Observations on Wintering Woodcock in Northeast Georgia

During 5 consecutive hunting seasons (1969-1974), 57 hunters made 136 woodcock hunts at 27 sites in northeast Georgia. In 728 man-hours of hunting, 1,132 woodcock flushes occurred. Hunters fired 1,171 shots and bagged 308 woodcock. Forty-three birds were shot down hut lost and 20 were feathered but kept flying. Overall, 1.56 woodcock were flushed per man-hour of hunting, and hunters bagged approximately one bird ofevery four flushed. Crippling loss (in relation to total kill) was computed to be 17 percent. Although hunting opportunity and hunter success compared closely with results of previous hunter surveys undertaken in northern areas, crippling loss was much higher than previously indicated. Using flushing rates, river or creek floodplains were preferred diurnal sites as opposed to beaver pond, upland, and mixed habitat locales. Swamp privet appeared to be favorite cover. Climatic conditions were the probable cause of decline in woodcock abundance in most sites during the 1971-72 season. Additional observations were given on seasonal variations in woodcock abundance, arrival and departure dates, and other information regarding woodcock wintering in the area.

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