Writer, zoologist and gundog enthusiast, Pippa blogs on life in the countryside

Rough shooting with our beaters

Rough ShootingA good team of regular beaters lies at the heart of a driven pheasant shoot.  Knowing the lie of the land,  where the drive starts and finishes,  where to slow down or speed up,  where to keep dogs close or watch out for pheasants running back.  These are all important aspects of beating that only come with regular exposure to the same ‘drives’.

Good beaters who turn up regularly no matter what the weather,  are not easy to come by.  And once you have found them it is important to keep them happy!

Rewarding beaters

Many shoots pay their beaters.   A beater’s wage can be anything from £20 to £30 a day.   When you consider that beating is a day’s very hard physical labour,  you can see that beaters  are not in it for the money.    On our shoot the beaters usually cover between five and ten miles during the course of the day.   This cannot be compared with walking the same distance on paths or tracks as much of it involves pushing through undergrowth and constantly negotiating obstacles.

We don’t pay our beaters but instead our ‘guns’ treat them to a slap-up meal in the local pub at the end of the day,  and we treat them to regular ‘rough shooting’  days where they can come out with their gun and dog,  and enjoy a day shooting the boundaries of the farm.

A rough shooting day

Yesterday was one such rough shooting day,  and a team of about ten of us set out at 9am with a couple of Viszlas, two Cockers, and two Labs to help flush and pick up our game. 

I was only able to join them for a couple of hours,  but over the course of the day,  our little group bagged half a dozen pheasants, a couple of rabbits and some pigeons.

Himself and I actually enjoy these outings more than our formal shoot days.  There is no pressure on us to produce ‘numbers’ and the day is usually more relaxed.  

 

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