Beaters are crucial to a successful driven shoot ... but many feel treated like second-class citizens by the Guns

We recently published an article: “Letter from a fed-up beater”, in which a seasoned beater listed some of the gripes he and his fellow companions experience when out in the field.

Things like:

  • Being made to wait in the wet and cold in the field for half an hour or more waiting for the Guns to arrive
  • An “us and them” attitude when the beaters are told not to speak to the Guns
  • Being told it’s preferable if they can keep out of sight if possible

The letter obviously sparked a real chord with other beaters, who made their feelings known on the Shooting UK Facebook page.

So here’s what beaters wish the Guns knew

  1. Beating is tough work and challenging to get right.
  2. Beaters are an important part of the shoot day and should be treated as such.
  3. Tapping out the cover and forming the line is the culmination of the legwork of working down hedges, cover crops, and copses.
  4. It takes a great deal of work to get the bird out of the cover and into the air.
  5. Timing and judgement are needed. If the beaters push the birds too hard, the drive will start before the Guns reach their pegs.
  6. A wrong wave of the flag or a badly trained dog can break the whole manoevre down.
  7. Beaters are a mixed bunch. You will get doctors and lawyers beating with mechanics and contractors.
  8. Beaters often have a great deal of experience and will assess the Guns’ skills with a practised eye.
  9. Good shooting is a joy to see.
  10. Saying “hello” and “how are you” is welcomed. Watching a line of beaters pass by without offering a word? Not so much.
  11. Having a bird thrust at you by a Gun afterwards isn’t necessarily well received. A beater may be off on their way somewhere else entirely. Don’t assume. If you’ve shot them, you should carry them.
  12. Guns loitering on the way to the peg, chatting, can be very irritating.
  13. Guns should get on the peg promptly, get loaded and get started.
  14. Don’t hold back on the first drive. It’s hard to make up a short bag later in the day.
  15. Don’t shoot the beaters. (Or flankers).
  16. A word of thanks when packing up is welcomed.

Any beaters out there have anything more to add?