crop damage & there is more meat on a bloody robin.

Agree snipe and woodcock I wouldn’t left the gun to them I don’t see the point and there 2 of the nicest looking game birds in the uk 

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I take a less than a handful of snipe & woodcock a year ... as I enjoy shooting and eating them.

When we start to discriminate what we take for food due to looks, I think it's a slippery slope.

I fully respect those who choose to not take them.

Edited by Smokersmith
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23 minutes ago, Smokersmith said:

I take a less than a handful of snipe & woodcock a year ... as I enjoy shooting and eating them.

When we start to discriminate what we take for food due to looks, I think it's a slippery slope.

I fully respect those who choose to not take them.

Agreed.

On one of my annual game days Woodcock may make up half the bag. I restrict myself though depending on how many are 'in'.

 

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3 hours ago, Smokersmith said:

I take a less than a handful of snipe & woodcock a year ... as I enjoy shooting and eating them.

When we start to discriminate what we take for food due to looks, I think it's a slippery slope.

I fully respect those who choose to not take them.

Yes agree but not just to do with looks there’s plenty of gamebirds to hunt for the table pheasants partridge ducks etc I’m not knocking anyone who does shoot them for the table moderation is the right thing to do 👍👍

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4 hours ago, Smokersmith said:

I take a less than a handful of snipe & woodcock a year ... as I enjoy shooting and eating them.

When we start to discriminate what we take for food due to looks, I think it's a slippery slope.

I fully respect those who choose to not take them.

At the moment we still have the choice if we want to shoot both Snipe and Woodcock but I fear if we ever lost the choice we will never get it back again , at one time we used to have a good number of Woodcock hanging up in the game larder at the end of game shooting day , now we have very few as a lot of guns have made the decision to leave them alone and a Snipe would be a rarity on a driven day , but like you say , they have a choice if they do , or if they don't .

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4 hours ago, marsh man said:

At the moment we still have the choice if we want to shoot both Snipe and Woodcock but I fear if we ever lost the choice we will never get it back again , at one time we used to have a good number of Woodcock hanging up in the game larder at the end of game shooting day , now we have very few as a lot of guns have made the decision to leave them alone and a Snipe would be a rarity on a driven day , but like you say , they have a choice if they do , or if they don't .

👍👍👍

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I know lads who are still into traditional walked up rough shooting over hard hunting dogs. 
 

They aren’t rich men on big estates with 1000’s of pheasants being put down and fed. 
 

They are just normal working men shooting over their dogs in woodland and in beautiful wild places, taking a handful of birds walked up, for a good days sport and the birds then taken to eat as a bonus. 
 

A lot of game shooting is very expensive, you’d be lucky to get birds for £20 a head, many days ranging from £30-40 a bird. 
 

Areas of the country still exist where a man can go out with his dog and shoot proper wild game, woodcock, rabbits, wild ducks etc.
 

Birds and game that weren’t reared and put down.
 

I’d hate to see the day that shooting proper wild game was frowned upon, excluding many working hunting men from a good days shooting. 
 

 

 

I dream of the day or having good land for walked up shooting of rabbit, woodcock and ducks. Don’t mind putting pheasants down in places. 
Those Irish lads who really cherish walked up rough shooting seem to have it right to me. 

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Very fair point Lloyd90 nicely put Your right here In Ireland for years working men Loved using there dogs for walked up woodcock and snipe Truly wild birds of the country side But that’s why I don’t shoot them Because there wild Just me I like to see them in the wild Now this might sound hypocritical as I shoot wild duck on foreshore and inland lough But agree reared birds pheasants partridge too expensive for the common man 

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We usually get our first influx of Woodcock after the first full moon in November ( called the Hunters Moon)  but this year it will be the 31st of October and 1st of November. It's all walked up shooting that I do and the Snipe and Woodcock get more than a fair chance, I wouldn't ask for anything else, Ive shot driven Pheasants once and it didn't appeal to me or my pocket. But each to their own.

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