recently tabulated the results from a woodcock hunting survey that they randomly mailed to some 2,000 hunters. The response suggests that the typical woodcock hunter is a guy over 40 years old, who hunts woodcock primarily while hunting grouse, quail and rabbits. He hunts woodcock 10 days or less each year and bags 10 or fewer woodcock each season. Sounds like the RGS
profiled me. When I hunt birds I am an opportunistic hunter. I leave the rabbit alone, but grouse and woodcock go hand-in-glove. Most hunters, according to the survey, some 56% in fact, shot five or less birds, 24% between 6 and 10, 14% 11-20 and 6% killed between 21-50.That seems a pretty fair average if you ask me and most hunters taking the survey—some 70%—thought the current season and bag limit of three birds a day is adequate. The quality of woodcock hunting was a mixed bag, though. Some 38% stated the overall quality of woodcock hunting has remained the same over the past five years, while 33% of hunters felt it has gotten worse. In our neck of the woods, there still are pockets of birds but not the numbers of yore. Maybe I’m glad the perceived notion of the steep decline in the woodcock population will dissuade hunters. If that is the case it sounds like my bag limit average may increase. I’m going to tell all my hunting buddies to stop chasing woodcock—they taste awful, the dogs refuse to retrieve them, and there aren’t any to be found anyway. And by the way, come fall I'll be a bit busy. Good thing I have two dogs.