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Beating is essential for a successful shoot. Beating is the act of flushing out birds from the trees on a hunt, making the birds fly out in the direction of the guns. Beaters usually work as part of a team, made up of the gamekeeper, beat-keeper and pickers-up.
Beaters will work their way through woodland or other covered areas, looking for any birds and flushing them out using a stick. It is important that the beater ensures that the birds fly out in the correct direction, otherwise the birds could then be lost to the shoot.
Another job of a beater involves waiting in an area where the birds will fly out and then waving a flag to make the birds fly higher into the sky. This is so that the shooters have a more challenging and exciting shot at the birds. It is a skilled job, requiring expert knowledge of beating and the habitats of birds such as a grouse, pheasants and partridges.
Some beaters may also work with gun dogs, so an element of dog-handling may be involved in certain cases. Beaters, like gun dog handlers, often work for pleasure rather than for payment, but most will be paid for their time and work. Many trainee gamekeepers may start off working as beaters to gain in-depth experience of shooting, as well as habitat management and pest and predator control.