Q: I have been invited on a driven shoot for the first time after many years roughshooting alone but have experience helping in the beating line at the host shoot. I have a really steady Labrador and she has been invited to come for the day with me. I know the shoot has its own pickers-up but what is the correct way of going about picking-up my own birds? Should I leave some of them for the pickers-up? I would like my dog to have her chance to retrieve as well.
A: There is no set procedure for Guns who take their own dogs, and each shoot will have its own policy regarding the collection of dead and wounded game both during and after drives are complete. Therefore it is best to find out from the shoot captain what the expectations for that particular shoot usually are. This certainly applies for Guns with a dog in line. If they want to pick-up their own birds, then liaising with the captain and the picker-up behind them on each drive is essential. Pickers-up know that some Guns may just have their dog sat at the peg for company and will only want to pick-up the odd dead bird during the day. Picking-up all those shot close to the peg is not wise, as this can encourage a peg dog to become unsteady if they anticipate fetching every bird you shoot.
Think about what is best for you to enjoy the day’s shooting, which, after all, is the primary reason for the invitation. The pickers-up are employed to do a job: to reduce unnecessary suffering by making exhaustive searches for all game shot or pricked. If, however, you want to let your dog have a little enjoyment as well, then let the pickers-up know before each drive what you would like to do. PR