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How to Hunt Snipe

Looking for fowl that's a challenge to bag? Set your sights on hunting snipe.


  • Step 1: When the snipe flush -- usually making a distinctive "scipe" sound as they do -- lock your eyes on a bird, move the gun’s muzzle towards it, and raise the stock to your face. Shoot the instant the butt hits your shoulder: snipe fly swiftly along an erratic, low path, so unload a large number of rounds as quickly as possible.
  • TIP: Don’t worry about firing too many rounds -- snipe are notoriously difficult to hit.
  • Step 2: If you hit a snipe, mark its fall carefully to avoid losing it among the marshes. Then, put it in your bag, and keep hunting until you hit the legal limit or are ready to head home and try again another day.
  • FACT: The Wilson's Snipe can open and close the tip of its bill without moving the base.
  • Step 3: Walk slowly through the marsh to avoid flushing the snipe from too far away. Start looking for a bird with a very long bill, short legs, and a brown body with a boldly striped back and head.
  • Step 4: Carry a 12- to 20-gauge shotgun and 1 to 2 boxes of cartridges that hold no more than an ounce of #8 or #9 shot. Bring a bag for your prey and have something to eat with you to avoid needing to turn back early.
  • Step 5: Head to mudflats, wetlands, or shorelines where the water is less than 3 inches deep to find snipe in their most common feeding grounds. Head out in the early morning.
  • TIP: You can find snipe throughout North America, in Canada in the summer, and farther south typically between late fall and early spring.
  • Step 6: Outfit yourself in high, rubber boots and rugged pants -- no need to be waterlogged as you slog through the marshes. Wear multiple layers on top that you can shed as the weather warms, an orange hunter's vest for safety, plus a hat to aid visibility in the early morning sun, and sunscreen.
  • : Firearms are extremely dangerous. Handle them with caution, keep them away from children, and know the gun laws in your area.

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