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

Straw rides

Pheasants are creatures of habit

Wounded birds do not like to cross open ground. So, while they may run through a wood, when they get to the far edge of it they will stop and take cover. Similarly with rides and tracks.

Pheasants, in particular, seem to fly to the same areas year on year. They are often flown towards “home”, i.e. a release pen. Always check before entering a pen as some keepers do not want pickers-up in them. Besides which it is wiser not to if there are large numbers of unshot birds in there, which the enthusiastic dogs can pin against the wire and catch. However, wounded birds will frequently over fly the pen and then creep back to it so a hunt along the cover at the rear of the pen is frequently rewarded.

Finally, the dogs are only as good as their handler. If you get them into the right areas they will do well.

  1. 1. Dogs and picking-up
  2. 2. Where to stand on a drive
  3. 3. Etiquette during the drive 
  4. 4. Pheasants are creatures of habit
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