Beating with Dog

Dano

Active Member
Not sure if this is in the right place but here goes.

im looking for some beating opportunities within an hour or so of west London where I can introduce my dog to beating. I have a 2 year old springer spaniel whose accompanied me pigeon and rough shooting on my own around my own permissions. He’s got good recal and hunts with his mind body and soul. He’s had no experience of being on a shoot though. I’d like to get him out if possible and was wondering how best to go about it or if anyone could recommend a shoot an hour or so to me where I could make a start. I’ve got no experience of handling a dog on a driven shoot. I wanted to steer away from anywhere too formal as I’d be worried he’d misbehave and spoil someone’s day! If he didn’t get along I’d happily leave early.

cheers
Dan
 

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enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
Have a word with local gunshops. They'll know who buys cartridges for game shooting and could pass your details on?


Print out some cards. Beating experience wanted and etc.. To leave in the gunshops? Just be careful you don't forget any in any 'phone boxes there in West London!

Shoots always welcome beaters although initially maybe go without your dog and then ask if the shoot would be helped if you took it along.

But, yes, well controlled dogs would usually be welcomed. So maybe intially offer to keep it on a long leash. See how it gets on.
 
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User00025

Well-Known Member
Can't help you with a shoot but just a little advice.
Do not EVER take your dog in a beating line unless it is 200% rock steady, stops when flushing and is back beside you at first whistle sound. If you do and something bad happens (like the dog loses it and flushes every bird in the cover) you stand a good chance of being severely injured by a Keeper whose day and living you may have f....d up.
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
On the shoots I beat the birds tend to be a bit jumpy at the start of the season and there is not so much work for the dogs as there is at the end of the season when anything that can be put up is welcomed! The most especial day you and your dog will be most welcome is on beaters' days when both beaters and birds are thin on the ground. That is a good time to offer your services.

Most of the time I have managed to get away without disaster with my springers by getting them back before we get anywhere near a flushing point...as a newbie not knowing the drive I always asked an old hand for a heads up when we are getting close to the critical point.

The only significant disaster I will admit to is when the old dog ran in when I was in the line next to the keeper. We were doing lots of start and stops all the way through a long drive when she suddenly got fed up and took off...with the expert witness beside me I couldn't get away with it that time! I still groan when I remember the shame and embarrassment hearing the distant sounds of loads of pheasants taking off!

Alan
 

Chasser

Well-Known Member
Steer away from large commercial shoots, that’s not beating more just herding, try and find a smaller shoot that are about having a good time and not all about the money and serving A*% Hole’s who may as well be shooting clay pigeons.
The shoot I’m involved with shoot average bags of 60 odd and it’s about enjoyment rather than £ notes, every beater is valued and paid with lunch and a meal. I have been involved in commercial shoots previously... never again!
 

Cut+Squirt

Well-Known Member
Steer away from large commercial shoots, that’s not beating more just herding, try and find a smaller shoot that are about having a good time and not all about the money and serving A*% Hole’s who may as well be shooting clay pigeons.
The shoot I’m involved with shoot average bags of 60 odd and it’s about enjoyment rather than £ notes, every beater is valued and paid with lunch and a meal. I have been involved in commercial shoots previously... never again!

Couldn't agree more.
 

Tim.243

Well-Known Member
Beaters do the beating, unless as above the dog is 200% steady at best a season on the outside of the cover or stop end tapping would be a way to ease him in around shoot dogs and how it works….

You don’t need cards waste of money ( trait of Pigeon Watch)


Tim.243
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
Have u been in a beating line before?? While not rocket science a wee bit of experience without a dog might be usfull just to see the craic first without the added stress of a dog too.

Plenty of decent advise above althou like most things sweeping generalisations are not always true.
Not all big shoots are bad for dogs and not all small/infomral shoots are good. It really all depends on the shoot/keeper and ground/woods.

While on larger shoots ur dog will have to be very steady, most likely on a lead walking to heel (pretty much a pita if going throu thick cover with ur dog on a lead)
Even if ur dog is at that stage and that's wot u want to do, be wary of letting ur dog of the lead at flushing point even when/if the keeper tells u too
A shoot i used to go to u could watch everyones dog pull them throu the wood to the flushing point, when it was time the lead was man handled of the dog and dogs went mental chasing the last birds (sometimes a few hundred+) it was like slipping a pack of lurcher/greyhounds then they wonder why there dogs pull like crazy to get there??? Even if they sat there dogs for 30secs before they allowed it to chase/run in would help massively.
Keeper was always shouting at me to let mine go but i usually just made mine sit at heel, plenty of dogs in there without mine, actually quite a good training aid to get them steady watching loads of other dogs flush birds so close

Sometime there might be work blanking cover into the main drives which can be really good dog work or around this time dogging birds in as on ur own and can work it to suit ur dogs training needs

But sometimes small more informal days actually can be worse, many of the dogs are pretty poor and ur dog will no doubt pick up all the bad habits, on DIY shoots not that unusual to see atleast 1 dog run forward from beating line on the 1st shot then either run about the gun line all drive or return back throu the drive with a brd it picked.
Even on smaller keepered shoots i know 1 fella who ruined his 1st lab after putting a lot of work into it, it was almost a very tidy dog, his main shoot (and his 1st experience) keeper would encourage everyone just to let the dogs go at the very start of the drive. Dunno wot like elsewhere in the country but that wasn't that unusual in my area, can think of a few shoots similar

Not trying to put u off but just be aware of some of the pitfalls.
It really all depends on the shoot and the keeper as well as the other dogs on the shoot

Prob my tips woould be always carry 2/3 leads and an extra whistle/s in game bags/shooting jackets/motors
nothing worse than forgetting either if u need them. (i have whistles stashed everywhere, not somuch with leads anymore)
Know ur dogs capabillities and limitations, if any doubt put a lead on and make dog sit to calm it down.

Also (this wil be hard as a newbie) but try to ignore bad advice/orders if ur not 200% confident ur dog will do it, lost count of the times i've been told to send a dog on very very close to a full flushing point, while i do have confidence in my dogs (usually 2-4 at heel with no leads on all drive) i also know anything can happen rabbit gets up, injured pheasant flapps out a tree in front of it etc so i always err well on the side of caution, but thats easy to say when u've been about a bit and know the shoot/drives
 

Chasser

Well-Known Member
Have u been in a beating line before?? While not rocket science a wee bit of experience without a dog might be usfull just to see the craic first without the added stress of a dog too.

Plenty of decent advise above althou like most things sweeping generalisations are not always true.
Not all big shoots are bad for dogs and not all small/infomral shoots are good. It really all depends on the shoot/keeper and ground/woods.

While on larger shoots ur dog will have to be very steady, most likely on a lead walking to heel (pretty much a pita if going throu thick cover with ur dog on a lead)
Even if ur dog is at that stage and that's wot u want to do, be wary of letting ur dog of the lead at flushing point even when/if the keeper tells u too
A shoot i used to go to u could watch everyones dog pull them throu the wood to the flushing point, when it was time the lead was man handled of the dog and dogs went mental chasing the last birds (sometimes a few hundred+) it was like slipping a pack of lurcher/greyhounds then they wonder why there dogs pull like crazy to get there??? Even if they sat there dogs for 30secs before they allowed it to chase/run in would help massively.
Keeper was always shouting at me to let mine go but i usually just made mine sit at heel, plenty of dogs in there without mine, actually quite a good training aid to get them steady watching loads of other dogs flush birds so close

Sometime there might be work blanking cover into the main drives which can be really good dog work or around this time dogging birds in as on ur own and can work it to suit ur dogs training needs

But sometimes small more informal days actually can be worse, many of the dogs are pretty poor and ur dog will no doubt pick up all the bad habits, on DIY shoots not that unusual to see atleast 1 dog run forward from beating line on the 1st shot then either run about the gun line all drive or return back throu the drive with a brd it picked.
Even on smaller keepered shoots i know 1 fella who ruined his 1st lab after putting a lot of work into it, it was almost a very tidy dog, his main shoot (and his 1st experience) keeper would encourage everyone just to let the dogs go at the very start of the drive. Dunno wot like elsewhere in the country but that wasn't that unusual in my area, can think of a few shoots similar

Not trying to put u off but just be aware of some of the pitfalls.
It really all depends on the shoot and the keeper as well as the other dogs on the shoot

Prob my tips woould be always carry 2/3 leads and an extra whistle/s in game bags/shooting jackets/motors
nothing worse than forgetting either if u need them. (i have whistles stashed everywhere, not somuch with leads anymore)
Know ur dogs capabillities and limitations, if any doubt put a lead on and make dog sit to calm it down.

Also (this wil be hard as a newbie) but try to ignore bad advice/orders if ur not 200% confident ur dog will do it, lost count of the times i've been told to send a dog on very very close to a full flushing point, while i do have confidence in my dogs (usually 2-4 at heel with no leads on all drive) i also know anything can happen rabbit gets up, injured pheasant flapps out a tree in front of it etc so i always err well on the side of caution, but thats easy to say when u've been about a bit and know the shoot/drives

Thing is dogs don’t get to hunt or work for birds when there’s been 20,000 birds released, as previously mentioned it’s like herding, I’d go as far to say as dogs aren’t really required in the beating line on large shoots. you don’t get the opportunity to let the dog work where as 600 birds that have been released on 3000 acres requires a lot more work and ability from the dog, we rely on dogs in fact therefor handlers and dogs have a much more enjoyable day, it makes my day watching my dogs work a thick cover and get the reward of a flush or dogs working the large stubble fields and flushing partridge. I would advise anyone looking to try beating to avoid large commercials as it isn’t a good representation of the sport. Burning excess birds that are shot etc etc. It’s not what shooting should be about
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
Like i said it all depends on the shoot and the ground cover, even a small shoot with small woods and little cover doesn't really need dogs either.

I've worked dogs on shoots releasing more than that before and get plenty opportunity to work the dogs.
It would depend on the ammount of drives/days and area too thou
Most keepers would put u throu the rougher bits or blanking in outside woods into drives. And when u get tnear the flushing point walk the dogs to heel, so they get both hunting and control/steadiess


But u do need a very steady dog, on small shoots there is far more room for a dog to misbehave and get away with it so u often end up with loads of wild rubbish dogs.
It really all depends on the shoot, keeper and ground.

For me its far more about the ground and keeper than the ammount of birds released, and usually enjoy small scale commercial shoots more esp when well run as other dogs are at a better standard too
But mibbee different down south reguard decent ground, area and numbers released
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
Not sure if this is in the right place but here goes.

im looking for some beating opportunities within an hour or so of west London where I can introduce my dog to beating. I have a 2 year old springer spaniel whose accompanied me pigeon and rough shooting on my own around my own permissions. He’s got good recal and hunts with his mind body and soul. He’s had no experience of being on a shoot though. I’d like to get him out if possible and was wondering how best to go about it or if anyone could recommend a shoot an hour or so to me where I could make a start. I’ve got no experience of handling a dog on a driven shoot. I wanted to steer away from anywhere too formal as I’d be worried he’d misbehave and spoil someone’s day! If he didn’t get along I’d happily leave early.

cheers
Dan

Your problem of course is right there! :) along with all the old chestnuts like "a Labrador is born half trained and Springer dies half trained" and "the secret to having a steady springer is to take them on at eleven years old"

I wouldn't have my Springers any other way mind you, and while I haven't seen any 100% steady dog of any breed in the 16 years I have been beating, I have seen a lot of extremely good, willing and useful dogs...which is how I would describe mine.

From a beater's point of view your dog not being seen to run amok is a large part of success :) ...those beating with Labs on the shoots I have been on, have a huge advantage as they all look much the same from a distance glimpse. If you are the only one in the line fielding a black and white springer everybody knows it is yours if she gets too far ahead so they have to be steadier!

Going through Maize about half the beaters are either whistling or calling their dogs to get back...the other half are silent on the basis that people will presume their dog is quartering a couple of metres ahead...it is often that the reverse is true!

Interesting how opinions divide on perception of "steady".

The keepers' dogs on one shoot I go on are the worst behaved. On the same shoot his predecessor's old dog (cocker bitch) used to set off in the line and then saunter off to the gun line and come back at the end of the drive having picked up a partridge...she didn't do any harm to the drive and he reckoned she had earned the right to be self indulgent in her dotage!

I go beating for the opportunity for my dogs to work. The dog is my priority rather than anything else...guns or keepers included...but unless you both are an asset to the shoot you obviously will not be invited back, or invited anywhere else.

Good luck and enjoy your beating!


Alan
 

sh1kar

Well-Known Member
Tricky one with Springers - I have had and trialled a few. As said the challenge is to get ground the dog has to hunt for birds rather than just being another body pushing them along. Might be worth asking estates if they run any walked up rough or boundary days with say 4 guns for 20-30 birds and volunteer your dog for that. Birds usually more scarce and you are unlikely to go through cover crop holding hundreds, more scrub bashing which is after all what they are built for. If you have estates with moorland edges/heathland thats ideal

Hope you find something

S
 

landkeeper

Well-Known Member
Go see your local keeper and see does he need or would like any extra help dogging in , good way of initiating your dog to multitudes of birds and helps everyone concerned
 

User00025

Well-Known Member
Dogs is dogs and after 60+ years training and working them some are still unfathomable.
Obviously if you find a shoot to go beating on a few seasons will get you a lot of experience and whilst it is not "Rocket Science" on some days it almost is. I never wanted beaters who were only there for a few quid or a day out, all mine were tried and tested from day one and were able to adjust when things went slightly wrong, without instructions from me. These are what any good keeper wants in his beating line.
Sometimes I had dogs in the beating line sometimes not, and has been said this all depends on the ground, and whose dogs they were.
Regarding dogs working in Maize, a definite No,No. If I had a beater who was being dragged by a dog on a lead I would consider him useless as a beater so he wouldn't come again, because he wouldn't be concentrating on what he was there for.
Now noise is another thing, stick tapping will move or flush birds and where quantities are involved, shouting and loud noises are Verboten to me. The same with barking or squeaking/yelping dogs whilst they are hunting.
Someone else has already suggested it, but find your local keeper and get to know him, sometimes offers of help with jobs can reap rewards. He will soon let you know his rules on shoot days and you need to abide by them.
Some keepers are laid back but a great many are strung like a fiddle on shoot days as their job and house depend on performance (more so now there are fewer jobs about). I hope this is of some guidance and hope your local man is not an irascible old barsteward like me. :evil:
 
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