Three years ago an April snowstorm caught the woodcock in our area nesting, resulting in many lost young, maybe most. The local population of woodcock plummeted. For the next few years the Fish and Game Department had the woodcock hunting season start about five or six days after the start of the ruffed grouse season. The only woodcock around that early are the resident birds, and perhaps the late season was needed for their numbers to replenish. It was awfully hard to explain to the dogs though, why we had to let the woodcock fly away.
This year, during the late summer, the woodcock seem as abundant as ever and the season is again opening the same day as the grouse season. That’s a good thing.
But they all seem to have gone into hiding on opening day. How do they know?