shooting line

Beating and picking-up has its own rules and form. If it’s your first time out in the field, then your fellow beaters and pickers-up will show you the ropes and teach you the essential safety rules. In the meantime, read our articles below which will tell you more about what you need to know.

  • Taking on the role of picker-up on any shoot is very important and carries a lot of responsibility.
  • It is not a place solely for novice or part-trained gun dogs.
  • The picking-up team should have some experience and that includes the gun dog and the owner.
  • Before leaving home, ensure you have the right tools for the trade.They are: a priest, a brace of game carriers, your whistles for controlling the gun dog and fresh water for your canine team.
  • Always try and position yourself well back and away from the line of guns in a safe place that allows you to see as much as possible.
  • The picking-up of injured birds and dispatching of them as quickly and humanely as possible always takes priority over dead birds.
Beaters, loaders and pickers-up

Do beaters, loaders and pickers-up get paid fairly?

It is a pretty fair assumption that there are few people for whom beating, picking-up or even loading is their main source of income throughout the season. Though the money is welcome, it by no means replaces a regular salary 
— particularly since earnings on 
a shoot now have to…

Ampleforth College Shoot

Ampleforth College Shoot 2018

In the past five years the school shoot has grown in both extent and professionalism. Student-led and supported, with guidance by staff and parents, Ampleforth is putting down around 800 pheasants and partridges each year in three pens across the valley, shooting a good 10 days in the season.  Eight…

Beaters' day shooting

Beaters’ day shooting. Pegs or walk one, stand one?

Put them out on pegs, says Ben Samuelson Beaters’ day shooting is an absolutely sacred part of the shooting season, and is one of its great joys. Roles are reversed and one half of the shooting community gets a well-deserved treat at the end of the season. Patience is rewarded,…

Dogs at work in the beating line

After an enjoyable season in the beating line with his spaniel, David Tomlinson asks what traits a dog needs to have to be an asset to this essential team

pheasants on game cart

What you need to know about picking-up on a shoot

In my view, game shooting is only defensible if every bird that is shot ends up on the table. Without a decent picking-up team the chance of that happening is slight. What makes a good picking-up team and how do you get to be part of one? You need a…

Border terrier

What’s the best beating dog?

Beating dogs are the forgotten heroes of the shooting world. They far outnumber all the picking-up dogs and peg dogs put together, but they are largely ignored and seldom celebrated for the vital work they do. There are no competitions 
for beating dogs, so no equivalent 
of a field trial…

beaters and pickers up

Despatching pricked birds – the best way to do it

A vital aspect of shooting is the humane despatching of a wounded bird or animal, be it a pheasant, duck, pigeon, rabbit or squirrel. The prime objective of shooting live quarry is to ensure, wherever possible, an instant death for the creature we are pursuing. We are, hopefully, taught how…

rules for picking-up

The golden rules for picking-up on a shoot

If you have picking-up dogs, 
then it is always good to get them 
out working, especially if you haven’t been out on the grouse moors or 
on partridge days. Taking them on 
a small boundary day is ideal if you 
get the chance, as it will remind them what they…

working spaniels

What you need to know BEFORE taking your dog onto the shooting field

The picker-up enjoys the pleasure of working their own dogs in the knowledge that they are performing an essential role in the day’s sport. Collecting shot birds is vital; even more so is making sure that any wounded birds are immediately gathered and swiftly despatched. Mutual respect The relationship between…

guide to picking-up

A beginner’s guide to picking-up

We walk you through what to expect on your first time picking-up, including when to know if your dog is ready, what to do on the first drive and how to behave during the day

Beaters out in the field

16 things only beaters know (and Guns should)

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…

keeper's day

Keeping everyone happy on keeper’s day

As the season draws to a close, talk among the beaters and pickers-up is of the end-of-season keeper’s days. For many gamekeepers, it is the only day of the year they get to shoot pheasants. Indeed, for some of them it might be the only day of the year they get to go shooting at all. There…

How to be an ideal beater

How to be an ideal beater

  The ideal beater Nothing makes my job easier than a good team of reliable beaters and picker-ups. In any beating team there is normally a core that know the ground better and work that bit extra to make the day a good one. Most of my beaters are locals, many seem to have been here…

Beaters out in the field

Letter from a fed-up beater

The driven shoot day is a team effort and by no means the least important team consists of the beaters. These men, women, boys and girls turn out in all weathers mostly not for the money but because they enjoy what they do. Beaters not given due consideration However on some shoots it would…

shooting Guns

10 things that can make or break a shoot day

Makes 1. The Weather: Many Guns prefer a lightly overcast day, a favourable wind with a decent nip in the air. Persistent driving rain all day is enough to break the spirit of the keenest gun. 2. The host: They set the mood for the entire day. A bad host…

Picking-up on Rivington shoot in October

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