Informant Information — KL
- Nationality: American
- Age: 19
- Occupation: Student
- Residence: Los Angeles, California
- Date of Performance/Collection: April 10, 2022
- Primary Language: English
The informant shared this story with me in an in-person interview. She participated in a “snipe hunt” during a visit to her grandparents’ house when she was about ten years old.
How did you come to participate in the “snipe hunt”?
When I was probably ten years old, my parents sent my brothers and I to spend a few weeks with my grandparents in Arizona. We were super excited to see the desert because my mom told us that there would be lots of cool animals there.
About halfway through the trip, my grandparents were probably starting to get kind of tired of us, so they told us that we were going to spend a day snipe hunting. They drove us about 20 minutes away from their house and let us run around for like three hours… they didn’t even tell us that the snipes weren’t real! We found out after we got home and told our parents that we couldn’t find any.
Had you heard of snipes before? What did your grandparents tell you to look for?
We hadn’t ever heard of snipes before, I thought they were native to the desert. My grandparents said we were looking for little brown birds that couldn’t fly and had really long beaks. They said that we would have to creep up on them and jump on top of them to catch them.
How did you and your brothers react to learning that they weren’t real?
My brothers didn’t really care. I think they would’ve been happy to catch any animal at all. I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to catch a snipe and hold it, since they were supposed to be soft like birds. Now I think it’s really funny.
The snipe hunt was a joke played on my informant by her grandparents, but it could also be considered a rite of passage (transitioning from being in the group that doesn’t know what snipes are to being in the group that’s in on the joke). I hadn’t heard of snipe hunting, but I have been sent on similar fool’s errands. As a child, my father once let me run around Home Depot looking for a “left-handed screwdriver” while he was shopping.