Of all the elements that make up a driven game shoot, perhaps the one that is least understood, is the role of the picker-up
- Ability to prioritise
It’s crucial that a picker-up knows the ground being shot.
This includes the layout of the drives and their relation to each other, the position of the gun line, the direction the majority of the birds fly, the odd corners where the crafty ones leak out and the spots the wounded birds make for year-on-year.
Dogs and picking-up
The most important tool in a picker-up’s box is his dog. The dog should be quiet while the drive is in progress, obedient and responsive to whistle and hand signal. Dogs must not fight or be aggressive to other dogs and they must retrieve smartly and deliver neatly. A good picking-up dog needs little direction from his handler, as it will have learned to think for itself. They must be able to deal with all the game they are likely to encounter on any particular shoot, whether pheasant, partridge, grouse, woodcock or duck.