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Woodcock and snipe

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I have 2 woodcock and a snipe what feathers are woth keeping / how would you go about preparing skin what do you use to dry it so it won't go off??

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Try to keep whole skin. Scrape off all fat and bits of flesh and then give the skin side a good rub with borax. Then hang vertical on a board, this stretches the skin so it doesn't dry all shrivelled and helps any moisture run off instead of sitting on a flat skin. Keep somewhere dry and not humid. Now repeat the scrape and borax after a week. Depending how fatty the animla to start with it might be ready now. Might need another week of fresh borax. When all dried, you can give the feather and skin a quick wash to freshen it all up, blow dry the feathers and leave it somewhere warm to dry again before storing.

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While the most-called-for feathers of both birds come from the wings (coverts for soft-hackle fly collars, primaries and secondaries for wing slips) all the feathers are valuable and can be used.

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Woodcock and snipe are great feathers. You will love the flies you tie with them. Most tiers do not have them because the are not commercially available. Many older very effective patterns called for both. As we got away from hunting for our own skins, these birds fell off in popularity.

 

I just got two more woodcock yesterday. Two last weekend too. I skin my birds carefully. Most have little fat. We get migrating birds and some have very dense downy feathering along base of tail. These feathers are great CDC or even small marabou replacements. The wings make great wet flies and the biots small legs. The body feathers substitute for partridge, grouse, quail, etc. Generally a darker brown, they are one of my favorite birds to hunt, eat and tie with.

 

The skins are not very fatty. The back around the hip joints may be tough to skin without tearing holes. Scrape skin with spoon after borax has been applied to keep any fat from being absorbed by feathers. The borax soaks it up.

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Good job troutbum! Do you eat woodcock? I usually get several a year but give them away because the ways that I have prepared them they are not palatable.

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I pan fry them with olive oil and some salt and pepper. I like the taste. The breast meat is dark. The legs are white meat. Woodcock should be medium rare when cooked. It does have a liver taste. There is no fat to the meat. Wrapping the meat in bacon is something I have seen. You must partially cook the bacon or the woodcock ends up dry, very strong tasting and over done.

 

There are no grouse down here. I have heard there are some in the mountains of South Carolina. There are so very few quail and no pheasant left so woodcock feeds my dogs addiction. She retrieves ducks in small water, but that just doesn't feed her prey drive. She is a great dog for hunting and fishing.

 

Quail.

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Troutguy, love those pics. I'm always amazed how tight woodcock will hold until they flush. I don't think they taste too bad. We always just cooked them them up with butter, salt, and pepper. Key is as you said is not to overcook. I think they get a bad rap around here taste wise because everyone compares them to grouse.

 

I really enjoy tying with woodcock for small soft hackles. Well worth saving a few skins over the hunting season.

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The feathers are completely useless. Send them to me for proper disposal. Address by pm to follow.

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