Upland Hunting Woodcock in the South Carolina
Upland Hunting The American Woodcock aka Timber Rocket
A small elegant migratory game bird who’s plumage is golden in flight and a magnificent camouflage when on the forest floor. Woodcock have long bills they use for probing, feeding primarily on grubs and earth worms. With that kind of diet it’s no wonder they are often flushed from soft, swampy, leaf-littered bottoms. These little birds thrive in young forested habitats that are soft and have a high stem density. The areas they hold can be tough on a dog and hunter. Stands so thick with saplings, briars and cane you often can’t even see a dog on point. Woodcock coverts are no place for your cabinet queen double barrel, as guns can take a good beating navigating through dense forest. Gunning in heavy cover calls for open chokes, cylinder, skeet or improved cylinder out of 20 or 28 gauges. Light game loads in #8’s are what I shoot. I really have enjoyed shooting the RST Shot shells out of my guns, and they do the job on small birds like Woodcock and Quail.
Pointing dogs are not needed for upland hunting South Carolina , but sure do add to the experience. Charles Norris said it best “Without a dog, upland shooting is a poor, drab, lonesome, and generally unsatisfactory business. Much of the joy of shooting is dependent upon the companionship of a favorite dog”. I prefer pointing breeds when it comes to upland hunting.
My breeds of choice is the American Brittany and the English Setter. Both breeds are athletic and strong making big casts and buying heavy cover. My Male Brittany (Bud) is well seasoned having hunted most upland game birds from wild Pheasants to Sharp Tail Grouse in the western states. Bud is a medium range dog in the Woodcock covers and methodically hits birdy objects. He’s a true pleasure to watch work. My Setter female (Penny ) is still a puppy and learning the ropes. This is her first season and she’s really showing a lot of promise. Penny runs beautifully and is super classy on point.
When flushed, well theirs no telling what the timber rocket may do. I’ve seen them sail into the next county while others flush only to sit back down 30 yards ahead of a dog. These birds flush hard and fast and usually take the path that offers little to no shot. I often tell my clients I want to hear both barrels fired! One to clear the brush and the other to hit the bird!
If you have never had the pleasure of hunting behind a well trained gun dog, you need to add Upland Hunting South Carolina to your bucket list!