Snipe hunting is an expression, used to describe a fool’s errand.
It may also be a practical joke to prank our subordinates, for example freshmen or little brothers.
We basically set them up to search for the imaginary bird, the “snipe” which is said to resemble a pheasant. We then proceed to misguide the victims of the prank to make them head into unforgiving places, like bushes or a patch of cacti.
Origin of the term
Snipe is an actual bird in North America, but this is beside the point.
The pranked members are given a description of the snipe, that differs from the original bird.
The practice has been present in the United States for quite a while, said to trace back to the 1840’s, as a prank rite of passage.
During the 20th century it was often encountered in summer camps and Boy Scout groups.
Spread of the term
These camps set the ground for the spread of the practice, becoming widely recognized and known across the United States.
Snipe hunting today is less of a practice and more of an expression, used to describe a fool’s errand; a goal that is so elusive, it is impossible to be achieved.
- Urban Dictionary – snipe hunt