Estonia is one of the main destinations of migrating Woodcock, during the spring and summer seasons. Estonia is also one of the main routes of the woodcock migrating from Finland and northern Russia to southern Europe.
Woodcock may be hunted from early August to mid November however the best times for hunting are October to mid-November, when woodcock that having been raised in Estonia are also gathering with the migration.
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The hunting is done with dogs which usually are brought to Estonia by air transport.
The seasons’ first arrivals of woodcock to Estonia occur in early April coming from Southern Europe en route to Finland and Russia . It is estimated that 50,000 pairs of woodcock will choose Estonia for breeding grounds.
Mid-September is when the woodcock begins to return to Southern Europe. In early October woodcock are already in heavy concentration mainly in the inland areas of Estonia. From mid-October onward, when temperatures drop, the heaviest concentrations of woodcock are found at the islands and the coastal areas.
We encourage and advocate sustainable hunting of woodcock. We are very sensitive to the problem of excessive hunting and therefore ask all hunters to respect our measures for sustainable hunting. Daily quotas are not imposed and we hope that hunters will perform with common sense and avoid overkill.
Please remember that if you do not hunt your limit of woodcock during the season in Estonia there is still the opportunity, a couple of months later, in your country.
Transporting dogs is by land or air. Usually groups of up to 2 hunters can transport by plane with one dog per hunter. If the hunting group is large it can be divided into several planes or transported by vehicle.
For those hunters with a large number of dogs road transport is recommended and can be arranged by our organization.
The rusticola scolopax is a major migratory bird. It is a wader and stocky bird.Physical Description
Size measures between 25 and 35 cm and weight between 300 and 350 grams. It has a long thin beak measuring between 6 and 8 cm. The wings are round and small. It has large eyes but vision is quite limited. It has very developed hearing which allows it to perceive the most distant sounds. The legs are very thin and short. The coat is reddish brown with gray tones providing excellent camouflage.Distribution and Habitat
Their range extends to Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Finland, Estonia, North Pole, the Middle East and North Africa. Usually inhabits forested areas providing protection during the day because they are nocturnal birds but most seek wetlands to forage for worms and larvae, their main food. It's easy to find them in areas near rivers.Feeding (Habits)
Mainly feeds on larvae, worms, earthworms, insects, seeds, caterpillars, snails and spiders. It uses its long thin beak to dig into the ground under rotting leaves.Reproduction
The breeding of woodcock is between February and March in northern Europe. The hen usually lays between 2-5 eggs and builds her nest in the ground (soil). Eggs incubate for about 20 days. The chicks leave the nest at 3 days after birth.