Woodcock Hunting

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Woodcock Hunting

Postby TXBirdHunter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:41 pm

Hey fellas,

Any tips for a new woodcock hunter? This will be my first season chasing woodcock in the Pineywoods in East Texas. I usually hunt quail with my GSP but figured I'd go after woodcock this year as well since there is public land not too far from home. Any and all tips and pointers would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
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Re: Woodcock Hunting

Postby Dkmatt » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:31 pm

I don't know anything about it either, so I'm commenting so I can follow along. I'm in the Tyler area pretty regularly, and am going to give it a try around the holidays.
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Re: Woodcock Hunting

Postby blue04 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:28 pm

Woodcock generally like wet ground. They are worm eaters, so they prefer soft ground they can probe with their beaks. I'd focus on low areas between higher hillsides and creek drainages. It doesn't have to be swampy, but anywhere with hard ground isn't likely to hold large numbers of Woodcock. I've also had luck finding them on islands in creeks and rivers.

Good luck.
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Re: Woodcock Hunting

Postby bhennessy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:14 pm

Tough hunting here in Louisiana, but lots of fun. I ran into the LA woodcock biologist at a WMA this past summer and picked his brains. Good advice from Blue in terms of finding soft, wet ground. It also needs to have open areas of forest floor underneath, leaf covered ground (helps them hide) but dense young forest canopy above. He called it "early successional forest". Forest that is too old doesn't give them the cover they need underneath...i.e., think about a hawk or owl being able to fly under the canopy in an old forest hunting because there is less dense underbrush but not being able to in an early successional forest with lots of young trees close together and dense undergrowth, vines, etc.

Here in LA these forests also have lots of vines and undergrowth, but still have open, dead leaf covered forage areas under the cover. Often you can find woodcock droppings and the holes they make probing for worms. Definitely focus on the cover around drainages and low, wet areas as blue mentioned.

I've found them to be very weather dependent on occasion, but not always. Cold weather sometimes pushes them down, and hotter weather seems to keep them up north of us. However, the biologist said there was little scientific evidence for this, just anecdotal observations. I do try to go out as cold fronts pass, or just in front of them.
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Re: Woodcock Hunting

Postby bhennessy » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:29 am

Great video that gives you a sense of woodcock habitat in southern LA.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts_tkCe5i6w
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