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Small rant (just me )

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19 minutes ago, Dave at kelton said:

Thank you I have clearly been misinformed having been told the dog had to take the direct line it was set on to the fall.

On another point why do I see a number of triallers who will keep their trial dogs back from sweeping and seem to have a separate team for this purpose. When using their trialling dogs they want to stand where they can send an individual for a direct fall that they or the dog has marked. I am not trying to be provocative but be educated because, as I have said before I do not trial as I have neither time, money nor, am I prepared to take the stress.

I ruined my old lab ‘sweeping up’ whilst picking up from woodland on an estate. 
He was in self hunt pick up mode 🙄

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Just now, WelshAndy said:

I ruined my old lab ‘sweeping up’ whilst picking up from woodland on an estate. 
He was in self hunt pick up mode 🙄

Everyone has a different view of sweeping. If you are working the hill moors as I do there is no alternative but to cover large areas of Heather and bracken. Nonetheless I still expect my dogs to respond to all commands and in general they do but over greater distances. Massively different to what I experienced when living in the south east when dogs were working largely within 100 yds or they would be in the next drive.

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I disagree with my pals who judge on this. When training on a long blind I will let the dog hunt up the area and cover (once given the hi-lost whistle) for an almost indefinite time and expect them to work it out for themselves. Obviously on a shoot day I will step in but for me the dogs need to learn how to find on their own not become robots waiting for me to direct them to the exact spot. 

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1 hour ago, Dave at kelton said:

Thank you I have clearly been misinformed having been told the dog had to take the direct line it was set on to the fall.

On another point why do I see a number of triallers who will keep their trial dogs back from sweeping and seem to have a separate team for this purpose. When using their trialling dogs they want to stand where they can send an individual for a direct fall that they or the dog has marked. I am not trying to be provocative but be educated because, as I have said before I do not trial as I have neither time, money nor, am I prepared to take the stress.


The dog can go off the line a bit to take in wind... what you don’t want is the dog very clearly being in the area of the fall... but ********* off 50-100 yards out of the area... if the dog is out of the area he is very likely to pick up scent of unshot birds also has a chance of disturbing and flushing other game / unshot birds. 
 

So you send your dog for a bird... he over shoots it and goes off hunting a massive area, flushes all the game in the wood... then either fails on the retrieve or finally finds it and then comes back. 
 

Then the dog has essentially ruined the rest of the wood or strip for your chance of another shot. 
 

An efficient and good dog will take a straight line to the drop .... should be able to go off and use the wind but needs to hold a fairly solid area not just sweep a whole area blindly. The dog should find the game quickly and efficiently, deliver it back to hand swiftly, without disturbing all the other ground and flushing every other bird in the wood. 
 

The handler / shooter can then carry on and shoot more game because every inch of ground hasn’t been disturbed. 
 

When you think about it, the J regs are just the basics of a good shooting dog, that’s well polished. I am out and about at the moment Andy but when I am home I’ll send you a pic of the KC J regs if you want, although they’re only about £2.50 and they’ll post you a copy. 

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1 hour ago, WalkedUp said:

I disagree with my pals who judge on this. When training on a long blind I will let the dog hunt up the area and cover (once given the hi-lost whistle) for an almost indefinite time and expect them to work it out for themselves. Obviously on a shoot day I will step in but for me the dogs need to learn how to find on their own not become robots waiting for me to direct them to the exact spot. 


Once you get the dog to the drop zone, if the bird has run the handler usually has less idea where the bird is than the dog! 
 

Handling is only to get them to the drop, after that as you say (unless you spot the bird running about), you just let them get on with it. In a trial you get the dog to the drop zone, close your eyes and pray!!! 
 

This is apparently really becoming obvious in trials at the moment... the lads who shoot over there dogs regular are wiping the floor with people who’ve never shot over their dogs... the dogs don’t have gun sense and will struggle to take the scent of a runner and notice the difference between a shot bird and just general bird scent. 
 

 

 

It’s a bit different picking up as the birds aren’t usually dropping into the next drive that your about to hunt out or push through. Imagine telling the keeper your off sweeping up to find 1 single bird that’s landed in the next drive they’re about to push out ... he’d tell you to P off! You’d disturb everything to come. 

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12 minutes ago, Lloyd90 said:


When you think about it, the J regs are just the basics of a good shooting dog, that’s well polished. I am out and about at the moment Andy but when I am home I’ll send you a pic of the KC J regs if you want, although they’re only about £2.50 and they’ll post you a copy. 

Where would be able to buy a copy Lloyd?

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44 minutes ago, Lloyd90 said:


The dog can go off the line a bit to take in wind... what you don’t want is the dog very clearly being in the area of the fall... but ********* off 50-100 yards out of the area... if the dog is out of the area he is very likely to pick up scent of unshot birds also has a chance of disturbing and flushing other game / unshot birds. 
 

So you send your dog for a bird... he over shoots it and goes off hunting a massive area, flushes all the game in the wood... then either fails on the retrieve or finally finds it and then comes back. 
 

Then the dog has essentially ruined the rest of the wood or strip for your chance of another shot. 
 

An efficient and good dog will take a straight line to the drop .... should be able to go off and use the wind but needs to hold a fairly solid area not just sweep a whole area blindly. The dog should find the game quickly and efficiently, deliver it back to hand swiftly, without disturbing all the other ground and flushing every other bird in the wood. 
 

The handler / shooter can then carry on and shoot more game because every inch of ground hasn’t been disturbed. 
 

When you think about it, the J regs are just the basics of a good shooting dog, that’s well polished. I am out and about at the moment Andy but when I am home I’ll send you a pic of the KC J regs if you want, although they’re only about £2.50 and they’ll post you a copy. 

Interesting point, I shoot generally walked up in areas of low game density. So I am always more concerned about getting a pricked runner in the bag than the possibility of kicking up game.  I got a lovely almost left and right last year. Walked up in line of guns with keeper. Cock got up from dog killed, broke gun and sent dog for retrieve. Straight line to the cock but it put the hen up too, quickly closed the gun, switched the barrel selector and then dropped her too so when the dog got back he had a second retrieve. Very rarely happens for me though.

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1 hour ago, Lloyd90 said:


The dog can go off the line a bit to take in wind... what you don’t want is the dog very clearly being in the area of the fall... but ********* off 50-100 yards out of the area... if the dog is out of the area he is very likely to pick up scent of unshot birds also has a chance of disturbing and flushing other game / unshot birds. 
 

So you send your dog for a bird... he over shoots it and goes off hunting a massive area, flushes all the game in the wood... then either fails on the retrieve or finally finds it and then comes back. 
 

Then the dog has essentially ruined the rest of the wood or strip for your chance of another shot. 
 

An efficient and good dog will take a straight line to the drop .... should be able to go off and use the wind but needs to hold a fairly solid area not just sweep a whole area blindly. The dog should find the game quickly and efficiently, deliver it back to hand swiftly, without disturbing all the other ground and flushing every other bird in the wood. 
 

The handler / shooter can then carry on and shoot more game because every inch of ground hasn’t been disturbed. 
 

When you think about it, the J regs are just the basics of a good shooting dog, that’s well polished. I am out and about at the moment Andy but when I am home I’ll send you a pic of the KC J regs if you want, although they’re only about £2.50 and they’ll post you a copy. 

Thanks

i think it’s the difference between what you describe and what I am required to do now. What you say describes perfectly the estates I picked up on in the South East and how I worked or the shoot I ran then. A dog that ranged or was out of control was a pain in the ****. It is very different here north of the border on hill land and an estate of 92,000 acres. There are drives where the dogs are kept in and under tight control whilst out picking but after the second drive you have a lot of hill and heather to cover and you need a team of dogs that covers ground to make sure pricked birds are in the bag from both drives or you won’t be invited back. Early season you might worry about pegging but you don’t let your dogs out of control and experienced dogs know the different scents.

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1 hour ago, WelshAndy said:

Where would be able to buy a copy Lloyd?


Here you go mate. You want the field trials and working test one - £2.50. 
 

Don’t expect a lot, the criteria aren’t that big. I am still out but can post pics of them later if you want... they’re not copyright or anything they’re widely publicised 👍🏻 
 

 

https://www.thekennelclubshop.org.uk/products/regulations-booklet-all-canine-activities

1 hour ago, WalkedUp said:

Interesting point, I shoot generally walked up in areas of low game density. So I am always more concerned about getting a pricked runner in the bag than the possibility of kicking up game.  I got a lovely almost left and right last year. Walked up in line of guns with keeper. Cock got up from dog killed, broke gun and sent dog for retrieve. Straight line to the cock but it put the hen up too, quickly closed the gun, switched the barrel selector and then dropped her too so when the dog got back he had a second retrieve. Very rarely happens for me though.


Cracking when it does happen. If your on land of low game density then disturbing ground and potentially flushing the only other bird in the wood when out of range on a retrieve could half the bag ... I think the J regs in general couldn’t get much better. 
 

There is an issue with some judges interpreting them differently or wrongly... or making up rules as they go along. Luckily in the minority I would think. 

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1 hour ago, Dave at kelton said:

Thanks

i think it’s the difference between what you describe and what I am required to do now. What you say describes perfectly the estates I picked up on in the South East and how I worked or the shoot I ran then. A dog that ranged or was out of control was a pain in the ****. It is very different here north of the border on hill land and an estate of 92,000 acres. There are drives where the dogs are kept in and under tight control whilst out picking but after the second drive you have a lot of hill and heather to cover and you need a team of dogs that covers ground to make sure pricked birds are in the bag from both drives or you won’t be invited back. Early season you might worry about pegging but you don’t let your dogs out of control and experienced dogs know the different scents.


Nothing wrong with that Dave. 
 

I bet your dogs become skilled at what you want them for. After a season or two doing that I bet they don’t miss many birds. 
It’s just a different type of work for them :) 
 

What I find sad is that rough shooting has declined so much that most people don’t get the chance to shoot over their own dogs now. Most people’s opportunity to work their dogs are beating and if they’re lucky some picking up. 
 

 

 

I think the main issue of breeding “working dogs” these days, is the people who’ve done little more than take their dog for a walk in the country, claimed it’s a top working dog and bred it over and over when it hasn’t even been worked properly in the field to prove its worth. 
 

 

There are many many outstanding working dogs out there that are “just working dogs” who would win a trial all day long but their owners aren’t interested. 
 

Don’t let the trial lads let you think they’ve have some magic secret. 
 

A good dog is a good dog. If I can train my dog to a standard to run in a trial anyone can!! Whether he does any good or not is another matter. 

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4 minutes ago, Lloyd90 said:


Nothing wrong with that Dave. 
 

I bet your dogs become skilled at what you want them for. After a season or two doing that I bet they don’t miss many birds. 
It’s just a different type of work for them  
 

What I find sad is that rough shooting has declined so much that most people don’t get the chance to shoot over their own dogs now. Most people’s opportunity to work their dogs are beating and if they’re lucky some picking up. 
 

 

 

I think the main issue of breeding “working dogs” these days, is the people who’ve done little more than take their dog for a walk in the country, claimed it’s a top working dog and bred it over and over when it hasn’t even been worked properly in the field to prove its worth. 
 

 

There are many many outstanding working dogs out there that are “just working dogs” who would win a trial all day long but their owners aren’t interested. 
 

Don’t let the trial lads let you think they’ve have some magic secret. 
 

A good dog is a good dog. If I can train my dog to a standard to run in a trial anyone can!! Whether he does any good or not is another matter. 

I agree. I started with springers I could shoot over in bramble and gorse for rabbits, go wildfowling a couple of times a year and beat when asked. I do still see a little of that but not as much for the reasons you say. It is definitely horses for courses and you teach your dog to do what you need. What I do see is a lot of people who come into picking up from working tests/clubs and the trouble is they just don’t appreciate what the keeper needs, the guns need and the other pickers up in the team need. They have very competent dogs in many cases but just don’t understand what a shoot day is about because they have not come through the ranks. Unfortunately we aren’t going to turn the clock back.

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1 hour ago, Dave at kelton said:

I agree. I started with springers I could shoot over in bramble and gorse for rabbits, go wildfowling a couple of times a year and beat when asked. I do still see a little of that but not as much for the reasons you say. It is definitely horses for courses and you teach your dog to do what you need. What I do see is a lot of people who come into picking up from working tests/clubs and the trouble is they just don’t appreciate what the keeper needs, the guns need and the other pickers up in the team need. They have very competent dogs in many cases but just don’t understand what a shoot day is about because they have not come through the ranks. Unfortunately we aren’t going to turn the clock back.


Is that the fault of the people coming through though Dave? Or the keeper giving them the roles? 🤷‍♂️ 
 

Small shoot I joined the standing of dogs is poor. Yet they don’t want to pay the beaters anything. To be fair it’s only a small shoot with small bags but one season they complain they hadn’t almost no beaters and no dogs, and another year we had a fair few but the standard was very poor... dogs well off out of control etc. 
 

I don’t bother saying anything to them because their are giving up their times and effort for nothing. I always thank them politely and make an effort to go around thanking them all for doing their best on the day.

 

However it is the shoots / guns own fault if they don’t want to set a standard for who they have in. 

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7 hours ago, Lloyd90 said:


Is that the fault of the people coming through though Dave? Or the keeper giving them the roles? 🤷‍♂️ 
 

Small shoot I joined the standing of dogs is poor. Yet they don’t want to pay the beaters anything. To be fair it’s only a small shoot with small bags but one season they complain they hadn’t almost no beaters and no dogs, and another year we had a fair few but the standard was very poor... dogs well off out of control etc. 
 

I don’t bother saying anything to them because their are giving up their times and effort for nothing. I always thank them politely and make an effort to go around thanking them all for doing their best on the day.

 

However it is the shoots / guns own fault if they don’t want to set a standard for who they have in. 

Fair comment. I guess it is the age old problem that many shoots are desperate for beaters or pickers up and just aren’t choosy. I do though think that there is a lot more needed done to educate and coach dog handlers which goes back to my comment earlier in the thread, putting aside some can’t be told. 
A question. You see young shots courses, Introduction to game days etc for aspiring gameshooters looking to get into the sport. What I have not seen are the equivalent  for dog handlers. Are you aware of any?

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Good point about young handlers - an idea that should be expanded. 

On a Moor I beat and pick up on they pay all beaters the same amount regardless if you have a dog or not. If you are 15 and taking a day off school the money is great. If you are having to take a day off work, house your dogs for 12 months ... the money is not so great. One Moor I used to beat on got a new keeper, on the 12th I turned up with both dogs as normal. He put me as a “stop”, complete waste of resource being young, fit and having very experienced dogs stood waving a flag miles from the action. I thanked him at the end of the day and never went back. Many gamekeepers don’t really understand dogs or dog handling, often the worst dogs on a shoot are the keeper’s!

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1 hour ago, Dave at kelton said:

Fair comment. I guess it is the age old problem that many shoots are desperate for beaters or pickers up and just aren’t choosy. I do though think that there is a lot more needed done to educate and coach dog handlers which goes back to my comment earlier in the thread, putting aside some can’t be told. 
A question. You see young shots courses, Introduction to game days etc for aspiring gameshooters looking to get into the sport. What I have not seen are the equivalent  for dog handlers. Are you aware of any?


Yes. Gundog clubs have lessons where new handlers can go along and learn what the dog is supposed to do. 
 

They also have working tests... which is an intro to the sport but with the use of dummies instead of live game. 
 

The clubs are very cheap to join (most about £10), they usually have a trainer and you can meet up with other people with similar dogs to train together. 
 

 

I only learned from going to working tests. Not to run my dog as he was only a pup, I went to throw dummies or fire the starter pistol. I got to stand up front with the judges and chat to them, top field trial judges and ask and learn about the good and bad points of all the dogs running. 
 

As with anything, you only get out what you put in. 
 

 

 

 

Saying that many people are happy to train their dog to flush and don’t bother training fit to drop to flush, or to shot, and just let it run in for both. If they are happy with that then let them carry on ... the dog is doing what they want from it. 

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True story:

I once watched a field trial man, who had asked if he could come picking up. He brought five beautifully trained labs, and sat them in a semi-circle around him. At the end of the drive where I could see him, (I was loading), there were 170 birds down on a rough bank. He chose one dog and handled it out to one specific bird which he had marked. When the dog returned all dogs were called to heel and he went back to his vehicle. That was the only day I saw him there, obviously.

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34 minutes ago, London Best said:

True story:

I once watched a field trial man, who had asked if he could come picking up. He brought five beautifully trained labs, and sat them in a semi-circle around him. At the end of the drive where I could see him, (I was loading), there were 170 birds down on a rough bank. He chose one dog and handled it out to one specific bird which he had marked. When the dog returned all dogs were called to heel and he went back to his vehicle. That was the only day I saw him there, obviously.

Yep and my job is to clear up afterwards. I have no problem with that by the way!

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49 minutes ago, London Best said:

True story:

I once watched a field trial man, who had asked if he could come picking up. He brought five beautifully trained labs, and sat them in a semi-circle around him. At the end of the drive where I could see him, (I was loading), there were 170 birds down on a rough bank. He chose one dog and handled it out to one specific bird which he had marked. When the dog returned all dogs were called to heel and he went back to his vehicle. That was the only day I saw him there, obviously.


What a waste of both his time and the shoot members. There’s not much point him going there if he wants to do that. 
 

But then again, it’s the keepers fault for letting him pick up... normally you earn your picking up by progressing through the ranks of beaters. 
 

He’d have been better off going rough shooting, shooting 1-2 birds and having 1-2 precise retrieves luke he obviously wanted. 
 

As said earlier ... if there was more rough shooting and small walked up days available then people would do that. 
I much prefer A small day walked up shooting 3-4 birds over my dog than a big driven day where there’s hundreds of birds in the bag and no one even wants them to eat. 
 

 

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The point is, when you go picking up you are there to do a job, not play at bloody dog training. That man probably thought ‘hoovering’ was beneath his training skills, or might even spoil his dogs, or maybe he just didn’t know what was required of a picker up?

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11 minutes ago, London Best said:

The point is, when you go picking up you are there to do a job, not play at bloody dog training. That man probably thought ‘hoovering’ was beneath his training skills, or might even spoil his dogs, or maybe he just didn’t know what was required of a picker up?


I think it more likely he was an amateur, didn’t know what was required or felt that it would ruin his dogs. 
 

Any top trialler isn’t going on shoot days to work their dogs unless they want to. Most of the top boys have their own land they can shoot on, or have permission to shoot on the outskirts of estates. Part of the reason they’re so successful, they have access to game to train on easily. 
 

Just think, you competing against lads who can shoot over their dogs 3-4 days a week at the drop of a hat. They don’t have to take a day off work or stuff like that. It’s their full time job. Hence any novice coming in and doing well has achieved an enormous feat. 
 

However, Quite a lot of triallers pick up with their dogs regularly year after year, so I can only assume they do a good job or they wouldn’t get invited back. 
 

 

On another note: 


I remember an example of taking my dog Ted out his first ever day beating. It was only a small shoot and lucky to get double figures. A gun had a poor shot and clipped a bird and it went down and ran on. They asked me to send my dog over to try and find it. I didn’t really want to, not because I didn’t understand the job or whatever, but because at that point my dog had never picked a freshly shot bird before let alone a runner, and I didn’t want to send him on a load of runners as his first retrieve and blow all his steadiness... he didn’t find that bird thankfully, but did flush and chase a runner (and catch it) at the end of the day after he had sat to flush several times before. 
 

That was the start of him ignoring the stop and trying to chase birds which took me ages to put right 😂😂

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This has been a really interesting thread for someone who shoots game birds occasionally and yet has no knowledge of what the guys and girls with the dogs are up to! Thanks to @Lloyd90, @WalkedUp, @WelshAndy and @Dave at kelton for some great insight.

Hoping to get a lab at some point this year and with ideas of training and some competition in mind this thread alone has got me really excited!

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22 hours ago, Lloyd90 said:


I think it more likely he was an amateur, didn’t know what was required or felt that it would ruin his dogs. 
 

Any top trialler isn’t going on shoot days to work their dogs unless they want to. Most of the top boys have their own land they can shoot on, or have permission to shoot on the outskirts of estates. Part of the reason they’re so successful, they have access to game to train on easily. 
 

Just think, you competing against lads who can shoot over their dogs 3-4 days a week at the drop of a hat. They don’t have to take a day off work or stuff like that. It’s their full time job. Hence any novice coming in and doing well has achieved an enormous feat. 
 

However, Quite a lot of triallers pick up with their dogs regularly year after year, so I can only assume they do a good job or they wouldn’t get invited back. 
 

 

On another note: 


I remember an example of taking my dog Ted out his first ever day beating. It was only a small shoot and lucky to get double figures. A gun had a poor shot and clipped a bird and it went down and ran on. They asked me to send my dog over to try and find it. I didn’t really want to, not because I didn’t understand the job or whatever, but because at that point my dog had never picked a freshly shot bird before let alone a runner, and I didn’t want to send him on a load of runners as his first retrieve and blow all his steadiness... he didn’t find that bird thankfully, but did flush and chase a runner (and catch it) at the end of the day after he had sat to flush several times before. 
 

That was the start of him ignoring the stop and trying to chase birds which took me ages to put right 😂😂

This latter is a good point. I have refused to use a young inexperienced dog in such circumstances, politely explaining why. It has always been accepted by the gun or keeper.

1 hour ago, Munzy said:

This has been a really interesting thread for someone who shoots game birds occasionally and yet has no knowledge of what the guys and girls with the dogs are up to! Thanks to @Lloyd90, @WalkedUp, @WelshAndy and @Dave at kelton for some great insight.

Hoping to get a lab at some point this year and with ideas of training and some competition in mind this thread alone has got me really excited!

There is a wealth of knowledge on this site and we are all learning from each other. On another point it is always gratifying when guns know what goes into making their day. In my experience of picking up many neither have a clue or are bothered as long as they get their bag. When one takes time to take an interest, chat or say thank you it makes a hell of a difference. 

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22 minutes ago, Dave at kelton said:

 

There is a wealth of knowledge on this site and we are all learning from each other. On another point it is always gratifying when guns know what goes into making their day. In my experience of picking up many neither have a clue or are bothered as long as they get their bag. When one takes time to take an interest, chat or say thank you it makes a hell of a difference. 

It really annoys me when guns just walk off saying they have a few birds down over there - waving their hands...

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13 minutes ago, WelshAndy said:

It really annoys me when guns just walk off saying they have a few birds down over there - waving their hands...

Sometimes you are lucky if they even say that so I make the point of asking. Generally I am picking where I can position myself to mark and click as many as I can in my sector, then sweep through the hill after so it really doesn’t matter. I have the privilege of working for one of the UKs premier estates where there is always lots of picking to be done. I see every level of gun from UK and abroad. They pay for the day and that lets me indulge my passion of working my dogs. It is their day and as long as they are safe, and hopefully courteous that is a matter for them.

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27 minutes ago, WelshAndy said:

It really annoys me when guns just walk off saying they have a few birds down over there - waving their hands...

It’s a two way street 

it really annoys me when picker ups send their dog past me and my dogs to pick Dead birds Infront of the  line 

there’s good and bad on most days 

 

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