snipe hunt

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snipe hunt

1. A practical joke in which the victim is sent on a hunt for a fictitious animal called a snipe. When I was in the Cub Scouts, the youngest members were always sent out on a snipe hunt by the counselors on the night of our first big campout.
2. By extension, any hunt, search, or quest for something that is fictitious, non-existent, elusive, or illusory. The president has pledged to make universal healthcare a reality, but I think he's really just on a snipe hunt.
See also: hunt, snipe
References in periodicals archive ?
The snipe hunt goes best when two people chase 'em into the gully from opposite walls of the mountains--so the rookie is in the perfect spot to catch a few of the confused beasts in his sack.