Science Art: Wilson’s Snipe, by W.I. Beecroft, 1912

Gallinago delicata, from

Gallinago delicata, from

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a snipe. Lots of kinds of snipe, in fact.

And snipe hunting was a real thing, too.

This illustration is of a Wilson’s snipe, and it comes from A history of the game birds, wild-fowl and shore birds of Massachusetts and adjacent states…. by Edward Howe Forbush.

In the intro, he writes: “There is a story current among gunners of Concord, Mass., that years ago one man won a wager that he could kill fifty Wilson’s Snipe in an hour or two with a limited number of shots…. Gillmore says that in his day, within thirty-six hours’ travel of New York City, such Snipe shooting could be enjoyed as was to be had in no other portion of the globe. One of his acquaintances killed nine dozen in seven hours, and frequently killed from seven to eight dozen in the same time.”

Of course, now, there aren’t so many snipe around any more. Most people think they’re a summer camp myth.