Bird hunter’s delight: Hunt for woodcock – now
I grew up with a serious bias against woodcock. I never thought of them as a worthy game bird so I never hunted them. Granted, I saw them regularly while bowhunting or grouse hunting, but it wasn’t until I was working my latest dog when she was a puppy that I realized there was more to the timberdoodle than I’d given credit.
I still forget this every year, then when I’m out in October hunting grouse, I suddenly remember it. This happened to me again this past week, and while Luna and I ran into a few ruffs, the woodcock made the trip memorable.
To be honest, they were thick. With the cool weather, the migration is running full-tilt, and where we ran into one bird we flushed several. I know from past experience that this opportunity will carry on for a short while, then wind down quickly.
If you want to take advantage of it, get out there now. And pay attention to the cover where you flush birds, because you’ll repeat the pattern in plenty of spots. If you don’t find them where you start hunting, you’re not in the right cover or habitat so keep looking. I often start on the edges of low ground where the alders grow and work my way toward higher ground if I don’t find birds immediately. Usually they’ll be in the low stuff, and if not, they’ll be somewhere between the wetlands and the high ground.
Think damp and wormy.