[pagebreak] At our approach, several wisps of snipe took flight. As each of us swung on a longbill, we were confronted with Lesson Two: "A fleeing snipe has no idea where it's going, which makes shooting one very difficult." When they rise from the ground, most birds start a particular line of flight and keep to it. Not so with snipe: This bird flushes, darts a few yards one way, changes its mind and perhaps turns at a right angle to its original course. Then it might suppose it has made a mistake after all and once more alter its direction. The bird might rise high in the air and circle for a while, looking for a desirable spot to alight, or settle into a straight, swift course that doesn't end until the snipe forgets that it's frightened. This eccentric flight pattern puzzles many sportsmen, and some who are capital shots at other birds are frustrated by snipee. They might as well be holding open a bag in the dark.