Last weekend I was sent a beautiful photo of one of our shot glass trays on a shoot in action.
I got really excited as in a few weeks time I will be beating for the first time with the children. It got me researching: knowledge is power and all that! I don't want to stick out like a sort thumb!!
So below is some information I found out about beating for the first time care of "Totally Gudogs". Someone else may find the blog helpful too and just so you know everything in red are my own, not so helpful comments!
1. Leave your dog at home
Don’t take your dog with you the first time you go beating. Learn the ropes without them! (Haha -Could just imagine myself with the three mad labs!! Right I shall learn first then teach them! )
If you spend the whole day focusing on the dog, he will probably run riot and at best you won’t be asked back. ( Imagining Ludo right now!! Bentley would have been amazing)
2. Your fitness
The next proviso is about your welfare and safety. Some shoots take place in very demanding terrain. Virtually all shoots contain hills. Sometimes very steep ones that you may be required to walk up several times. Beating is very hard work.. (Ok, I have three more body coach sessions before the date- will this get rid of the layer of fat and get me davina fit again...I think not- I shall just have to pretend!!!!)
3. Finding a shoot to beat on
Getting involved on a shoot can be difficult. A personal invite is ideal but shooting folk can be wary of strangers due to previous experiences with animal rights fanatics. (So I've been invited...hence why I'm trying to get it right, so we get invited back again!!)
What does beating involve?
In very simple terms, each shoot is divided into ‘drives’. Each drive is an area of countryside containing the habitat that pheasants enjoy and populated with the pheasants themselves.
The shoot manager decides which way he wants or expects the pheasants to fly and lines up his ‘guns’ (people who are shooting) along this edge of the drive. The beaters are lined up along the opposite end of the drive. Their object is to walk in a line towards the guns, making some noise and disturbance. Dogs may or may not be used to aid in this process. The idea is to flush the birds in little groups, a few at a time.
What to take with you
If you turn up with a stout stick it will be appreciated, but if you don’t have one most shoots will have spare ones. The idea is to get the birds moving forwards and away from the beaters. Tapping with sticks and waving flags is all a part of the process. You will also be expected to make a noise. Take a small bottle of water and you may need a packed lunch. Some shoots provide all refreshments.
What to wear
You don’t walk around things when you beat, you walk through them. You really need a tough thornproof jacket and some very tough trousers. Several thin layers under your jacket that can be removed are a good idea.
At the end of the day
When you finish your first day’s beating you will probably be shattered. The other beaters may troop off to the pub for a pint it is a good idea to go along with them. You’l learn a lot just by listening to them. (Perhaps this is the time to get the shot glass tray out and earn some stripes!)
If you would like to see our Shot Glass Trays available for engraving please look on our bottoms up page!