Two Girls, Four Cockers (and Steve) & A Job Well Done !
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
And when I am not carrying a camera around and shooting other peoples day, I am still covered in mud and dog hairs and still making life into a grand adventure
Date : Saturday 19th January. Weather : SNOW
No. Of Guns : 8 (including AW) No. Of pickers up : 2 (Jo Dean & Caro “part-timer” Dell)
Teams : Jo; Luna Caro : Flossie, Cleggy, Freckle
TOTAL BAG : 78
3 Drives before Lunch.
Bacon butties and tea. Quick ride in the gun bus from hell
SWAN Jo at bottom of hill with four guns Caro top of hill with four guns.
Jo’s guns performed Caro’s guns didn’t.
Luna picked nicely and managed to clear the area at the bottom of the pen.
End of drive AW pointed out to CD bird down near pen - we knew. We swept and swept and no one fessed up to picking but after a thorough search nothing doing.
SPOUT WOOD (Drives 2 & 3)
Ground not fit for gun bus trip down to Spout Wood - use of legs required. Having already chatted with Jo about this last night we had already decided that this was our preferred option - best not to arrive pre-drive being sick from fear.
2 Guns with dogs - we left them to it.
Both of us back behind the guns at bottom of Pen.
Bird down Jo and Luna head of to retrieve.
Caro sat up with Cleggy and Freckle on lead and Flossie posing posing off lead. Hare the size of small pony bolts along wall, Caro manages to cover Flossies eyes and sit on top of her before she spotted it.
Lots of missing then oi oi, guns eye is in, bird are falling from the sky.
Nice big cock down, Jo sends luna, floss thinks she needs a hand, and as Luna picks the black bomber known as Taffy (also luna’s dad) effects a snatch and grab and bogs off !!!!!!
Jo and Luna head to far end of line and Caro and crew stay put. Runners are running dogs are retrieving Caro loses priest mid drive with three dogs and three live birds in front of her. Oops !!
Flossie decides she is fed up holding her runner so puts it down - Caro manages to snatch and grab before it fecks off again.
Re-group. Guns to line out. Beaters - who knows where Caro and Jo sweep wood far side of pen. Arrange to meet beaters and walk down with with them.
Gun points out 12 birds down - lots of eyebrow raises between P/Uppers 😀 😀
Fair play to guns we bagged 11/12 birds.
Cockers are ruling the day.
THE DRIVE FROM HELL….
Having swept through the wood we eventually found the beating line and got tagged onto the end …
Half an hour of fighting through dense cover, picking birds from previous drive as we go, dogs thought it was bloody marvellous, picking up and beating all in one day, dense walls of holly, all on a vertical slope, wet logs, deep mud baths, all in all not a spa day !!
(Floss did complain twice about the brambles )
We did however accomplish our task and managed to crawl on hands and knees through the wood , picked the birds that had fallen way back in the wood and emerged looking like we had in fact been dragged though it backward rather and forward.
Having lost all sense of direction we finally found the guns and re-joined the party !!!
NOTE TO SHOOT CAPTAIN (who will be reading this) RADIO’S ARE CRAP, WE ENDED UP USING DOG WHISTLES TO FIND EACH OTHER !!!
A few phone snaps from the day - not a day for lugging the camera and three spaniels round a shoot !!
LUNCH Tea and Cake
Part-timer Dell leaves poor Jo to the last two drives of the day on her own and heads of to sort the rest of her kennel mates.
Jo you are trouper extraordinaire !!!
2 DRIVES AFTER LUNCH
So just a few bits from me, Jo, about the afternoon.
Having lost my lead earlier on in the day I absolutely dare not go home without my Musto hat . I always lose something on shoot days and have lost count of the number game carriers and priests that have gone missing. The shoot captain had seen it in the barn and very helpfully went off to fetch it for me.
On the way back he slipped quite dramatically on the steps of the barn and face planted the floor.
I absolutely did not laugh at all. Nope.
Shoot captain must have got out of bed on the right side today because his second helpful gesture of the day was to get me someone from the beating line to help me pick up on the 2 afternoon drives.
Step forward Neil and his 2 lovely springers.
This was very pleasing to me as it meant the young man could be sent over the stile of doom; built by someone with 6ft long legs and that no vertically challenged woman with a dodgy knee can get over. This left me down the hill, across the stream and up the banking. Yes of course I fell over.
Luna was not keen to fetch the bird that had dropped practically in front of her instead choosing to go for the long mark down the banking back over the stream and up the hill. The drive was pretty uneventful until it was over and the shoot captain recommended I stay behind to look for one that was ‘stone dead’ and most definitely ‘over there’.
Luna wasn’t convinced but because it was Andrew who is the doggy equivalent of the pied piper she dutifully searched for it. Shoot captain’s pal Steve ( first day on the shoot – what a first impression ) wasn’t convinced either and suggested I try ‘ down there’ . It was of course down there…but just a clump of feathers. No matter though as Luna indulged plenty in her new love – walking on walls.
This made us late for the final drive and by this time the fog had descended. Steve, Luna and I made our way to the field where the guns were lined. It was a good drive but all the action was down with our drafted in picker up Neil. By this point it was impossible to see what the guns were shooting at due to the fog and I’m quite certain that they were actually shooting thin air. By this point Steve’s eyesight was clearly also failing and we were off on another wild goose chase for one that definitely dropped in ‘ that field’.
One final ride in the gun bus of doom and we were done.
Neil confirmed that the beater’s bus was no smoother than the gun bus.
Beaters day next Saturday !!!!
If you would like to see a fully gallery images from this season click HERE
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