The dog sits poised, ready for action. He can smell the birds and wiggles restlessly with anticipation. The quarry is unseen, sitting tight to the cover. As you draw close, the birds explode from the brush, you mount your shotgun to your shoulder and drop one with a well placed shot.
This may sound like quail hunting, but in fact you are hunting Clapper Rails, colloquially known as "marsh hens." Characterized by liberal bag limits (15 per day) and exciting action, these little-hunted gems are gaining popularity among low-country anglers for good reason. Every bit as fun and exciting as hunting upland birds, the experience is made better with a knowledgeable guide poling you into likely areas and a ready bird dog to fetch your birds when downed.
These birds are hunted on the same flood tides during which tailing red fish are caught, making "low country cast and blast" expeditions a staple in Northeast Florida's outdoor experiences. Come see what marsh hen hunting is all about! Marsh hen hunting is available pursuant to the season set by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and is generally September 1st to November 15.*
*Hunts do require guests to purchase a Florida Hunting License. Details are available at http://gooutdoorsflorida.com
A Boykin Spaniel poses with a limit of marsh hens on the rear deck of a Hell's Bay skiff