Picking up is vital on any shoot where a large number of birds will be shot. Pickers up are people who stand behind the line of guns on a shoot and use their dogs to retrieve all the shot game.
A shoot can have any number of pickers up depending on the size and expected bag of the shoot. Many of the pickers up have more than one dog so that they can cover large areas behind the line of guns.
It is important that the dog is fully trained to retrieve shot or wounded game so that it is not damaged by a hard mouthed or inexperienced dog. The dog should be able to note the positions of shot birds so that they can be picked up as soon as possible.
Pickers up should be aware of how the keeper wants them to operate, both during and after the drive has finished. Sometimes the guns may have their own dogs which they would like to retrieve their birds and the picker up should respect their wishes.
Pickers up should be in a position well back from the guns so that not only are they safe, but they have a good view of the proceedings, where each bird lands and what is happening next.
Picking Up can also be paid work, varying from shoot to shoot, but can be anywhere in the region of £15-40. It can be a very rewarding job, watching a trained dog work in beautiful countryside has got to be better than sitting at home hasn't it?
Equipment Check List:
- Game carrier
- Game dispatcher
- First aid kit
- Waterproof clothing
- Towels for drying you and your dog,
- Lunch and drink