Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Aka Bog Sucker, Bog Bird, Night Partridge, Doodle Bird, Whistling Snipe, or Pewee - the American Woodcock – Scolopax minor is a fascinating critter.
A short-legged, chunky bird with rounded wings suited to flight in heavy cover - it sports a two-and-a-half inch long bill for probing the soil in search of its principle diet - earthworms. The woodcock’s mottled plumage of gray and brown with black bars resembles leaf litter- providing near perfect camouflage against the forest floor.
I delight in the woodcock’s spring mating displays when I'm walking out in the early morning dark to hunt turkey. And I marvel at its droll appearance. Girlfriend lives to hunt woodcock. I guess I do too.
I give duck hunters a great deal of credit for sitting in a duck blind in the rain. But for me hunting woodcock is one of the fall season’s finest pleasures. A walk in the woods, the crunch of leaves beneath your boots and the dog quartering and working the brush. Cool enough to barely break a sweat and a challenge. Woodcock won’t flush until the dog is virtually upon them. Once flushed - they dart and weave amongst the alders and willows like a mad aerialist.
And they make for some good eats. I have a vision of woodcock - somehow prepared with bacon and water chestnuts - as the featured guest during cocktail hour at our deer camp this year.
Upland bird hunters throughout the Eastern United States and Canada thrill to the whistle of the woodcock’s wings as it flushes from almost under foot. Outdoor enthusiasts, eagerly anticipating its sky-dance courtship ritual, await the woodcocks’ return early each spring.
Unfortunately, the flush and dance of the woodcock are becoming less and less common throughout much of the birds’ range as populations continue their long-term downward trend. You see, woodcock breed primarily in very young forests or abandoned farm fields covered with small trees and shrubs. These habitats are rapidly disappearing as forests mature and fields become housing developments and strip malls. – Ruffed Grouse Society
Dakota pheasants are on the hunting calendar before too long.