Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby aunt betty » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:34 am

A Rail is a "migratory game bird" by definition. Woodcock is another example of a migratory game bird.
Not waterfowl.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Joe Guide » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:28 am

Greetings again...

Yes all the Rail species in N. American are all migratory...and the great State of CA is trying to rebuild it's California Rail population. I was up in Sacramento and Tule Lake, CA a few years ago trying to take a photo of one of those endangered Rails. Enviromental run off due to building, along with crop runoff and pesticides near water souces are always problems in areas like Sacramento, as it is in the Chesapeake Bay of VA.

If you live in the South Atlantic States or the Gulf Coastal States and saltwater fly fish in the months of March and April you will see thousands of Clappers out in the saltmarshes that are favorable habitats.

Clapper, VA, Sora are the more dominate species. Kings and Sora more frequent fresh water rice fields and in Central Flyway areas like 10,000 lake wild rice fields, Ohio and ARK, coastal MO on the Mississippi Flyway you can find them in their October or November migration.

CONN, NJ, (which have more Sora's) DEL, Eastern VA, Coastal NC and SC, GA and NE Florida it's (Clapper and King and VA rails) All the coastal saltmarshes are excelent during the super high tides pushing water higher in the flats and saltmarshes.

Hope you all find this information helpful, and try to get out Rail Hunting in your states next season!


And buy a copy of my book whenever it comes out.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby lbhansford » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:02 am

i hunt a big salt marsh and always hear these birds going KEYY KEEEEEEEYYYY KEEEYYYYY KEEY super loud and we jump them walking to and from stands as well. Pops always called them marsh hens, which are they rails or snipe?
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby OGblackcloud » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:07 am

Good luck with your book :thumbsup:
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby ctdeathfrombelow » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:41 am

In CT you are able to shoot birds under power as long as you are seaward of the first bridge.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby nickp9797 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:59 am

lbhansford wrote:i hunt a big salt marsh and always hear these birds going KEYY KEEEEEEEYYYY KEEEYYYYY KEEY super loud and we jump them walking to and from stands as well. Pops always called them marsh hens, which are they rails or snipe?


Rail, very fun to hunt on a flood tide. Otherwise next to impossible to hunt around the marshes here.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Rick Hall » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:46 am

lbhansford wrote:i hunt a big salt marsh and always hear these birds going KEYY KEEEEEEEYYYY KEEEYYYYY KEEY super loud and we jump them walking to and from stands as well. Pops always called them marsh hens, which are they rails or snipe?


In a salt marsh, it would be clapper rails hollering like that. Their near look-alike cousin kings do the same in fresh. Almost sounds like they're doing it from down in a bucket. Snipe are much smaller than clappers or kings and only holler "scaipe," much like a shoe squeaking, when they flush. Snipe go out like little jets, while all the rails, large and small, fly more like helicopters, and if the little Virginia and Sora rails have a readily audible call, I've missed it.

When we hunt rails, it's with dogs in flooded rice or pasture and along marsh edge. Not sport for the out of shape.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Rick Hall » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:53 am

Might add that the coyote brings quite a few, like this Sora, to bag without a shot fired:
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby lbhansford » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:00 am

nickp9797 wrote:
lbhansford wrote:i hunt a big salt marsh and always hear these birds going KEYY KEEEEEEEYYYY KEEEYYYYY KEEY super loud and we jump them walking to and from stands as well. Pops always called them marsh hens, which are they rails or snipe?


Rail, very fun to hunt on a flood tide. Otherwise next to impossible to hunt around the marshes here.



Yep have to agree there. land in yorktown is either high and dry or completely submerged by a nor-easter
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby OHIODUCKA5 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:23 pm

Rick Hall wrote:Might add that the coyote brings quite a few, like this Sora, to bag without a shot fired:
Image



Looks like he ate all the good suff and left you the feet haha :lol3:
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Joe Guide » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:28 pm

South Carolina and GA have the highest of tides during the later split of Rail.

The King and Clapper are down in great numbers and I hunt them down off Charleston after North Carolina season closes, but only the super tides. You can see a photo of my special marsh boat in my YOU TUBE videos (Joe Guide Marsh Hen Hunts). Less than 150 people will hunt all the rail species in that whole state this season. Even with liberal limits, and a high hatch rate, the Clapper rail population will far surpass a few million birds within the Atlantic Flyway.

My book: THE RAIL HUNTERS BIBLE will try to be a scholarly focus on the history of hunting the rail bird in the USA and focus on the major hunting areas only, as well as the development and sustainablity of the species as it's impacted by run off and development of coastal homes impacting wetlands. Should get the book to print by summer of 2014 at the latest.

Best regards and Christmas gif'

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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Bull Island Boy » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:24 pm

lbhansford wrote:
nickp9797 wrote:
lbhansford wrote:i hunt a big salt marsh and always hear these birds going KEYY KEEEEEEEYYYY KEEEYYYYY KEEY super loud and we jump them walking to and from stands as well. Pops always called them marsh hens, which are they rails or snipe?


Rail, very fun to hunt on a flood tide. Otherwise next to impossible to hunt around the marshes here.



Yep have to agree there. land in yorktown is either high and dry or completely submerged by a nor-easter

you can hunt them either on a high flood tide or a dead low tide.just got to know what your doing.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Joe Guide » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:09 pm

Righty ooooooo....Most DNR set their seasons -split to take advantage of the best Full or New Moon High Tides.

There are not too many guides still out there that enjoy poling a flat bottomed skiff with a gunner in the front seat as much as I do. Best regards and happy new year. Take a look at some of my "Joe Guide YOU TUBE Clapper rail/Marsh Hen hunt videos".

My ol' lab sleeps the long sleep, I'm looking for a good Boykin to do the retreaving for future seasons.

I'm glad to be back from the Middle East and back here in the good ol' USA once again.

Best of season and new year to everyone.

Joe Guide
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Joe Guide » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:50 am

Marsh Hen hunting is indeed a labor intensive hunting adventure, with poling a shallow water boat. These are migratory birds and they move down the Atlantic Flyway prior to major cold front or Northerner. I hope to finish up my Marsh Hen book by August 2014 God willing and the creeks don't rise.

I was deployed back to AFG for my second time in that wild country in the winter of 2012 and that set my research and travels back a bit.

There is good solid shooting of Sora rails in New Jersey, SE Virginia, SE North Carolina , and South Carolina down through Georgia inshore during flood tides.

When I was stationed in Western Washington State there was no rail hunting, and when I was down in Oregon, they did not have a season on rails. California King rails are protected by the state of California, and perhaps due to that there is no rail hunting allowed in that state's NW delta marshes or flooded ricefields. The CA delta region has had more than their share of terrible ecological problems over the last twenty years due to land development. That being said, Connecticut old wild ricefields which use to have hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of Sora rails prior to WWII have very little hunting area due to land development . Other US States that have been Limited numbers of rail hunting mostly in flooded fresh water impoundments and ricefields in September and early October are MN, MO, MS, AR, LA.

best regards,
Joe Guide
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby assateague » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:36 am

For the record, sculling is illegal here in the People's Republic. Not that that should surprise anybody.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby jaysweet3 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:11 pm

aunt betty wrote:A Rail is a "migratory game bird" by definition. Woodcock is another example of a migratory game bird.
Not waterfowl.

Ever eat woodcock ? Very livery. Only person I've ever heard of liking woodcock, was Charlie McCarthys girlfriend.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby assateague » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:28 pm

Carol Burnett?
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Botiz630 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:40 pm

assateague wrote:For the record, sculling is illegal here in the People's Republic. Not that that should surprise anybody.


This gives me the idea for a game show. You know how Dave and Paul play "Will if Float?" on The Late Show? You and I could take calls from folks who suggest random, mundane activities and we could play "Is it Legal?"
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby assateague » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:18 pm

Brilliant.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Indaswamp » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:19 pm

jaysweet3 wrote:
aunt betty wrote:A Rail is a "migratory game bird" by definition. Woodcock is another example of a migratory game bird.
Not waterfowl.

Ever eat woodcock ? Very livery. Only person I've ever heard of liking woodcock, was Charlie McCarthys girlfriend.

I got a good recipe..... :wink:
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Rick Hall » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:33 pm

Indaswamp wrote:
jaysweet3 wrote:
aunt betty wrote:A Rail is a "migratory game bird" by definition. Woodcock is another example of a migratory game bird.
Not waterfowl.

Ever eat woodcock ? Very livery. Only person I've ever heard of liking woodcock, was Charlie McCarthys girlfriend.

I got a good recipe..... :wink:


Me, too. Sautee the breast fillets and legs in butter with nothing but a dash of Lawry's or plain salt and black pepper for seasoning and eat while still pink in the middle or, if you don't like medium rare steak, as soon as the juices flow clear. As with all dark meat birds, it's cooking beyond that point that brings out the "liver" and calls for more creative methods.

Woodcock, prepared as above, is my favorite of all meats. Perhaps in part because of the nifty difference between the flavors of the dark breasts and white legs.
Last edited by Rick Hall on Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Indaswamp » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:38 pm

Rick Hall wrote:
Indaswamp wrote:
jaysweet3 wrote:
aunt betty wrote:A Rail is a "migratory game bird" by definition. Woodcock is another example of a migratory game bird.
Not waterfowl.

Ever eat woodcock ? Very livery. Only person I've ever heard of liking woodcock, was Charlie McCarthys girlfriend.

I got a good recipe..... :wink:


Me, too. Sautee the breast fillets and legs in butter with nothing but a dash of Lawry's or plain salt and black pepper for seasoning and eat while still pink in the middle or, if you don't like medium rare steak, as soon as the juices flow clear. As with all dark meat birds, it's overcooking that brings out the "liver" and calls for more creative methods.

Woodcock, prepared as above, is my favorite of all meats. Perhaps in part because of the nifty difference between the flavors of the dark breasts and white legs.

that's the funny thing about woodcocks...the dark meat is on the breasts, and the white meat is on the legs....go figure.... :lol3:

Sous Vide works well to not over cook the birds too. And the seasoning in the bag sitting in the frig, soaks in to flavor the meat very well.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Rick Hall » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:41 pm

Indaswamp wrote:that's the funny thing about woodcocks...the dark meat is on the breasts, and the white meat is on the legs....go figure.... :lol3:


The best thing Missouri outdoor writer, Joel Vance, ever wrote was that if wildlife biologists wanted to do something really worthwhile, they'd invent a six-legged woodcock.
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby Indaswamp » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Rick Hall wrote:
Indaswamp wrote:that's the funny thing about woodcocks...the dark meat is on the breasts, and the white meat is on the legs....go figure.... :lol3:


The best thing Missouri outdoor writer, Joel Vance, ever wrote was that if wildlife biologists wanted to do something really worthwhile, they'd invent a six-legged woodcock.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3: :lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
That one got my funny bone rick! :lol3: :lol3: :lol3: :lol3: :lol3:
So true!!!
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Re: Rail Hunting (Clapper, Virginia and Sora)

Postby beretta24 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:48 pm

You haven't rail hunted until you go after after some big boys in Argentina...make ours look like chickadees.
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