Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Only Fools Are Bagged When They Hunt Snipes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Only Fools Are Bagged When They Hunt Snipes

Article excerpt

WEBSTER SAYS a snipe is "any of several wading birds."

Some people find out the hard way that a snipe is something more than the dictionary definition. It's the lowest trick one friend can play on another.

Unless you're the bird who talked your buddy into snipe hunting at midnight. Then, snipe hunting is hilarious.

There's your former friend, flat on the ground, making stupid noises and holding a paper bag.

It takes skill to catch someone for a snipe hunt. The best explanation I've seen is by college freshman Rick Downing. He wrote a paper on snipe hunting for his English 111 class. Rick lives in Norfolk, Va. His mom, Linda Crockett of Fenton, sent me his paper. Rick got an A. I feel Rick's knowledge should be shared:

Despite the jokes about snipe hunting, a gratifying number of people don't know what it is. These people are identified by their distinctive call.

If they say "A what?" when you say "a snipe hunt" you have a live one. It's up to you to reel them in.

"If you don't explain it well, they most likely won't go with you," Rick said. "A person who is not intrigued will not be interested enough to take the chance. It all relies on the setup."

Rick snags them this way:

" `Hey, Bill, did you hear about the snipe Wes caught last week?' "

Be vague on your description of a snipe, except that it's some kind of small animal.

"It doesn't matter what you say a snipe is, only that it is something interesting to your compatriot. If he doesn't want to know what it is, then you can never plan on getting him to go hunting with you."

Once the hunter is interested, "his defenses are down."

"The first item on the agenda is the mating call. I personally prefer an imitation that would embarrass anyone if heard repeating it in public. The master hunter must decide what type of vocalization must be used. If it is not practiced it will not be perfect. Settle only for a perfect reproduction. Such intense planning only helps build the excitement.

"Along with the proper mating call, you must have an adequate trap," Rick writes.

"Now, this may be the tricky part. If you don't come off in complete seriousness, they will never believe you. …

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