The brief American woodcock season is almost here, Oct. 29 – Dec. 12. The “timberdoodle” summers in the northeastern U.S. and Canada and migrates about now to winter on the Gulf Coast. The daily bag limit is three; remember that the small game license and the Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit are required. Primary habitat is second growth woodlands where the ground has good moisture.
Try tracking the woodcock’s southerly movements online with the Woodcock Migration Mapping System, courtesy of the Ruffed Grouse Society. Users can go to www.ruffedgrousesociety.org/migration-map to see where the most sightings were on the previous day, previous week or month. As of mid-October reports showed heavy bird activity in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Maine, moderate activity in Michigan, New York and New England; light activity has been reported in most of the other states, including Middle Tennessee. They’re coming south right on schedule.