Snipe Hunting ANYONE?

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
My dad’s side of the family has a “take no hostage” kind of humor. It isn’t for wimps. I have developed a cynical kind of humor because of them, the kind of humor that not everyone “gets.” . I don’t say that in a bragging kind of way, I say it in an I-have-laid-on-the-shrink’s- sofa-and-evaluated-myself-and-came to-terms-with-it kind of way.
Case and Point: According to Wikipedia the snipe (a family of shorebirds) is difficult to catch for even the most experienced hunters, so much so that the word “sniper” is derived from it to refer to anyone skilled enough to shoot one.

I put that in here to ease the battered memories of my own youthful snipe hunting experience, which had very little to do with expertise, unless you count the cunningness of my two very mischievous uncles, Mark and Daniel. (No I did not change the names to protect the innocent, as innocent they were not and payback is everything).
Wikipedia goes on to state, “A snipe hunt is a form of wild goose chase that is also knows as a ‘fool’s errand.’” Okay”. Here we go, this sounds like the snipe hunt I know about.
If memory serves, I was in the neighborhood of 13-14 when my “way too to cool” older uncles (16-17 years old) decided I was old enough to hunt with them. My grandparents lived just down the road from us and had a huge pasture behind their home, the perfect location for snipes according to my uncles. I was thrilled. I loved spending time with these guys; they were funny, smart, popular, and had fast cars, all of which was so appealing to this would-be Daisy Duke.
With flashlight in hand, I sat out in the dark with a garbage bag and the perfect quacking noise to catch the coveted snipe. Sure, I felt stupid at first, but there I was quacking with the best of them. After a few short lessons they were off in another direction.
Soon, I was feeling a little defeated. Then I heard uncle Mark yell from somewhere across the field (or maybe, as I look back, the back porch of my grandpa’s house), telling me that maybe I needed to get down on the ground and crawl on my belly, as snipes “don’t fly.” Not wanting to disappoint or go “all girly,” I took the instruction. I am not too sure how long this went on before I caught on…probably until their laughter could be heard all over the coulee. “Ha-ha,” I said, madder than a hornet. I knew that they had got me, and boy was I mad. Of course the anger and humiliation only lasted until the next road trip.
I appreciate family and the rites of passage; I look back and am so grateful that they cared enough to bring me into the fold. I love the innocence of those days and how nothing was done out of wanting to hurt me, just family tradition. They were the youngest of five; knowing my dad and Uncle Wes, I knew I had been handled with kid gloves compared to what those two dished out to Mark and Daniel. I learned a lot from my uncles as I was growing up, of course mostly that they couldn’t be trusted.

  1. Ronda says:

    Because I have never experienced a Snipe Hunt personally – this story has truly opened my eyes. However, not in a surprising sort of way. You see, I’ve been married to the Mark of the story for 32 years and understand that there is definately a reason that Rene and I stay on the same side of things. Having a support group is invaluable! Thank you Rene for giving me the first hand version of this story! Aunt Ronda 🙂

  2. Terra says:

    I loved this reminded me of the tricks my cousins played on me when we were kids…

  3. Russ says:

    A well-written story, if not objective, but I wonder if Ronda perhaps should have written about "a first-hand version", rather than "the first-hand version". It would seem reasonable not to form an opinion and/or lend one’s support based on just one person’s account. Hmm!

  4. *Mark* says:

    This "story" (and some of the comments after it) seems to have a lot of questionable material following a statement such as "if memory serves". I am really hesitant to point out that as one of the accused I am over 50 years old and my memory may not be quite as sharp as it could be, but not quite as hesitant to point out that the "victim" is not too many years younger (as pointed out in the article), which could affect her memory. Obviously she is not all wrong, because her description of her "way too cool" and "smart" uncles is very easy to believe!!!

  5. I’m not sure what put the bee in my bonnet (perhaps relatives akin to yours), but this reminds me of the time that I convinced my high school boyfriend that minces (as in mincemeat pie) were an animal similar to a rabbit, but more long like a weasel, common to the west (he’d recently moved to CO from NY) and without a lot of meat on them, so best cooked in a pie!

  6. rene says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I love hearing from you all. Well that is, except Mark who it saddens me to think that senility has taken its toll on some one so young……

    Your "tale" is priceless I can see that you would have fit right into the Knopp family.

  7. Aunt Jenny says:

    Snipe hunts!! A rite of passage when I was a kid and now my own kids are going through that stage too. I grew up in rural Calif and our snipe hunts were loud and long..lots of older cousins. Since I am the oldest of my own siblings I loved my chance to take my brother and sister and younger cousins on a snipe hunt. My oldest kids (now grown) were taken by my younger brother and my youngest kids..still home….have been on snipe hunts all but the youngest two..who are both 12 and will surely go on their first hunt this summer at scout camp and girls church camp. They do it a little different here in Utah..but it is basically all the same…good clean fun. My older two kids at home can hardly wait to take their younger sibs and have kept it quiet now so they don’t suspect a thing. I love it. Thanks for the memory!

  8. Jan says:

    I grew up in Eastern WA too. I am still here actually. I so relate to this snipe hunt thing. Yes yes yes. They tricked me so good.

    I grew up weeding beets, rolling hay, milking cows and so forth. Loved it so much. Great blog.



    Hey Jan,

    Thanks for the compliment. Beets, hay, cows……. are you in the Basin?

  9. Dawn says:

    I rememer those "rites of passage" well. Grandpa telling us to pick a long piece of grass and touch it to the electric fence….we "wouldn’t get shocked"!! Yeah right!

    My favorite memory is turning 16 and driving. I was sent to town to get "axle grease". I was told to not come home without it as it was needed on the farm. I must’ve stopped at a dozen garages and gas stations inquiring about ‘axle grease’ to no avail. I vividly remember my grandfather, uncle and some farm buddies standing outside the house grinning from ear to ear as I pleaded my case as to why I didn’t have any. That’s when I learned, there IS NO SUCH THING AS AXLE GREASE! I had to drive to another town for months to get fuel to avoid embaressment!


    Ha-ha-ha!  Love that! As I was reading your story, I thought, hmmmm!  Why are all the shananigans at the hands of our "FarmBOY" family members….Guess they thought they had better get us while we were young, as no doubt they’d never get us…. don’t cha think?  Just once i’d like to send one of them into the fabric store………………………

  10. Elaine says:

    Ha-ha-ha!!Loved the blog, seems like Snipe hunting was an International sport! Had the same experience up here in Canada,but I’m a bit surprised that no-one ever sent you to find a left-handed monkey wrench!!

    Ha-ha back!  "left-handed monkey wrench"?  How long were you out looking for that one?  LOL

  11. carol branum says:

    hi rene, I ejoyed this very much ,have a geat day good blog,blessed be the mo farmers daughter,carol branum

    Thanks Carol.. I hope you will "come back often" as farmgirls, I am sure we will have "like" stories to share.

  12. Elaine says:

    longer than I like to admit!

  13. Brenda says:

    I remember snipe hunts as a kid…

    But I was AMAZED to find out when I looked up a bird I found in our farm orchard in a birding book, that it was a SNIPE.

    I found one without looking!!!



    Ha-ha, where was that little birdie when I needed him?

  14. Marsha says:

    Just today I received a noticed about the MaryJanes Farm magazine in the mail and naturally I looked up the web site. I’m a country girl from central Texas and grew up on a peanut farm in the late 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Now I live "in town" with a population of 2000. I also remember the snipe hunting but since I was a tomboy and lived in the country, I was the one that helped take the "city girls and boys" snipe hunting. I lived so far out in the country on dirt roads that when I was dating, if my date go stuck in the mud bringing me home, I would walk barefoot to the house, get the tractor and pull him out, send him home and then I would go home on the tractor.


    (ok I had to fight the urge to say that three times).

    Ha-ha! I can so picture  you hoisting a truck out of the mud with the tractor, been there. I have never been a city girl, but apparently a little nieve’ when it came to my knowledge of birds. The town I grew up in was 300 when everyone was home and we were an hour from any real "shopping". I am thrilled that you found the magazine and the blog. I hope you will also check out our farmgirl connection and our sisterhood program. If you go to then click on either Join our farmgirl chatroom or Join the Farmgirl Sisterhood you will find the info you need.

    So very glad that you found us…Welcome!

  15. Lynette says:

    HA Snipe hunting! Thanks for the memory Rene. I remember well going snipe hunting with the youth group and after we had all fallen for it, hearing Pastor Wes up on the porch laughing…..(probably near the same field you were "snookered" at. Thanks for the memories, I think I have a snipe hunt to plan for my two young children..


    Ha-ha~ Yes Wes had that same mischievous "bent"…Although, I do love knowing that I wasnt the only one that fell for that…

  16. KattyBlackyard says:

    I really like your post. Is it copyright protected?

    My work is copyright protected. If you check the front page of my blog, just below my bio. Thank you so much for the complement.

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