A whole team of people is involved in putting on a day’s shooting.
The beaters, the pickers up, and on larger shoots, loaders.
Then there is the gamekeeper, on large shoots several underkeepers, and shoot manager.
All the pickers up and some of the beaters will be gundog handlers.
These are jobs for fully trained gundogs and are not suitable for young dogs ‘in training’.
If you have a young newly trained dog, picking-up is usually a better choice than beating, but there is a lot of competition for picking up work in some areas, and it requires knowledge and experience which you can best gain with a mentor.
Initially what you need is contacts within the shooting community.
Offering to help out at your local shoot, without your dog, is a good way to establish these contacts , and to make friends with ‘gundog folk’.[wp_ad_camp_1] In the winter you can offer to ‘beat’ .
Check out Beating for the First Time for more information
You do not need a gundog to take part as a beater.
Many shoots prefer beaters without a dog, and most shoots have a proportion of beaters that are ‘dogless’.
Picking up opportunities are greatly sought after and highly prized in many areas. Most shoots can pick and choose their pickers up so don’t expect to be taken on as a picker-up without some good contacts and an introduction.
Check out Getting started with Picking Up
Getting those contacts
Very often, making those first contacts means getting involved in ways that you perhaps had not intended, helping out in the summer for example. (see below)
You can make contact with shoots through the National Organisation of Beaters and pickersup whose objective is to bring shoot organisers together with those that want to participate in a shoot day.
There is a forum for NOBS members where you can chat to people in the shooting community.
In the summer, there are a number of ways in which you can lend a hand and get involved with your shooting and gundog community
Offering practical assistance
There is a plenty of work to be done on shoots during the summer months.
Repairing and rebuilding pens, replacing rotten posts, or damaged wiring, cutting back undergrowth and so on.
Many small shoots do not employ keepers, but are ‘manned’ by the guns themselves. Offer s of assistance, with feeding, cleaning out drinkers etc, are usually very welcome.
Becoming part of your local ‘shoot community’ may also open doors to opportunities like helping out with rabbit and pigeon control during the summer months.
Your kindness in offering to help will be remembered, and you will meet people that can help you.
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