Capturing Snipe With Mist Nets

During the winters of 1967-68 and 1968-69, 1,015 common snipe (Capella gallinago) were banded on a fresh water marsh in north central Florida including 994 which were captured with mist nets. The most productive techniques were driving the birds into nets concentrated in areas of heavy snipe utilization, and intercepting snipe along regular flight lanes. Net type, mesh size, color, and field techniques are described. Other capture methods are briefly discussed. References on the general use of mist-nets to capture birds can be found but few describe a netting technique for snipe. McClure (1956) reviewed three methods of arranging nets depending on the habitat (shoreline, hillside, and marsh) to capture various species. Sheldon (1960) discussed the most successful net arrangements, mesh sizes, and hours of operation for mist-netting woodcock during the summer in Maine. Tuck (1965) has used mist nets successfully in capturing snipe but has not described his method of netting snipe in their wintering range in detail. A snipe banding program supported by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife was initiated in Florida during October 1967, as part of the "Accelerated Research Program" for shore and upland migratory game birds, administered by the Migratory Bird Populations Station. In two winters 1,015 snipe were banded. Of these 994 were captured with mist nets. In view of the new interest in research and management of snipe, a description of the techniques for capturing this species seems warranted. I would like to express my appreciation to Messrs. James A. Brogdon, Neal F. Eichholz, Robert W. Phillips, and Harvey L. Hill for their assistance in conducting field work. Special thanks are due Dr. Leslie M. Tuck for the helpful suggestions he made during a two-week visit to the study area in February 1968. Mr. John Camp, Ocala, kindly permitted us to use his property for the banding work. Lovett E. Williams, Jr., reviewed this manuscript and offered suggestions during its preparation.

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