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The etiquette for Beating

The etiquette for each shoot may vary but if it is a formal driven shoot with paying guns you will not be far out of place if you followed my thoughts on what is correct and what is not.


Ensure you are at the shoot in good time, this takes the pressure off the keeper as he will not be worried he has not enough staff.  The only way to be on time is be prepared the night before with all the directions to the shoot. That said don't be too early as the keeper will not want you hanging round an hour before whilst he is preparing for the day.  If you feel you may be late due to unforeseen circumstances let the keeper know as soon as possible.  Most shoots have a beaters truck so transport should not be an issue.  If you happen to talk to the guns occasionally, be polite to everyone and if you are unsure what to call someone, “Sir” is a good place to start.  Not until you are given permission by the gun you are speaking to would you not use “sir”.


The clothing is normally what you would wear on a rough shoot day, strong and durable items are best as you may be required to go through heavy cover.  Suitable waterproof foot wear is a must and I would suggest you have high legged boots to give you maximum support to your ankles. Gaiters are another good thing to have as these prevent your laces getting undone whilst hitting through the brambles.  Not a good look when all the line has to stop whilst you fasten them back up.


You cannot just turn up without the correct equipment.  Some shoots provide you with sticks and flags but not all.  These Items can be easily obtained from your local wood or hedge row. Attach a hard plastic ¼ cut bag to one end of a stick and you have a nice flag. You can also purchase these items but very few do.

In the field

Most shoots like you to bring a dog so it can assist in the finding and flushing of game.  The dog must be well trained and it should be able to cope with the pressures of lots of noise and shooting.  I have seen people walking their dogs on a lead and hitting bushes with a stick.  If this is, you them leave the dog at home and train it properly. You may be asked whilst beating to hold the line and if this is requested it means stand still.  You may be asked to stand and tap due to too many birds going over the guns all at once.  Again, find the nearest tree and tap away until you are instructed to continue. You could be a flanker if you are its not because you’re a bad person and we need you call you a bad name without being rude, it is because you will be bringing in an area of land into the main drive.  When we say bringing in, we mean walking the birds to the main drive until you can push the birds in the right direction.  Flanking in is a very important job and if not done correct can give poor birds on the drive in question.  A drive is where you prepare the birds before the awaiting guns and drive them forward. You could also be a stop, now a stop stands in one spot tapping their stick to prevent the birds cutting out of the drive again a very important job.

Always listen to the regular team and if you are not sure then ask again.  Normally once you have been once that job would remain yours as you will hopefully know what you are doing.


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