Grouse moor beaters

How guns can impress the beaters

I have spent a few days on the other side of the hedge this past season and it has been, let me tell you, very instructive indeed. It is easy as a gun on a top-class driven shoot to see only the end result. That steady stream of beautifully presented…

Beaters' day shooting

Beaters’ days at the end of the season

The end of the season brings the long-awaited beaters’ days. Traditionally, it was the day that the estate owner gave to his gamekeeper to invite his friends along to shoot. It has changed over the years and the keepers’ day is now more often referred to as the beaters’ day. An…

beaters dogs

Why beaters’ dogs have it best

Half a century of observing the British shooting field has led me to the conclusion that on a typical driven shoot, the people who have the most fun are the beaters. The pickers-up enjoy themselves, too, but their job comes with a great deal of responsibility. The Guns all pretend they are…

gundog trainer

Gundog etiquette – picking up birds

Many novice handlers aspire to be part of a picking-up team, but few are fully aware of the responsibility that comes with working your dog in what is a vital part of a gameshoot. The aim of a good picker-up is not to come back to the gamecart laden with dead birds,…

Picking-up with a Sealyham terrier

Picking-up with a Sealyham terrier

I get a real buzz out of watching any kind of “working” dog do what it was bred for, whether that is a hard-going spaniel tearing apart a bramble bush to extract a wily old cock pheasant, a Labrador taking the line of a 100-yard runner or a lurcher working…

pick up wounded bird

Why it’s wrong to pick-up unshot birds

Sometimes it's all too easy for dogs to retrieve early-season birds that are exhausted rather than shot; but it's bad practice, writes David Tomlinson

The perfect beater’s dog

Though his style might not have been spectacular, Buzz, a rescued spaniel, was a hard-working and steady dog, giving Sally Moon some great memories of beating