Snipe Hunting

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Audio Performance:

Snipe Hunting


“So when I was a kid, my Dad and I would go camping with an organization similar to boy scouts.  And they’d take up snipe hunting.  And snipe hunting was like this bird-like creature that you go hunting with — you get a sack, like those huge burlap sacks, and you go with a flashlight and you try to catch these birds.  And it has to be like… every boy needs to experience it because as you’re doing this, my Dad was telling me the stories of when he camped out trying to hunt snipes by himself.  But really all it ends up being are all the dads behind throwing rocks and making sounds, but the kids are just going beserk, like yelling at all these snipes sticking in their bags, are It’s just like a great fun thing to do for both a son and a dad.

This folk custom takes the idea of a “snipe hunt”, which is more conventionally a prank, and turns it into almost a rite of passage between fathers and sons, because the focus was less on actually trying to hunt (or find) the mythical snipes, but also to have a bonding experience.  In addition, the change of snipe from hard-to-find-bird to mythical creature gives the custom a bit more whimsy, making it less of a mean-spirited prank and more a collective experience.