A beater in the field with a gundog


To experience a shoot day you don’t have to be a gun. Beating and picking up are both essential roles on every shoot, and a great way to get started and see what it’s all about.

What does a beater do?

Beaters are there to flush out the birds into the path of the Guns, so they have something to shoot.

The beating line (which can range from 3 / 4 to 30/40 beaters) is a vital cog in the wheel of a successful shoot day as they have to work together, at the right pace to make sure the Guns are ready when the birds appear.

Some shoots allow beaters to take their dogs with them, but not all so make sure you check this in advance as all shoots have different requirements.

On a pheasant or partridge shoot as well as regular beaters there are also what are known as stops. They usually stand at the end of the beating line or at points where birds can escape.

Grouse shooting

There are also different requirements depending on the type of shoot you are working on. If you are beating on a grouse shoot then it is customary (and necessary) to make sure you wear natural tones so no white, or you will be seen by the grouse!

Working a grouse shoot involves a lot more walking than any other type of game shoot, around 10 times more and across more difficult terrain so your footwear is more important than ever. As well as making sure you wear something comfortable you need to protect your ankles.

It’s also good to know that dogs don’t have to be as well trained for grouse shooting because they have so much more ground to cover – they just have to be very willing.

On a grouse shoot there are beaters and flankers – which are usually 3 to 4 people who go at either end of the buts to help direct the birds into the right direction.

If you get given this role, eyewear is essential!

And finally

One of the most important things to take on a shoot is a good quality coat that will keep you warm and dry – but not necessarily an expensive one as you will be tackling thick cover and sharp branches so rips and snags are common.