[[quoteright:320:[[WesternAnimation/{{Up}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vlcsnap-2010736.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:[-Found it.-] ]]

->''"The following items do not exist: Keys to the Drop Zone, a box of grid squares, blinker fluid, winter air for tires, canopy lights, or Chem-Light ® batteries."'' [[note]]Note that in a bit of TechnologyMarchesOn, the last of these ''does'' exist now.[[/note]]
-->-- #152 on ''Literature/SkippysList''

A common hazing ritual [[TruthInTelevision in real life]], a Snipe Hunt consists of sending the ButtMonkey, NaiveNewcomer, or a BumblingSidekick out on [[ImpossibleTask an impossible or imaginary task]] to get them out of the way or humiliate them. Oftentimes used in comedy as a B-Plot to the main action, and a common ending involves the getter finding what they were sent out to get (even if it was, say, a unicorn) or finding the wrong thing and having hilarity [[HilarityEnsues ensue]]. Bonus points if [[AchievementsInIgnorance the finder locates the imaginary item or accomplishes the]] ImpossibleTask [[ImpossibleTaskInstantlyAccomplished right away.]]

Named after a common practical joke that involves sending a newcomer out to catch a snipe, a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe real-life marsh-dwelling bird]] that riflemen find ''extremely'' difficult to get a piece of (hence the term "sniper", implying that the marksman has enough skill to consistently bring down that same tricky bird), in a bag. The victim is left there "holding the bag" as part of the humiliation. Also commonly referred to as a fool's errand, and may overlap with YouGetMeCoffee. (Interestingly enough, the term "snipe hunt" is so much more well known than the actual bird that [[AluminumChristmasTrees many people are surprised to find out that there really is a bird called a snipe]].)

The fictional version of the snipe is often described as a rather horrific creature. Usually something akin to a werewolf, or mutant bird. Fictional snipes are usually described as being all black with glowing red eyes.

On occasion, someone who sends a new-hire on a Snipe Hunt will have ''dramatically'' underestimated his target's intelligence; one semi-famous example is that of a new Navy recruit being sent to the engine room to get a 'bucket of steam', only to return ten minutes later with a pail full of dry ice! If it was supposed to be a genuinely ImpossibleTask, such an act of WeDoTheImpossible can set a character up as either a genius, a badass, or at least a master of [[ExactWords lateral thinking]].

In a real-life work situation, {{Snipe Hunt}}s are met with a variety of responses depending on the nature of the workplace -- while a less 'formal' atmosphere, like your local [=FutureShop=], might just shake their heads and bear the tradition, a lawyer's office is much more structured, and a Snipe Hunt means that you're holding up someone's (possibly time-critical) files in order to play a useless prank.

Oftentimes, the character returns [[MovingTheGoalposts only to be sent out again, to fulfill a more specific version of the demand]], e.g.: "I wanted a ''red'' flower" Or, "Get me DIET Soda".

And sometimes, the person actually wasn't meant to go on a snipe hunt, but takes a joke literally. Akin to: "Go jump off a cliff." "Okay"!

The deadly version is TheUriahGambit, when someone is sent on a dangerous mission by a "friendly" party who secretly wants them dead. See also ShaggyDogStory.

Not to be confused with [[SniperDuel trying to find a sniper in a battlefield]]. See also WindmillCrusader, where the participant fails to complete the search.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven'': The crew of the Gekko State did this to Renton in the episode "Absolute Defeat". Renton was sent to deliver a package of "highly-explosive" ramen noodles in a stupid costume and told that his contact would be a man bearing a tattoo of a "legendary and mythical beast". Moondoggie (the previous NewMeat of the Gekko State) gets sent out to videotape Renton making a fool of himself, but suspects that ''he's'' actually on a meta-snipe hunt when Renton takes the job [[ThePollyanna unnaturally seriously]]. When Moondoggie finally snaps and starts beating Renton up, the boy was saved by a man with a tattoo of [[TheAce Holland]] on his back; Renton immediately decides that he's found his contact. HilarityEnsues -- on both sides of the screen. The guys back on the Gekko watching it all were laughing their asses off, almost to the point of literally rolling on the floor.
* ''Manga/HajimeNoIppo'': When Sendo arrives to spar with [[TheRival Miyata]], Ippo isn't allowed to go watch because the gym had officially cut all ties to the Miyata family. In order to give Ippo an excuse to go watch the fight anyway, his gymmates send him to [[ImpossibleTask buy them some nonexistent products]], including Pokarimin C drink, Tsuchinoko drink, Arowana Cola, Doctor Pappy, and next month's issue of a magazine. Surprisingly, he does find a Tsuchinoko drink.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' Shippuden: In the Six Tails filler arc, Utakata promises to accept Hotaru as a student if she fulfills tasks that he thinks are impossible for her (for example, mastering a water jutsu that is impossible to do without water-nature chakra), since he [[ShooTheDog doesn't believe that he can truly give her what she wants]]. Contrary to what he expects, she manages to accomplish each task.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'':
** Accelerator sends Index to fetch replacement batteries for the collar that lets him use his powers. Accelerator then muses that there are no replacement batteries and he did that to keep her out of harm's way while he goes to rescue Last Order.
** Motoharu ''somehow'' knocks Touma out and smuggles him into the girl's locker room. When Touma wakes up, Motoharu calls and tells him an evil wizard has sneaked into the women's dorms and will kill everyone if Touma doesn't stop him in time. Touma runs himself ragged trying to find the wizard ''and'' evade the enraged girls before he eventually realizes he's being tricked, then catches up to Motoharu in time to stop him from torturing and killing a guy.
* In ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'', Shiba sends Takeda on several of these before he'll take him on as a student. Takeda somehow manages to pull it off. Shiba takes this as a sign that fate wants him to train Takeda, and takes him on as a disciple.

* Milton Jones:
-->"On my first day on the building site, I was ready to be sent off on some stupid errand or other--for a bucket of "striped paint" or something--and sure enough, someone told me to go and get an [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_medical_services "air ambulance".]] ''[tuts and rolls eyes]'' I showed him, though. Wandered around for a bit and then came back and said I couldn't find one anywhere. You should've seen his face!...It was blue.''

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/JusticeLeague: Year One'' has FishOutOfWater Comicbook/{{Aquaman}} asked to find a "bulb wrench" to help with work on the new headquarters after he accidentally crushes a light bulb [[DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength because he is unused to the pressure of the atmosphere as opposed to the ocean]]. He does not see the funny side once he realizes what happened, since he sees it as an example of being excluded and mocked for being different.
* An Franchise/ArchieComics story has Archie sending a Central City youth on a Snipe Hunt for a film supposedly showing the Riverside star player, Moose Mason, meeting with an underworld figure. The idea being to discredit Moose and have him thrown off the football (USA Gridiron) team so Central City has a better chance of winning against Riverside. When the youth finally shows the film to the Riverside coach (having not viewed it himself previously), it shows Moose delivering a lunch box to his father... who is a sewer engineer.
* A GoldenAge ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' has Robin going undercover as a gofer with a construction crew stringing power cables. He is subjected to the tradional hazing by being to sent to fetch a 'brass magnet' and 'light bulb oil'.
* ''ComicBook/MortadeloYFilemon'': The search for the titular traitor in the story "Hay un traidor en la T.I.A." ("There's a traitor in the T.I.A.") eventually turns into this. [[spoiler:The enemies knew all the secret plans because the Super transmitted them to Fulgencio, the service coordinator who is located in the building in front of the T.I.A. headquarters, by yelling them at him from the window, so the enemies only had to place a spy waiting on the sidewalk below and record everything.]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In ''Thimble Theatre'', during the storyline ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} makes his debut, Castor Oyl and Ham Gravy are about to leave on another adventure, and in order to ditch Olive, who insists on coming along to keep an eye on her boyfriend (Ham), they tell her to fetch a 'dimes worth of longitude'. Olive naturally gets laughed at. When Popeye tells her what longitude is, she gives Castor a good thrashing.
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Retail}}'', one of the pranks Cooper plays on new employees is asking for them to go and search around for a "wall stretcher".
* ''ComicStrip/{{Foxtrot}}''
** In an early strip, Peter asks Jason if he wants to go on a snipe hunt. Jason refuses and says only an idiot wouldn't know what a snipe hunt is. Cut to them asking their dad if he wants to go on a snipe hunt.
** Another strip had Peter and Paige again asking Jason if he wants to go on a snipe hunt.
--->'''Peter and Paige:''' Hey, Jason, wanna go on a snipe hunt?\\
'''Jason:''' Why? So you two can lead me out into the woods and ditch me? Where under a full moon every tree will look like a gnarly zombie reaching out to grab me and every shadow will look like Bigfoot moving in for the kill?\\
'''Peter and Paige:''' Um, maybe.\\
'''Jason:''' Cool. Can we wait 'til it gets a little darker out?

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'': Used in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/854032/1/The_Hunting_of_the_Snipe this]] fanfic, when Wallace's friends send Daisuke off on a snipe hunt. Then he tells them he found one. [[spoiler:He caught onto the joke. It's Chibimon inside his bag.]]
* In a later chapter of ''FanFic/InvaderZimTheSeries'', [[RelationshipSue Sue]] sends Zoburg out to hunt snipe so that she can get some time [[UnholyMatrimony alone with Spork]].
* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' fiction ''Fanfic/TheBlackSheep'', Balthazar Smith-Rhodes makes a living out of getting ''other people'' to finance his Snipe Hunts. Trading as "Howondaland Smith, Balgrog Hunter", he makes a good living persuading other people that Balgrogs exist and getting them to pay his necessary hunting expenses.
* In fic ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5464274/1/So-You-Think-You-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day So You Think You Had a Bad Hair Day]]'', Creator/AAPessimal tops this with Euryate, the one gorgon officer in the Watch, convincing a gullible Fred Colon that the un-named meat on the revolving spit in the Ephebian kebab shop is the flesh of the one-legged ''monopedos'' rabbit. So called as it only has one leg and hunting it calls for skill and fast reflexes as nobody can predict the way it will bounce on its one massively muscled leg. Stavros the kebab-shop-owner joins in with the joke, and Fred is utterly convinced.
* In ''Fanfic/TheStalkingZukoSeries'', Toph, fed up with Haru pestering her to teach him metalbending, sends him to find metal around the temple, confident that he'll be hard-pressed to find it and will be occupied for a long time. Haru comes back with the spoons from the kitchen.
* ''Fanfic/ShakedownShenanigans'' borrows a couple of US military classics. Somebody got Crewman Apprentice Miq’doh Drohhl to do an "echo check"[[note]]The schmuck is told that if he yells at the engine just right, it'll resonate.[[/note]] on the impulse engine when Bynam was test-firing it, and Eleya refers to a NoodleIncident from when she was in the Militia where a corporal tried to get her to "blow the DCA".[[note]]The schmuck is told that the DCA is a kind of air horn that you're supposed to blow before the ship leaves port. The DCA, or Damage Control Assistant, is a junior officer.[[/note]]
-->"They had some trouble finding his front teeth after the next sparring session."

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The premise of ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife''. Princess Atta sends Flik out to find some bugs to fight Hopper, not expecting him to actually find anybody willing to defend an ant colony. Subverted that Flik actually finds what he's looking for...[[MistakenForBadass after a fashion]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'' features a [[LiteralMetaphor literal example]]. Carl sends Russell away on one to get him to stop annoying him. Eventually, he actually finds one, although it's a bit bigger than he expected. Alpha sent Dug away on a literal Snipe Hunt as well, due to the fact that Dug's foolishness was viewed a burden on the pack. True to this trope, he finds the bird. The bird becomes a principal character of the film! What makes it even funnier is that, Carl truly believed that it was impossible because he didn't know that there is such a bird as a snipe, and also that the villain has been searching for this same bird for the past century.
* The first ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' movie contains an example where Donkey is sent off to find a blue flower with red thorns to keep him from distracting Fiona and Shrek while they dealt with the arrow in Shrek's behind. Not only does he find the flower, he wanders through a ''whole copse of them'', complaining that his task would be infinitely easier if he wasn't colorblind, and he only brings back the right flower because he grabs one - ''any'' one - in a panic when he hears Shrek yell. The other characters don't even react weirdly, making it a relatively subtle sight gag.
* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}'' Terk sends Tarzan off to find a hair...of an elephant to get rid of him for some time. He succeeds-- although in the process, he causes a stampede, and the panicking elephants almost crush a baby gorilla.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Provides one of the few lighthearted moments in the war film ''Film/FlagsOfOurFathers''. A higher-ranking soldier asks the others in his group if they have their Masturbation Papers in order, and when one soldier (presumably the one who isn't in on the joke) says he doesn't, he's told to run and ask for them, because if he doesn't get them he can't ship out.
* In ''Film/OceansEleven'', Rusty sends a detective out to "Go find Griggs," as a distraction while he's recruiting Basher in the guise of an FBI agent. This is also an example of the BavarianFireDrill, as Rusty brazenly walks into the police crime scene and walks off with their bombing suspect.
* In ''Film/TheThreeStooges'' short "Tassels in the Air", the boys are painting a table. The owner offers his help, so Moe, to avoid dealing with a third idiot, sends him off to mix a batch of "spotted paint." He reappears a few times throughout the short, trying to mix the paint -- at one point, he tries to create the spots by pouring the paint through a strainer!
* In ''Film/TheInternship'', because the protagonists were annoying them, the younger Google candidates send them to find [[Franchise/XMen Professor Charles Xavier]], at Stanford. Unfortunately, since the candidates based their description of him off the actual fictional character, when they find a professor who looks a little like Charles Xavier, he assumes they're making fun of him, and [[HandicappedBadass promptly hits them]] [[GroinAttack in the nards]].
* A variation in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', where the quest is not impossible, but still bogus: Rocket Raccoon tells Starlord that his plan to escape prison involves some inmate's prosthetic leg. When Starlord returns with said leg (having spent a significant amount of money on it), Rocket tells him he was just kidding.
* In the Spanish movie ''[[ComicBook/MortadeloYFilemon Mortadelo & Filemon: The Big Adventure]]'', the main characters are told by their superior to go and find the Holy Grail (which they confuse with the Davis Cup) as a way to have them away from the real missions. At the end of the movie, [[spoiler:Mortadelo is about to die, and Filemón gives him a sip of water from a trophy cup. It instantly heals Mortadelo, Filemón is amazed and declares he has found the Davis Cup.]]

* Invoked in ''Literature/AmericaTheBook'', in which a new hire at the EPA is told to save the North American Gutter Snipe.
* Played with in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. Robert Baratheon sent his hapless squires off to Ser Aron Santagar for a (non-existent) "breastplate stretcher" when he discovered he'd gotten [[AdiposeRex too fat to fit in his old armor]]. They hesitate, probably knowing there is no such thing, before scampering off at his insistent roaring. Robert laughs and hopes Ser Santagar will send them on to someone else. "We could keep them going all day."
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** A variation appears in a number of Watch novels. Nobby and Colon are sent on these by Vimes to prevent them from interfering with actual police work, but often stumble upon important clues which are vital to solving a case. Also played with in that Colon occasionally sends ''himself'' on such errands, such as making sure a bridge or the opera house isn't stolen, [[ProfessionalSlacker so he doesn't have to do any real work]]. No [[MonumentalTheft major landmark has yet been stolen]] -- except the University, but that was a student prank. This is no mean feat, seeing as how many of the city's major landmarks are less than a foot tall, courtesy of "Bloody Stupid" Johnson's bloody stupidity.
** In ''Discworld/{{Maskerade}}'', Mrs. Plinge mentions how other young men pick on her son Walter, including sending him out on Snipe Hunts to the market for non-existent things, e.g. transparent paint or a packet of holes.
* Inverted in the ''Literature/LegacyOfTheAldenata'': when Thomas Sunday is sent to look for a tube of "Nannite Undercoating" as part of a newbie initiation routine, he returns with an entire case of KY Jelly. Having joined the 555th from another unit, he was already familiar with newbie initiations, so he turned the tables on his would-be tormentor.
* ''[[Literature/IntoTheLookingGlass Vorpal Blade]]'': when an arrogant Marine non-com is sent looking for "ID Ten T" decontamination fluid ([=ID10T=])
* ''Literature/CityOfThieves'', except they are actually expected to find the 'snipe'.
* In ''Literature/CatherineCalledBirdy'', Catherine celebrates April Fools by asking three of the household servants to bring her pigeon's milk, [[PolkaDotPaint striped paint]], and hens' teeth. To her disappointment, the first two ignore her and the third reminds her that she tries the same trick every year and they haven't fallen for it yet. [[note]]Though, in fact, pigeon's milk does exist. It is a high-fat, high-protein secretion from the crop lining on which newly-hatched chicks are fed. It looks somewhat like pale yellow cottage cheese.[[/note]]
* The protagonist of Creator/EvelynWaugh's novel ''Literature/{{Scoop}}'' is sent to buy a variety of non-existent items to prepare for a foreign journey. He's served by an extremely resentful shop assistant who has had the bad luck to always get stuck serving naifs on similar shopping excursions, and who believes that they're just pretending in order to waste his time.
* ''Still More Tales for the Midnight Hour'': A scouting troop does this to a disliked member. However, not only does the scout find 'the snipe', in the form of an unknown and extremely aggressive bird, said bird has lots of friends.
** That was actually another story, ''The Gooney Birds''. ''The Snipe Hunt'' had the same scouting troop discovering a nest of snipes, some form of rat-like creatures, that surround the campsite.
* Matthew [=McGough=]'s ''[[http://www.amazon.com/Bat-Boy-Coming-York-Yankees/dp/0307278646/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255118195&sr=8-7 Batboy: Coming of Age with the New York Yankees]]'' reveals that a common hazing ritual for new batboys was to send them to get a bucket of steam, or the key to the batter's box, or a left-handed bat stretcher (a double whammy as there is no such thing as a bat stretcher, and if there was, it would likely be ambidextrous).
* In the ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' novelization, a junior engineer calls Admiral Kirk out on his condescending behavior by offering him a 'left-handed spanner'.
* Referenced in the ''Literature/AubreyMaturin'' series of books, specifically ''The Far Side of the World'': after rescuing the crew of a whaler and ''de facto'' recruiting them (mainly because there's nowhere else to put them), the crew of the ''Surprise'' start having a bit of good-natured fun with the whalers, like having them ask the gunner for "a length of firing line". Works nicely because the civilian whalers and the naval crewmembers operate by two sets of discipline and two sets of jargon.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': Harry Dresden pulls an interesting variation on this in the infamous [[FanNickname Donut Incident,]] in which the "hunter" knows exactly what's going on and is fine with it. (ItMakesSenseInContext.)
** Unsurprisingly, since Dresden is something of a Phillip Marlowe expy in the earlier books, the same trick gets pulled on him several times with villains setting up an intentional RedHerring or two to get him out of the way while they work. The first occurrence is Victor Sells pointing Harry at his daughter's case, but it happens two or three times in any given novel, being a staple of the genre.
* ''Literature/StarTrekFederation'': Apparently while Picard was running around with Vash in [[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS3E19CaptainsHoliday "Captain's Holiday"]], Riker sent Data on one. Geordi also pulled one on [[TakeThatScrappy Wesley Crusher]].
--> '''Data:''' I was not successful, although I did hold the bag and call for the snipe exactly as Commander Riker had instructed me. Snipe appear to be exceptionally well evolved for remaining unseen. Even the ship's computer has no record of-- ''(Riker bursts out laughing.)'' Captain?\\
'''Riker:''' I'm sorry, Data. It's just that, well, there are no such things as snipe.\\
'''Wesley:''' What?\\
'''Data:''' Have you also hunted snipe, Wesley?\\
'''Wesley:''' Geordi told me--\\
'''Riker:''' Eyes on the board, Mr. Crusher!\\
'''Wesley:''' Aye, sir.\\
'''Data:''' At least that would explain why no one has ever seen one.
* Variation in ''Stormdancer'', first book of ''Literature/TheLotusWar'': Everyone except the Shogun thinks the hunt for the thunder tiger is one of these. Then the protagonists find one.
* In a Creator/WilliamTenn's short story "Errand Boy" warehouse workers sent an overeager boy hanging around to fetch polka-dotted paint. He brought some -- wrong colour, but polka-dotted. The boy turned out to be a naive 10-year-old time traveler with romantic ideas about 20th century businessmen, not unlike some modern depictions of [[{{Pirate}} pirates]].
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''[[Literature/DarkHeresy Innocences Proves Nothing]]'', an elderly Inquisition librarian assumes a character has been sent on a snipe hunt when she asks for information on DemonicPossession of techpriests, something that was considered completely unprecedented when it occurred in the previous novel. [[spoiler: It wasn't a Daemon, but another type of Warp entity.]]
* In the CJ Box novel ''Stone Cold'', Game Warden {{Literature/Joe Pickett}} is in a neighboring district and encounters two hunters who he's been told are recurrent poachers, and when he asks what they've been hunting they answer "snipes" just to be snide. Joe comments that he was once sent on a snipe hunt by some older boys who really just left him out in the woods while they got beers in order to let the guys know that he won't put up with their bullshit like the usual game warden does.
* In the fourth ''Literature/{{Noob}}'' novel, the protagonist PlayerParty end up with two things: a passed-out NonPlayerCharacter that could mean a nice quest reward if bought to the right place and a bunch of other players that they don't want to see getting part of the reward for various reasons. Gaea tells the latter to go get a defribillator from another NonPlayerCharacter allegedly called Dr. Maison (''Series/{{House}}'' in French, the language in which the novel is written). It works on everyone except her own guildmates, who know she's a ManipulativeBitch.
* In the first ''Literature/WarriorCats'' book, Graypaw hopes that Sandpaw and Dustpaw will be sent on one, commenting that he hopes their mentors will set them the task of hunting blue squirrels all day. Firepaw doesn't get the joke, confused because there ''are'' no blue squirrels.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger'' did this to Ranger Alex. He ended up unsuccessful.
* ''Series/TheBill'': The repercussions of Snipe Hunts are seen when, to catch a serial graffiti artist, someone really does have to keep a wall under surveillance. Assuming it to be a joke, the policeman watching the wall wanders off.
* In ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'', Eli Thompson tries to send his son to the neighbor on a snipe hunt, but the neighbor apparently didn't understand. The son returns right back home saying the neighbor had never heard of the item.
* In an early episode of ''Series/{{Carnivale}}'', Ben gets sent off to "clear out the baggage trailer" on his first day of work as a roustabout; naturally, there's no such thing. [[TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday He finds it anyway.]] (It's that kind of show.)
* The firemen in ''Series/RescueMe'' send new probie Damian on a search for a "universal hose coupler." Damian is smart enough to know that he's probably being messed with, but powerless to do anything about it.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' revolved around Frasier being sent on a Snipe Hunt, though he later gets back at the others by agreeing to go on another and abandoning them in the cold.
* The Old Man tries to send Chumlee on one on ''Series/PawnStars'', asking for (among other things) a bucket of steam, a glass hammer, and a left-handed coffee mug. Chumlee realizes this and brings back [[SmarterThanYouLook a steaming bucket of dry ice]] and a full cup of coffee, [[SchmuckBait telling the old man that it's written on the bottom that it's left handed.]] [[HoistByHisOwnPetard The Old Man lifts it up to check, and spills coffee all over his shirt.]] Corey and Rick have no sympathy.
* In the ''Series/FatherTed'' episode "Escape From Victory", Ted gives [[TheDitz Dougal]] the task of guarding the corner flags from theft during a football game. Predictably, he struggles with this.
** Played with later, when Father Cyril does try to take one of the corner flags.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Robert Baratheon is too fat for his armor, so he sends Lancel Lannister to find the breastplate stretcher.
** There's similar dialogue in the book as well, except book!Robert sends Lancel with an errand to the master-at-arms to fetch the aforementioned device (with the obvious intention to make the master-at-arms stare at Lancel).
* In ''Series/ICarly'', annoying fan Mandy is sent off to get "fladoodles," which, of course, don't exist. She comes back an hour later, claiming she had to go to some store in a different state, and then she is told "No, we wanted fat free". Guess what else is in the bag.
* ''Series/TheMickeyMouseClub'' contained the serial Spin and Marty, which featured a Snipe Hunt in its first run.
* In the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' episode ''Fire Maidens of Outer Space'', Joel and the robots imply that the monster wandering the woods was sent on a Snipe Hunt by his friends.
* ''Series/TheOfficeUS'': When the whole group is on an evening cruise, the captain assigns Dwight the task of piloting the ship, which Dwight eagerly accepts. Turns out Dwight is put in front of a prop steering wheel to get him out of the Captain's hair. Even Michael can tell it's fake.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': Data got suckered into a snipe hunt once (as did Wesley).
* ''Series/TheWire'': The detectives at Homicide make the newbie call the zoo about a "Methane Probe for Mr. Lyon".
* In ''Series/TheInbetweeners'', the mechanics at Will's work experience try to send him on one. He sees through it and calls them out on it, which just reinforces their opinion that he's an annoying smart-ass.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' pulled a con based on this in "The Hot Potato Job". The idea was to fake a mole in a high-security company in order to trigger a lockdown. While Sophie and Eliot focused on hunting down the fake mole and distracting company heads, Parker would steal the potato while the security is lax. [[spoiler: Turn out, there ''was'' a mole after all - the janitor has been stealing money for years and has an account in the Cayman Islands. Once they found him out, Sophie had to convince the head of security that there was another mole who was higher up and protecting the janitor]].
* In one episode of ''[[Series/BlueCollarComedy Blue Collar TV]]'', an attractive model tells Jeff Foxworthy she's been invited on a snipe hunt, and that she hopes she can catch one. He's about to warn her about the ruse when she reveals they told her she needs to wear a bikini, after which he responds "y'know, those snipe are good eating, I think I'll join you".
* The first episode of ''Series/{{Rome}}'' had Vorenus and Pullo on a mission to search for the missing Caesar's eagle that could have been anywhere at that point. In reality, Caesar himself was pretty much banking on the eagle being stolen and missing and the mission existed only because it would be strange if nothing was done about the missing eagle. Vorenus decided to bring Pullo with him, knowing that they will fail and be disgraced, since Pullo is already disgraced.
* Once on ''Series/GoodEats'' Alton sends his sister Marsha out to buy a "left-handed sandwich press" to distract her while he cooks with his nephew, revealing later that he already has a(n ambidextrous) press and was just trying to get her out of the way. At the end of the episode she returns whatever she bought is apparently so large it needs all three of them to move into the house.
* The VictimOfTheWeek in the ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' episode "16 Years" is found by two kids brought onto a snipe hunt by their fathers. Had they not found the body, it seems this prank would've later crossed over with the old "burning bag of poop" gag.
* ''Series/LostTapes'': the main plot of "Southern Sasquatch" begins when two men send their future brother-in-law on a snipe hunt during a hunting trip. Everything just goes FromBadToWorse when [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti the Fouke Monster]] shows up.
* In "Won't Ask, Won't Tell" of ''Series/YesDear'', Christine finds out that Jimmy is deliberately ignoring her when he talks to Greg over the phone. Christine then teams up with Kim, tricking their husbands into picking up a non-existent lamp. When Greg and Jimmy find out that they were tricked into a wild goose chase, they go back home and leave their wives a package... [[{{Pun}} that had an actual wild goose]].

* The folk song "Scarborough Fair" in which the narrator replies to a proposal of marriage by agreeing only if a series of impossible tasks are performed, such as obtaining an acre of land that exactly skirts the tideline, and ploughing it with a ram's horn. In effect, a polite way of saying "No chance!"

* In ''Radio/CabinPressure'', Arthur the steward is sent up onto the roof of the (stationary) plane to "adjust the aerial" so that the First Officer can listen to the Six Nations rugby final on the radio. In reality he's [[GoLookAtTheDistraction getting him out of the way]] so he can steal a passenger's expensive whisky, while Arthur spends a rather long time getting increasingly mystified that he can't even ''find'' the aerial...

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' features a monster called [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Snipe_Hunter Snipe Hunter]].
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': A sourcebook called ''Relics'' mentions a very stupid ogre king who was told by a mage he will gain respect if he'll slay a '''dreaded weresnipe''' living in a nearby cave. The king was lucky enough to stumble upon an artifact which enhanced his mind.
** Mentioned in one of the sample dragon entries from the ''Draconomicom''--one particular green dragon gets his kicks by capturing adventuring parties and holding their equipment hostage until they bring him back some rare or hard-to-acquire item. Whenever they come back, they find that the chimera pelt or whatever is the wrong size or wrong color and get sent out again. The game ends when the adventurers wise up and don't return, or when the dragon grows bored and just eats them.
* ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'' has the Carnival bloodline in ''Bloodlines: The Legendary'', who send prospective initiates to go find "the key to the midway" (an actual carny tradition). This is generally to keep the fledgling off their backs while they assess the fellow's worth. If the fledgling refuses, they can never join the bloodline... unless it's because they saw through the trick, in which case their odds of being allowed in shoot up. A similar trick is used to divert noisy vampires who might rat the Carnival out to the Prince.
* A ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'' supplement had a story about a [[IdiotHero Lion husband]] and [[TheChessmaster Scorpion wife]]. The wife sends him on a Snipe Hunt for a left-handed widdershin oatmeal stick, which he dutifully goes looking for, day after day. On the day she invites over the ex she would have preferred to marry, but her husband barred from the house, an unscrupulous merchant sells him a left-handed widdershin oatmeal stick at a ridiculous price and he triumphantly returns...to find the guy who was barred from his house sitting in the living room. Hilarity and romance ensued.

* In ''My Sister Eileen'' and its musical adaptation ''Theatre/WonderfulTown'', Chic Clark, Eileen's reporter friend, tells her that the city editor of his paper may have a job lined up for her sister Ruth, who is desperately hunting for a writing job. When Ruth gets the call and hears that the city editor wants her to cover a boatload of coffee millionaires from Brazil who have just landed on a Brooklyn pier, she rushes off in great excitement after a few hurried preparations. Soon after, Chic pays an unexpected visit to Eileen, but she remains concerned about her sister and tells him she has to change for a dinner date she has lined up. He objects: "Excuse ya? After I went and fixed it to get ya alone without that eagle-eyed sister of yours around!" Eileen then realizes that Chic, not his editor, called Ruth to lead her on a wild-goose chase and turns on him angrily. As it turns out, Ruth does find a bunch of Brazilian admirals in Brooklyn, but they speak no English and follow her all the way back to her apartment.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout|1}}'': The Glow Quest is little more than an extended Snipe Hunt--one that's expected to kill the questant, no less. Like many examples, the place is filled with great loot (and good info on the backstory) if you buff [[spoiler:your radiation resist]] beforehand.
* ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic 4'' has a passing mention of a coming of age ritual called "Snark Hunting", which basically comes down to this. It's then subverted when it turns out the heroes' quest was not one of these.
* Newbie players on the ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' forums are sometimes told about an elusive UFO base that [[WeSellEverything sells every item and ship in the game dirt-cheap]]. Supposedly, it's the home of the {{flying saucer}}s that appear in the game as an EasterEgg. [[spoiler:The UFO Base does actually exist--[[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness but only]] in ''Videogame/XBeyondTheFrontier'']].
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' the [[JerkAss Arch]][[PointyHairedBoss mage]] will give you a task of solving the mystery of the disappearance of the Dwemer, if you ask him for work after you've been accepted into the Mage Guild. This is a mystery roughly 4000 years in the making and no one, not even the local ''deities'', have any idea what happened to them. [[spoiler: By finding the right items and talking to the right people, including the last living Dwemer, you come up with a very plausible theory]].
* Happens twice to the Bounty Hunter in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' during their class story line. After becoming [[spoiler: a great hunt champion]] the others haze them by sending them after, Jicoln Cadera, and Reneget Vause who were considered uncatchable. [[spoiler:Subverted when the player character catches them both]].
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'': Prince Leo reveals to his retainer, Odin, that the first few missions he sent him on were more or less requests for things made up on the spot (e.g. "find a lodestone imbued with the essence of darkness") or thought to be impossible ("defeat the spirits that slept in the Woods of the Forlorn"). Despite this, [[AchievementsInIgnorance Odin was actually able to accomplish all of Leo's bogus demands]].
* ''Videogame/SunlessSea'': The Gant Pole is a half-mythical place supposedly in the Unterzee, where old and wounded beasts supposedly go to die, and, according to the various snipe hunts captains set up for their newest recruits, home to a distressingly large amount of lost pocket watches. As the ''Zubmariner'' expansion reveals, the place exists, and everything said about it is true aside from the part about the pocket watches. Bringing in a port report about it is bound to get you laughed at, though at least they pay well for the laughs.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'':
** Agatha is sent on one. She actually manages to get the Silverodeon working again, though they'd given her the task [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20050307 just to keep her busy]] and weren't expecting her to succeed.
** At one point, an airship crewman gets told that he's now working for the heir to his boss; his reaction is to ask one of the others if he was just '[[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080613 sent out for a crate of balloon juice]]'.
** Agatha herself [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20050829 sent]] Aedith on such a hunt to keep her little clanks a secret.
** When Agatha arrives at Castle Heterodyne, she isn't sent on a snipe hunt--but Wilhelm tells her that "people will have you fetching devil dog chow and left-handed trilobite tighteners soon enough".
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' has the main characters sent on a wild goose chase to find some "[[ThunderboltIron Star metal]]" to [[spoiler:repair [[AncestralWeapon Roy's sword]] (which was shattered in the previous arc)]]. There actually was some where they were headed at some point in time; however, the [[spoiler:[[ThePsychoRangers Linear Guild]]]] assumed that it would have been claimed by other adventurers by now, not to mention [[spoiler:it wasn't even needed to repair the sword]]. They do find it, though; however, it turns out to be a [[spoiler:chunk about the size of a pebble]]--but later, it turns out that [[spoiler:that chunk is actually enough to reforge Roy's sword with a [[InfinityPlusOneSword +5 bonus and undead slaying abilities]]]].
** Durkon has technically been in a Snipe Hunt since before the start of the comic: a prophecy foretold that Durkon's return to his home would cause the destruction of the dwarven homelands. Therefore, his superiors sent an unknowing Durkon to the human lands and told him not to return until they called him back. Another Oracle foretold that Durkon eventually WILL return...posthumously. [[spoiler:Now that Durkon has become a vampire...]]
* The "hatchet joke" in ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}''. The Savoys make Mordecai Heller [[spoiler:chop some...compromising evidence up with a hatchet]]. He is not happy when they tell him it was a joke. [[spoiler:Boss Asa Sweet later asks him if the rather OCD Mordecai put the pieces in alphabetical order. After a moment of silence, Mordecai snarks, "A is for amygdala, Mr. Sweet"]].
* In ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', after fetching three of the Elemental Orbs for [[AWizardDidIt Sarda]], [[DesignatedHero Black]] [[OmnicidalManiac Mage]] starts to feel like the orbs are just a Snipe Hunt. When told to find the Orb of Air, he says "Oh, sure. The Orb of Air. And after that maybe we'll get the '[[Machinima/RedVsBlue Orb of Headlight Fluid' and then the 'Orb of Elbow Grease]]' too, right?"
** [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2005/04/19/episode-542-what-do-you-do-with-a-drunken-sailor/ Once]], to get Fighter inside a room rather than outside, Black Mage uses an old trick: a paper with "There is a map to Swordtown on the other side of this note" on both sides. Somehow, [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2005/04/21/episode-543-no-loose-ends/ he found it]].
*** Or, for some of you who won't believe it, he got into the Real Light Warriors' supplies.
** Also, when the Warriors wanted to take over the town Mafia, they got the [[GoodIsDumb well-meaning]] Fighter out of the way by sending him off to play in a Drownball tournament (a parody of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'''s Blitzball), where the rules are, apparently, that you have to drown in order to win. And it's unclear where the ball comes in.
*** Incidentally, Fighter won the tournament by default, since he was the only player who failed to drown, on account of his brain using less oxygen. That's perfectly logical.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Nodwick}}'', adventurers distract their naive cleric when they're about to abuse the henchman...[[spoiler:by using him as an obvious distraction]].
-->'''[[http://comic.nodwick.com/?p=898 Piffany]]:''' I didn't find the '''undead snipe''' you said was lurking in--where did Nodwick go?
* In ''Webcomic/NipAndTuck'', Tagger Beaver [[http://www.rhjunior.com/NT/00086.html gets rid of the protesters by sending them off to interfere with the snipe hunt]].
* In ''Webcomic/TwoKinds'', exiled Basitins are allowed to return to the Basidian Islands on the condition that they complete an "impossible" task. Keith, for example, had to return with Trace, the ruler of the Humans at the time.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In episode 3 of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', the Red team sent their rookie Pvt. Donut to go fetch some elbow grease and some headlight fluid from "the store". He returned with the Blue flag, thereby starting the plot proper. Made even funnier by the fact that he instantly caught on that they were sending him on a Snipe Hunt with the elbow grease. He was completely fooled by headlight fluid though.
-->'''Donut:''' Elbow grease? [[{{Subverted}} How stupid do they think I am]]? [[DoubleSubversion Once I get back to base with that headlight fluid, I'm gonna talk to the Sergeant]].
** And how did Donut even ''get'' the Blue Flag? Church and Tucker told their own rookie, Caboose, to watch their base's flag so they wouldn't have to talk to him. They justified their orders by claiming that a general might stop by for an inspection, with the vague description that the general's armor would be different from their's. So, when Donut wanders into Blue Base thinking it's the alleged store he was sent to, Caboose happily gives him the flag, thinking that the general had arrived.
** When [[Creator/GavinFree Gavin]] accidentally mentioned headlight fluid [[Creator/RoosterTeeth in a podcast]] (when meaning to say windshield-wiper fluid), it ''instantly'' became a case of NeverLiveItDown.
* In ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights'', The Nostalgia Critic prevents Ma-Ti from joining the quest with various snipe hunts. First, he tells Ma-Ti to stay back and guard the children and elderly...that don't exist (that's what makes the task so difficult). Then, when Nostalgia Chick "loses her contact lens", Ma-Ti must stay behind and search for it. He eventually finds ''someone's'' contact lens (exactly whose it is isn't made clear), but still can't join the group because Mickey has erectile dysfunction, which can only be cured by goat porn, which Ma-Ti must go forth and find.
** This gets to be so blatant that the last request is simply for Ma-Ti to get the Critic some coffee. [[spoiler:After Ma-Ti sacrifices himself at the end of the quest, [[TearJerker the Critic finds the coffee set on the hall table at his place.]]]]
* ChronicleOfTheAnnoyingQuest actually ''began'' as a Snipe Hunt. Ellers wanted to drink with his fellow paladins ([[CasanovaWannabe and pick up chicks]]), but they told him OnlyTheWorthyMayPass and sent him to kill a Black Dragon, knowing it would likely just kill him.
* In ''Literature/ShadowOfTheTemplar'', [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits Team]] [[FBIAgent Templar]] sends [[NewMeat Dave]] on one of these when he's first assigned to the team: find a way to break into [[spoiler:[[InsufferableGenius Rich]]'s computers]]. Although they eventually accept him [[TrueCompanions as one of their own]], they forget to tell him to ''stop''. [[spoiler:And are therefore doubly shocked when he announces that he's ''[[AchievementsInIgnorance succeeded]]'']].
* [[http://kalecoauto.com/ KaleCo Auto]] is an entire website of these, presented in catalog form.
* Website/NotAlwaysWorking has an [[http://notalwaysworking.com/got-them-by-hook-or-by-crook/34723 example]] of a snipe hunt that went wrong, since the "snipe" turned out to be a very real (and very ''expensive'') specialty item which the manager pulling the prank might have plausibly wanted.
** [[http://notalwaysright.com/someones-about-to-get-smacked-to-the-future/1698 This anecdote]] involves someone being sent to find a [[TimeMachine 120-volt flux capacitor]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Zuko's task of finding the Avatar, who had been thought dead for a century, was essentially just this. All this is courtesy of his EvilOverlord father Ozai, who personally [[AbusiveParents scarred and banished his own son]]. To drive the point home, Zhao, acting with the full authority of the Fire Nation, moves to keep Zuko from continuing his hunt when it becomes clear that the Avatar actually ''has'' returned
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' involves Bobby and his friends being sent out to hunt snipes and [[DeadlyPrank accidentally injuring an endangered whooping crane instead]]. Oops. Hank and his friends had it pulled on them in the backstory and don't seem to know even as adults that the snipe is a real bird and think it's some kind of imaginary animal.
** The description is similar to the conventional fictitious description of a "snipe" for the purposes of snipe hunting. So that part is TruthInTelevision.
*** The use of the snipe hunt itself tends to lead people to believe that the snipe is a fictional creature, rather than an actual bird.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', Drakken tells a {{brainwashed}} Shego to go out and accomplish various meaningless tasks to keep her occupied, including finding a [[DumbDodoBird dodo bird]].
** In another episode, Warmonga is tricked into going away when one of the Tweebs, wearing a blue [[GoofySuit mascot outfit]], convinces her that he (not Drakken) is the ''real'' [[TheChosenOne "Great Blue"]] and that she should meet him on Pluto.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'', the titular character's introduction to Bluffington involved being sent out to find the fictitious "Neematoad". He avoided any embarrassment when his dog, Porkchop, got covered in pond scum and the natives mistakenly believed he had succeeded in his impossible task.
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nematode nematode]] is actually quite real, but nothing like the creature described in the episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** In "The Son Also Draws", when Peter--after Lois gambles away their car at a Native American casino--claims he has Native American blood, management has him go on a vision quest to prove it. Subverted, as Peter has a vision (or at least an insightful hallucination), even though his claim to Native American ancestry was a con and none of the actual Native Americans figured he would have one--and immediately start whining that ''they'' want a vision quest now.
*** This actually plays off of the fact that vision quests and spirit guides are not exclusive to Native Americans. Tradition generally holds that everyone has a spirit guide and that anyone can go on a vision quest.
** In the episode where Chris becomes an artist in New York, his manager decides that his family is an embarrassment and decides to get rid of them for the afternoon so they don't cause trouble at a party. When Chris asks where they are, he tells him that they decided they would rather wander around Soho for hours looking for an address that doesn't exist. Chris chuckles and fondly replies "That's my dad!"
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' pilot, Mr. Krabs and Squidward send [=SpongeBob=] on a fool's errand for "a hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and turbo drive" to keep him from getting a job as fry cook at the Krusty Krab. Astoundingly enough, he shows up with one near the end of the episode ("Can you believe they only had one in stock?"). Lucky for Mr. Krabs and Squidward too, since [=SpongeBob=] uses it to save them from a pack of unruly anchovy customers.
** In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost" when Squidward pretends to be a ghost and orders [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick around:
--->'''Squidward:''' I want something else to eat now. Something that’s very difficult to find.\\
'''Patrick:''' What do you hunger for, master?\\
'''[=SpongeBob=]:''' Whatever you want, we'll find it, we'll find it!\\
'''Squidward:''' Cherry pie.\\
(''[[HammerSpace Patrick holds up a pie from behind his back]]'')\\
'''Squidward:''' Where'd you get that?\\
'''Patrick:''' I found it.\\
'''Squidward:''' ''[throws pie off screen]'' Well, go find it again!
* ''WesternAnimation/CampLazlo'' has all the campers on a literal snipe hunt, but the animal described sounds more like Bigfoot. Edward's brothers' past hunts lead him to conclude snipes aren't real. The others mistake Lumpus for a snipe. Then two real snipes hatch from eggs that had fallen into Lumpus's antlers at the end of the episode.
* Stimpy of ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' is sent on a snipe hunt in the woods to prove his worth after the duo joins a Girl Scouts offshoot. When a skeptical Ren opens Stimpy's bag, he gets mauled by the big, hairy, bug-eyed monster that emerges.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': In the episode "Undercover Carl", Monogram sends Perry on a mission to find a goose that has gone missing for ''years'', after mistakenly thinking Perry's owners were in league with Doofenshmirtz. At the end of the episode, Perry actually finds the goose (who was on vacation).
** In "Great Balls of Water", Candace is briefly shown on an actual snipe hunt during her "Extraordinary" musical number.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': During a safety audit, Homer and two other less-gifted employees are put in a room out of the way and given the task of guarding a bee in a jar. The other two question it but Homer, thinking himself brighter than the other two, boasts of his position as "head bee guy".
* In the "Operation: F.U.G.I.T.I.V.E." episode of ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', Numbah 4 is ordered by Numbuh 86 to guard a dandelion in the DCFDTL's garden from any adult's attacks to prevent him from following her. Numbah 4 places the flower in a pot and takes it with him.
** In "Operation F.A.S.T.F.O.O.D.", Numbah 3 wants to lead a mission for her birthday. Because 3 is TheDitz and a {{Cloudcuckoolander}}, Numbah 1 tasks her with the duty of...getting a kids meal from a fast food place. Things get out of hand when they learn that the restaurant's proprietor is an old enemy of the KND and its most frequent customers are sharks.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', Kyle wants to go to a rock concert. His parents agree to let him go only if he can accomplish a long list of tasks ending with "and bring democracy to Cuba". He actually manages to pull this off, only to be told he still can't go, as his parents admit they only made him the offer because they honestly didn't expect him to succeed.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Zigby}}'' (a preschool-age series broadcast in Canada and Australia, but also available on DVD, about a zebra), Zigby stages a scavenger hunt to help people clean up. A group of monkeys, who are keen on ducking work, decide to a play a trick by pretending to be Zigby and telling a couple of Zigby's friends to go find a wild goose. Technically, that makes it a wild goose chase, but essentially, it's a snipe hunt.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/DonkeyKongCountry'' has multiple snipe hunts...all surrounding the same trinket.
* In the pilot of ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'', the Tallest assign Zim to a "mystery planet" on the edge of known space. In truth, they didn't even know if there was a planet out there (they pointed to a post-it note on the edge of their map that reads "Planet?"), and they just wanted to get rid of him. Unfortunately for them, Zim stumbled upon Earth and kept calling them up with annoying reports about his "mission".
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TimonAndPumbaa'', a pair of cheetahs trick the hyena trio on a literal "wild goose chase" so they won't get in the way of the cheetahs' hunting. The hyenas figure everything out at the end and are all set to eat the cheetahs--now rotund and helpless after all of their feasting--when suddenly a ''real'' wild goose appears asking for directions. Cue everyone, hyenas and cheetahs alike, chasing after the bird.
* The Creator/CartoonNetwork short series "The Talented Mr. Bixby" has the title character substituting for auto shop class. He gives the students an impossible essay, or they can go to the auto parts store and get a jug of blinker fluid. Most of the class dashes out, leaving Mr. Bixby alone with whom he thinks are the smart ones. They aren't.
** Well, one was.
** As the students leave the room, they actually pass a sign that says "There is no such thing as Blinker Fluid". They come across an ''identical'' sign at the auto parts store and stare blankly at it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'', Robert and Freight Train send Cleveland on one of these. Cleveland catches on when he realizes that he's [[LiteralMetaphor literally chasing wild geese]].
* Ezra and Zeb of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'' are sent on a supply run to fetch needed items and a meiloorun fruit - a real item, but impossible to find on the planet. Things get somewhat out of control after they try to steal some from the Empire, and accidentally end up stealing a TIE fighter instead.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine''; "Timothy and the Rainbow Truck": Bill and Ben convince Timothy that he needs to find a rainbow-colored truck. He travels a long way before realizing he's been had, but Salty helps him get back at the twins - by giving them a smelly, old, garbage-filled truck splattered with multiple colors of paint.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'', the Ruby squad comes to Earth searching for Jasper. By the time they get there, Jasper is not exactly in a state where Steven wants her to be found, so he tells them that Jasper went to Neptune. As these Rubies are SuperGullible, they immediately head off to Neptune. However, it only works temporarily: they return later in the season, as they somehow conduct what they feel to be a thorough search of not only Neptune, but ''every planet in the solar system save Earth'', without finding Jasper.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is common in most fields of employment as a welcoming ritual (also commonly known as hazing) and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe_hunt#Common_items a list]] on Wiki/TheOtherWiki catalogs the most common items involved, of which the "long stand" (not, as the hapless newbie eventually finds out, a supporting structure of greater than average length) is perhaps the most celebrated. This can be used to their own advantage by savvy employees who know the joke but pretend to fall for it, so they can head out for a coffee or a nap for a couple of hours on the company's nickel.
* This is apparently ''very'' common in the military. Examples from Wiki/TheOtherWiki, at least for the [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks US Navy]], include:
** DCA Horn (as in "blowing the DCA," who is the '''D'''amage '''C'''ontrol '''A'''ssistant, an officer).
** On submarines Non-qualified individuals are sent on a variety of snipe hunts, from finding serial numbers on water shots (equivalent to dry-firing a firearm), to finding the ninth hose station (this one depends upon the class of sub as different classes have varying numbers of fire hoses).
** B-1RD (pronounced "Bee-One-Romeo-Delta") or [=C-GU11=] ("Charlie-Golf-Uniform-One-One")
** PEN-15 or ID-10-T ("Eye-Dee-Ten-Tango") forms.
*** On a related note, there is a common school prank whereby the (admittedly quite gullible) victim will be offered an invitation to join the illustrious Pen Fifteen Club. To accept, they simply have to write "[=PEN15=]" prominently on their forehead.
** Since the actual code for most batteries starts with "BA", a newer one is to send someone for a form to purchase a "Bravo-Alpha-Eleven Hundred-November" battery. ([=BA1100N=], Balloon). The proper response if you know the joke is to ask if they want it blown up or not
** Newbie mechanics in aircraft hangars in all branches may be asked to go and fetch a bucket of Propwash. For the uninformed, propwash is the term for turbulence behind an aircraft created by a propeller (or in the case of Jetwash, a jet engine).
* A U.S.N. classic is to announce that a Sea Bat has been trapped on a weather or flight deck. Any green sailors arriving to see this rare specimen will find a group struggling to hold down a large box or basket. They are directed to get on their hands and knees, so that the edge of the box can be lifted for observation. Suffice it to say, there is a real bat involved, of the Louisville Slugger variety, applied vigorously to the victims posterior.
** Other snipe hunts include being sent for sixty feet of waterline, or for batteries for a sound-powered phone.
* The U.S. Navy’s Equator-crossing tradition involves--among ''many'' other jests--placing the uninitiated on a watch schedule with binoculars to look for the big red line...
* To add insult to injury, when someone is sent on a Snipe Hunt in the military, everyone knows what is going on when he asks for one of the nonexistent items. The most common response it to tell him that they used to keep it here, but moved it to "building-on-the-other-side-of-base". When he makes it all the way there, he's informed that this is a mistake, and they moved them back to the first building a month ago.
** For bridge types, asking someone to polish the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_bearing relative bearing]]".
** In the aviation community, sending the new guy to take "exhaust samples" by way of holding a trash bag up to the exhaust vents of turning engines. Hilarity ensues. Or how about sending the new guy to Maintenance Control for the keys to the airplane?
** Best real life subversion was when a fellow recently transferred from the Army to the Air Force was sent out to get "100 yards of flight line". Turns out that 1) he used to be a Combat Engineer, B) his former unit was based in the same town, and C) Combat Engineers love playing pranks. A quick phone call resulted in a big pile of busted up tarmac being delivered to his new unit's office.
** The US military uses the PRC designation for radios, such as the PRC-77, pronounced "Prick Seventy-Seven". Thus, it is common to send the poor PFC or Lcpl to go find the "PRC-E7". Now, consider that E-7 is the rank designation for a Gunnery Sergeant, or Sargent First Class and the PFC or Lcpl will inevitably ask "the Gunny" where it is...
** Another naval tradition was to go to the engine room to get a BT Punch...a BT being a Boiler Tech...
** Fresh Finnish marines might be asked to fetch the key to the wake water tank.
** US armored cavalry regiments sometimes send newbies to find the key for the turret lock on an Abrams tank. The lock exists, the key doesn't.
*** Sending them off to supply for a spool of "Bore Wire". There's no such thing as bore wire.
*** Not to mention the classic gag of giving them a hammer and some chalk to find and mark the soft spots in the armor.
*** And when the newbie finally begins to get wise, you ask him to check the windshield washer fluid. When he balks--thinking it to be another snipe hunt--you check the fluid levels yourself and berate him for not doing so. (Yes, Abrams tanks DO have windshield washer fluid.)
** Instructing new soldiers to jump up and down on a 50+ ton armored vehicle to test the suspension.
** Artillery units will often have a new soldier perform a "Boom Check" by placing their face against the muzzle of whatever cannon is available and yelling boom.
** Send a new soldier away to find a container of coolant for a machine that is air cooled. (See the '71 Beetle example below).
** A popular Marine prank involves asking a newbie to go somewhere where Marines might congregate and ask the guy in charge for a "stack of 0311s", whereupon everyone in the room will dog pile on the hapless newb. 0311 is the USMC Military Occupational Specialty Designation for infantrymen (aka everyone).
* Newly-hired firefighters in California will often be sent to retrieve the hose stretcher (fire hose doesn't stretch), check the engine's spark plugs or brake fluid (almost all fire engines are diesel-powered and have air brakes), or locate a Sloan valve (which would be the flush valve on a urinal, manufactured by Sloan Plumbing Supply).
** Another time-honored method of fucking with the new guy, especially in rural areas, is the Firewatch. The FNG is posted outside after dark, possibly on the roof, but always in the open, and ordered to keep watch for any fires on the horizon. The new guy may or may not have been warned about Chupacabra or other possible dangers, and the rest of the crew may or may not sneak around making ominous noises while the new kid freaks the fuck out.
* A common snipe hunt is sending rookies looking for left-handed versions of naturally ambidextrous implements, like a left-handed javelin or a left-handed screwdriver.
** Left-handed Allen wrenches work especially well, as other things called wrenches often ''do'' have handedness.
** Left-handed smoke shifters are fun as well.
*** ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'' featured a left-handed hammer, needed to solve a problem involving MirrorTwins.
* Another famous one is sending them out to look for [[PolkaDotPaint tartan paint]].
** A similar anecdote tells of a new hire sent for checkered paint. The newbie constructed a cardboard grid, inserted it into an empty paint can, filled the squares alternately, and then removed the cardboard. It wouldn't stay that way for too long, but it worked long enough.
* In Spain, Portugal, and Cuba, the equivalent of a snipe hunt is hunting "gamusinos"/"gambuzinos", an even more jerkish version, since (unlike the snipe) the gamusino does not even exist. The term ultimately comes from the Provençal word "gambozi", meaning "lie".
* Many a new employee at Microsoft has been sent to a meeting at [[http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2008/04/01/8346907.aspx Building 7]] (where all the important decisions are made).
* It's an initiation ceremony in German military as well. Among weird stuff to find (like a key for the supply room which, in the German military, is a part of the battle field rather than an actual room), noobs are sent all about the base with an open container of 'highly dangerous battery fluid', which is usually simple juice consumed finally by some superior.
* Another example of keeping children away while the grownups get down to business: in rural Sweden, back in the good old days, a child, deemed too young to witness the slaughtering of a large animal, would sometimes be sent to the neighboring farm for some non-existent tool that the adults claimed to need before they could start. The neighbor, being, of course, in on the joke, would send the kid even further away, and so on until somebody decided that the poor kid had been running far enough and confesses that the tool isn't needed. When the child gets home, all the gory and icky stuff has already been taken care of.
* Working in stores or grocers, ''powdered water'' (Just add water!) is a favorite item.
* It ''used'' to be that strapping young electricians were sent to fetch one-farad capacitors, that being a ridiculously large value for the actual components. [[TechnologyMarchesOn Nowadays]], though, you can probably find one for under fifty bucks.
* The Oil Patch is also full of these. From pipe stretchers and buckets of steam to "Push Slaps" (the Rig Manager is also known as a "Tool Push"), "Glasses for the Blind Rams" (blind rams are a set of hydraulic rams used to close off the well completely), or the "Key to the V-Door" (the V-Door on a rig is the metal slide that drill pipes ride on when brought up to the floor).
* Actor Creator/NicolasCage proposed to future wife Patricia Arquette on the day they met. She gave him a [[ImpossibleTask list of extremely rare things to find]], saying that [[EngagementChallenge that's what it would take to win her]]. When he started to actually find the things on the list, she got scared and avoided him. They still went on to marry (and divorce), however.
* Being sent to retrieve the keys to the lean-to.
* Newbies to shop classes and technical theater work calls are sometimes sent to fetch a replacement level-bubble or a wood stretcher.
* In Israeli youth movements, the traditional "snipe" is "electricity powder".
** This one works in the [[UsefulNotes/IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles Israeli armed forces]] too. Another thing they ask you to get is a glow stick charger.
* A radiator hose or water pump for a '72 VW Beetle.
** For those readers not familiar with Beetles, the originals had air-cooled engines. No radiators.
* Often, when Cub Scouts go to Boy Scout Open Houses, there will be a snipe hunt. This is the nice person kind, so the teenage Boy Scouts will pretend to have caught a snipe, and show up later with a glued shut box with a rock in it, claiming that the snipe is in there.
** First-time Boy Scouts will often be sent off for left-handed smoke-shifters, bacon stretchers, or some other mythical item on their first campout with their new troop.
* Elbow Grease is sometimes used for hapless rookies who are unaware of the term "put some elbow grease on it."
* Even the fast food industry has some of these. New hires at the local [=McDonald=]'s will often be asked to go get "more steam for the bun steamer".
* A common prank in the sailing world is to send a raw hand to the marine supply shop for fifteen yards of shoreline.
** In Finland, if a novice sailor gets too nosey, the skipper will send him to fetch him a "spörbeli", a non-existent item which has always been stored in the most difficultly accessible place in the yacht. When the novice goes to fetch it, the skipper will then perform a nasty manoeuvre, such as a gybe. (Kudos points to the novice sailor who actually ''finds'' an existing but seldom used item, such as the motoring cone or anchor ball.)
* New hires at baseball parks used to be asked to fetch the keys to the batter's box, a left-handed fungo bat, or 100 feet of foul line.
** One traditional snipe hunt involves getting a newbie to go fetch a "box of curveballs". Can backfire if said newbie returns with wiffle balls.
* In addition to left-handed tools, a popular snipe hunt among welders, machinists, and mechanics is a brass magnet or a put-on tool i.e. the opposite of a metal cutting tool.
* In the film industry, it's a C-47. (A clothespin.) There ''will'' be clothespins on a film set because wood conducts heat poorly, so they're used to gel lights and that sort of thing. But it's fun watching the littlest production assistants run around with haunted looks in their eyes. There's also a practical purpose to using InsistentTerminology--if you want to get rid of someone, you can tell them to get a C-47, and if they don't know what it is, you can yell at them for not knowing how to do their job and fire them on the spot.
** Can easily backfire though, if the victim is a history buff, and caught on to the plan (or was warned ahead of time by someone higher up), you might end up with [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-47_Skytrain this]] showing up on the set.
** Another common joke in the camera department is to send someone for a "box of T-stops". The T-stop is the rating of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number aperture opening on the lenses]].
** Asking a newbie to wash the gels. For those who don't know, gels are colored films placed in front of lamps to provide colored lighting effects. A gaffer or best boy would tell the newbie to wash the gels and give them some very complex and difficult-to-remember instruction on how to do so. Nowadays, gels are colored plastic, but back in the day they were made by adding food coloring to gelatin and letting it set in a thin film, hence the name. As a result they dissolved when washed, casing the newbie to think he had done something wrong and panic. HilarityEnsues.
* Another common one is a newbie, or a person in for work experience, to be sent to retrieve a "long weight". The person the newbie is sent to is often in on the joke and when asked for the item will usually, on the pretense of going to retrieve the item, clear off and leave the newbie standing, waiting for the person to return. The newbie can be left standing for as long as half-an-hour before they finally catch on.[[note]]It's a ''long wait'', get it?[[/note]]
** A variant of the long weight is the long stand.
* A common one at auto shops is to tell the newbie to find spark plugs for a diesel engine. For those who don't know, diesel engines don't have spark plugs.
* Once in a great while, this sort of thing can backfire; for example, some adjustable wrenches have caliper-like measuring scales on them, meaning that a "left-handed metric Crescent wrench" is actually something that could exist, albeit not in any way meaningfully distinguishable from any other wrench.
* On occasion, a creative sort might use this as an opportunity to prank his tormentors. One new soldier, sent by a Corporal to get some chem light batteries, went to the PX, bought a case of chem lights, went to his barracks, cut each one open and removed the glass bulb inside, and then returned to work (after spending several hours sitting around his barracks doing nothing, of course). Be cautious of doing this towards a superior who turns out not to have as much of a sense of humor as he thinks he does.
* In the Russian army they would send a newbie for a bucket of liquid transmission. Or a bucket of compression. Or pressure. Or correction. Or something else that does not exist as a physical substance.
** Another variant is "spark plugs for a [=KamAZ=]" (a diesel truck that does not have any spark plugs in it).
** Other examples include a bucket of deviation" (in communication units), "a jar of clitoral oil" or "you're called by Rimma Pudendi" (for medics), "a glass of decibels" or "a bucket of mercury" (for physics students), and "keys from lava" (in mining).
* German math and physics freshmen are sometimes sent to find the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minkowski_space Minkowski]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banach_space Banach]] Raum due to "Raum" meaning "room".
* In broadcasting, a newbie or intern might be sent to find the {{chroma key}}s. A more involved version might require them to go to another station to get them (who have, of course, been let in on the prank in advance and might send them to yet another station).
* Newbie [=EMTs=] often wind up getting sent to find the Fallopian Tubes. For [[WomensMysteries obvious reasons]], this usually only works on male [=EMTs=] and helps weed out the ones who actually paid attention in the OB-GYN section of their certification course.
* In carpentry, the new guy might be asked to find a "wood stretcher".