If you're going to be involved in snipe hunting in Michigan, the DNR, though at least one police jurisdiction has issued strict rules for the activity that will likely be followed across the state. Atop its Facebook post are the most important words to be remembered: "Please respect the Snipe. They are rare and fast. Almost like you can't find 'em."

At a time when relations with law enforcement entities are strained at times, an effort like this reminds us that we all need to take a deep breath and laugh a little.

The Allen Park PD's post goes on to explain: A snipe hunt is a type of practical joke or fool's errand, in existence in North America as early as the 1840s, in which an unsuspecting newcomer is duped into trying to catch a nonexistent animal called a snipe. Although snipe are an actual family of birds, a snipe hunt is a quest for an imaginary creature whose description varies.

The target of the prank is led to an outdoor spot and given instructions for catching the snipe; these often include waiting in the dark and holding an empty bag or making noises to attract the creature. The others involved in the prank then leave the newcomer alone in the woods to discover the joke. As an American rite of passage, snipe hunting is often associated with summer camps and groups such as the Boy Scouts. In France, a similar joke is called "hunting the dahut".

The author of the post added in the comment section: "As a freshman at Northern Michigan University, I fell for the Ole Snipe hunting thing... Ugh."

Another commenter, Tina Younger posted: "In Colorado, they would tell us kids to keep an eye out for jackalopes. Always wanted to see a rabbit with antlers."

 

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