Thursday, October 21, 2010


This choice little story here submitted by Renshaw in the UK.
I'm pretty stoked on this one. Check it out!

Since you like food from all around I thought you might like a bit of this..

When it gets good and cold, woodcock and snipe come across from Scandanavia & Russia to the warmer climate in the UK, gradually spreading downwards from late August up North to January in Cornwall and south Wales. These are wild birds and you have to get out there and find them.

The word 'sniper' comes from shooting snipe as they are small little things. They hang around in shallow boggy area. They love cattle fields as they churn up the ground and make it easy to get the bugs they like. There are a couple of ways of shooting them.... if you go quietly through the bog and keep the dogs close you can shoot them before they get up high.

The other way is to stand in a semi circle round a bog and someone goes in the other side with a couple of dogs - by the time the snipe fly over they are sky high flittering little critters. Basically if you are hungry or need a big bag, do the first option as snipe fly straight when they first get up. Then they shit, after which the rise straight up in the air and flitter around. We have a phrase - shoot them before they shit.

Woodcock live in the... woods and come out to the fields, marshy areas and coastline to feed at dusk. They swoop and flit a bit but are not that hard to shoot as they don't go that fast and are much bigger than a snipe [sort of pigeon size]. However they are hard to get on as you may be shooting in close woods which makes swinging the gun difficult [dangerous] and they are very nervous and can get moving way ahead of where you are.

Flighting them in the evening is pretty amazing when they head out from the woods to feed. There is a 20 minute window just as it seems too dark when they suddenly start appearing like apparitions and you have to shoot by instinct and then you have to find them. I love this kind of sport, its hard work and you can come home with nothing, however when its good its really good.

Foxes eat birds..... therefore foxes get it... he came out of the wood right in front of me and he got it!
These pictures here are from last January when we had really bad weather in the UK. I went with some friends and some of my brothers to the West Country - it seemed like everyone was in lock down apart from us. The birds in the photo are woodcock at the top, mallard in the center row [flanked by woodcock] and 5 snipe in the bottom row.

The unique thing about these birds is because they clean their bowel as they take off you can eat the entrails. Unlike other game you dont hang snipe and woodcock for any more than a couple of days. Then you pluck the bird and fold the head [they have long necks] round and use the long beak to skewer the legs together. Wrap the bird in nice piece of bacon [smoked or not] and stick them in a hot oven for matter of minutes sitting on a piece of toast or fried bread.

Pull the birds out of the oven and put the toast on plates. Then take a small spoon and scoop out the guts. Put the guts in a pan and add a splash of brandy and heat till the alcohol evaporates then spread the mixture onto the toast/fried bread.

Put bird on plate with toast and I like to eat this with greens and bread sauce. With the woodcock cut the head dow the centre and eat the brain with a small spoon.

It may sound revolting to some but the entrail is like the nicest pate you've ever had and the brain is smooth as cream and has a nutty taste. Woodcock is a dark meat - sort of duckish, snipe is a paler meat and had a metallic tang to it. You can have one woody per person but snipe are smaller so you want 2 or 3 each [hence creeping quietly into the bog!]. Drink a good bottle of red wine with your meal.

These are the snipe...

The End.


  1. I was feeling it 'till Renshaw said you could eat the entrails... Even cooked in alcohol, I'm a bit squimish.

    My mom used to clean 'chitlins' with bleach before she cooked them - but I still wouldn't eat 'em.

    I bet my grandpa would have eaten that fox...

  2. That is cool post and wasn't what I was expecting. "Snipe" hunting in the U.S. is completely different...

  3. love that shot of Renchy and the Fox.

  4. Oh the hours spent with a flash light and a pillow case waiting for a snipe to run into the pillow case! looks and sounds delicous