Forum

A comparison betwee...
 
Notifications
Clear all

A comparison between prairier bird hunting and driven shooting...  

Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Famed Member

PRAIRIE BIRD HUNTING AND DRIVEN BIRD SHOOTING

A COMPARISON…

In creating this post, my goal is simply to describe and compare the various components of each style of shooting the same birds – pheasants, or similar birds such as driven French partridges and prairie birds of the different species. I am doing this because I am often asked by folks what the differences are between these two types of bird shooting, nearly all of whom have not shot driven.

My resources are, for driven, numerous seasons shooting in the UK since the mid-‘90s, often more than once a year, once in the US at a British style driven shoot in Idaho, while with prairie hunting, I’m relying on my preserve quail hunts at a variety of locations and viewing numerous videos of prairie hunts of small quarry. Now, before anyone begins to think negatively about my preserve quail hunts, let me say that I have shot these with many hunters who were very experienced prairie and upland wild bird hunters. Without exception, those experienced hunters have said the preserve birds flew every bit as well as any wild birds they had hunted and shot. If you’re not willing to accept their opinions, that’s too bad. I’m not saying all preserve birds are very good, but I am talking about my own experiences. This isn’t about quality, anyway, it’s about the differences in the two types of bird shooting.

I’ve broken my comments into ten categories, in alphabetical order:

 

  1. Altitude of quarry – Prairie birds (P) are almost always shot at much lower altitudes than driven birds (D). I’m seeing that many P are killed at 15-20 feet, many are killed closer to the ground. In comparison, D are seldom shot below 40-60 feet; huge numbers are killed above 80-100 feet. Lots are shot higher, well over 100 feet up.

 

  1. Bird bags – I simply don’t know what the various locales’ daily legal P bags are without research, but my guess is that few, if any, are as high as 10 birds per hunter. In D, it is very typical for a bag to be in the 250-bird range over 4 – 6 drives. For an 8-gun line, that works out to 30+ birds per Gun. Many booked days are for higher bags. Across Britain, the shots fired per bird killed ranges above 4.5 to 1. So, at a successful 250 bag day, it’s common that over 1,000 shots will be fired. And, they are counted.

 

  1. Choice of target – This is really a generalization, and won’t always stand up under scrutiny, but the P hunter typically has fewer birds in the air at which to shoot than the D Gun has. Shooting at a fairly low bird or a few more flying at from 4 to 20 feet off the ground is far different than trying to choose one bird out of 50 or even more flying at you from a field of fire 45 degrees to either side at heights ranging from 50 – 90 feet high and higher, likely as not.

 

  1. Dogs – it’s interesting that some of the same species are used in both shoots, Labs and various spaniels. In D you’ll see more of both of those than other breeds. In both prairie and driven, dogs flush and retrieve. In D, there are two sets of dogs, those with the beaters who are driving the birds, and those with the pickers-up who find the birds and bring them to their handlers at the end of each drive. One occasionally sees other breeds at a driven shoot – Weimaraners, German short hairs, Vizslas, perhaps an occasional setter. Seldom does one see a pointer. I don’t recall others, but I’m no dog breed follower.

 

  1. Flushing – In P, the dogs flush as they move forward with or in front of the guns. In D, the beaters and their dogs flush the birds toward the line of Guns. There are nowhere near as many dogs as there are beaters. Each picker-up will have at least one dog, most have several, sometimes as many as 6-7.

 

  1. Guns/Hunters – My experience is that in P shooting, there seldom are more than 4-5 Guns. I’m sure many of you know of more persons shooting, but that’s what I’ve seen. In D, lines of Guns range from 6 to 10, 8 being the norm. Many, many D guns, even when shooting only one gun, work with a loader or stuffer. This has a great many advantages – the Gun and loader can view different sectors. The Gun can see oncoming birds as the loader reloads. The loader carries the gun(s). ammo, and other gear.

 

  1. Shotguns – in P, one can see almost any style of shotgun. I don’t know what about the number of cartridges one can legally load into a shotgun. In D, one just doesn’t shoot a semi or a pump. It’s simply not done. For decades, from the Edwardian era until about 10-15 years ago, SxS guns dominated. O/Us have now pretty much overtaken SxSs now, especially in new gun sales. Looking through one of the major UK shooting magazines, one sees O/Us far more often than SxSs in shoot photos. For some makers, interestingly enough, O/U sales to US buyers are significantly higher than SxS sales.

 

  1. Presentation – Simply put, P birds fly away from the hunters; D birds fly toward the Guns, with many quartering incomers and crossers from either side as well. D guns don’t shoot behind them, due to the pickers-up back there.

 

  1. Style – P hunters walk down a field or course, sometimes toward blocking Guns. D Guns are positioned for each drive at sequentially numbered stations called “pegs” by the shoot master and stay in position unless told to move. Almost always, they will move up and down the line as they go from one drive to the next, so that no one is always in the middle "peg” or at the end "peg" of the line. A typical movement is to move up two "peg" in the line for each drive they will move up and down the line so that down the line so that no one is always in the middle or at the end of the line. A typical movement is to move up two places in the line for each drive, from peg 2 to peg 4.

 

  1. Terrain – I know many P birds are hunted in rough and hilly terrain, but most of what I’ve seen are hunted in basically flat terrain. D are shot in all kinds of terrain, but seldom on flat ground. The main idea is to set your drive so that the birds come towards and over the Guns. Quite often D come at you from and/or through woods. Sometimes, the Guns are in deep gullies with steep ground both in front and behind them, quite often along a stream. These features are frequently combined at a peg.

 

I have not mentioned UK driven grouse shooting as there are many differences between it and driven pheasants and partridges, Still, it’s interesting to watch.

 

If anyone is intrigued by any of this, and wants to check things out, one can find a wide variety of YouTube videos on both types of shooting.

 

  Comments?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote
Topic starter Posted : March 7, 2020 11:06 am
Forest McVay
(@forest-mcvay)
Famed Member

IF, you are comparing shooting, then I would suggest Prairie Bird Shooting vs. Driven Bird Shooting as a title. Using the word hunting sets loose far more comparisons than you might wish. However, your list, to a non-D person, appears to well cover many of the expected differences. #3 would seem to be the most profound difference, in that prairie or woods birds are hopefully less a "target" for most of us than they are an unwritten but vitally appreciated part of the phrase...."A Dog, A Gun and Time Enough".

Comments on differences, you ask? 

1) "D" appears terribly focused on numbers..."P" much less so. We all court success but balancing out an estate ledger book or reckoning a ROI is just not the norm with prairie or woods, to my eye.

2) "Shooting" is a very small part of being there, for me. Difficulty or challenge re shooting would seem best fulfilled on a clay field. Shooting, when reduced to an equation, angles or weights and measures, compared to all that is involved in a day of wild bird hunting with a dog paws down be it in short grass or alders, holds little interest. Tho I do easily remember my first life defining got 'em shot at a game bird taken on a sunny November day, when ruffed grouse feathers appeared to fall forever. For other folks, shooting itself, be it at "D" or other, clearly represents high importance or....a way of greater comparison perhaps, of one's choice to that of another. All good, as some say. 

3) I feel that in trying to come up with differences for this thread, you are a bit high-centered upon the upland tales told to you by others. That reliance may not represent quite the average experience which you imply....tho some folks do skirmish line a stripper head cut wheat field, for example. Basically, the world of upland is quite wide.

4) Since I often find people beyond two a crowd, I'm very glad that such options as represented by "D" exist.....so, kudos to all the "Ds" of the world and to the good job they do of attracting attention and so, followers to where I am not. A bit selfish but, there you have it.

As...you...mentioned Preserves, I would agree that Preserves can easily have an element of challenge relative to the strength or flight of presented birds. If for no more reason than the reality of wild birds running the gamut of rise and flush.....from skittish explosions to stepped upon tight-sitters. Cover, the hunter or freshly fallen snow will often tell that tale. I would say tho that many who proclaim the quality of Preserve birds often do so for the benefit of listeners or for the imagination of a wallet being well opened, ime anyway. But yes, I have found both Preserve birds and state-released birds, at times, to be little different than wild. The important difference with a Preserve, to me, lies in two areas...access and predictability. Groomed paths or well-trodden brush-beaten switch mimics little where wild makes it's home. I reckon that the aspect of predictability found on a Preserve, compared to "P", does appeal to some folks.....the young, the old, dog trainers, busy individuals or especially, those for whom shooting or bag is so important. And, since " D" carries a degree of that same predictability, a comparison of shooting...Preserve to Driven might have been the better one. I personally find such predictability, along with "bag", to be less than a critical component to a day well done...any day, anywhere. But, that of course means diddly in a picture hanging upon another's wall.

I trust we will all find enjoyment and satisfaction afield...be the place "D" to the toughest Pennsylvania coverts to ...wherever. Prost!

ReplyQuote
Posted : March 7, 2020 7:47 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Famed Member

Thornton: “IF, you are comparing shooting, then I would suggest Prairie Bird Shooting vs. Driven Bird Shooting as a title.”

No.

American hunters hunt birds. In the UK, the Guns shoot birds and hunt foxes. My terms are correct.

This post was modified 1 year ago by Moonshine
ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : March 7, 2020 11:14 pm
Forest McVay
(@forest-mcvay)
Famed Member

Speaking to many Americans, bird hunting is and involves far more than elements of the shooting, tactics or logistics. The "D" vs "P" comparisons you note are clear but fall short in lacking a column for Why or the center point Connection with one's dog, as but two..... if bird hunting vs bird shooting is to be involved. Those elements are, after all, most often reasons for being there for many of us, here.

Your thread would appear to play best in a British publication. I do suspect that "D" involves it's own dose of other columns as well. I would be interested in hearing of those columns. Perhaps tho, it could all be as simple as the difference between a Lifestyle and a Life? I don't know...mebbe.

I understood the semantics of hunting vs shooting, over there. I simply wish you better understood...the more, here.

Tally Ho!

ReplyQuote
Posted : March 8, 2020 8:14 am
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Famed Member

@thornton

My original post expressed what I wanted to say. I’m completely comfortable with it as posted.

 

This post was modified 1 year ago 2 times by Moonshine
ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : March 8, 2020 10:46 am
Dave B - L.C. Smith Man
(@dave-buehner)
Famed Member

Moonshine,

   First I have to commend you on starting a decent thread.  

In reality there is no way to really compare American hunting and UK driven bird shoots.  Most American wild bird hunting is similar to UK walk up Grouse hunting in the heather however.  Even your Plantation Quail shooting is not really wild bird hunting, although some places make released Quail hunting very interesting and some what challenging, it is by no means wild bird hunting.  Having helped run a private non commercial regulated shooting Grounds for more than a few years here in the states, I definitely know the difference.

Most of the dog work in UK driven shoots is simply retrieving, however hunting the scratch birds after the driven shoot, can be some what interesting and gives a good dog a decent work out.  Actual Means Quail and Grouse hunting here in the USA is a lot more challenging and our dogs do the actual hunting.  If you wanted to compare hunts, the walk up Grouse hunts in Scotland would be more like American Grouse and Wild Quail hunting.

Further only the wealthy Euro sportsman can afford to hunt in the UK, in the USA our middle class sportsman can afford to due most any upland type hunting they desire.  IMO in really there is no way to compare UK driven shoots and American upland hunting.

Dave B - Pine Creek Grouse Dog Trainers

 

The real Upland Shooting Life.

[img] [/img]

 

This post was modified 1 year ago 2 times by Dave B - L.C. Smith Man
ReplyQuote
Posted : March 8, 2020 4:01 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Famed Member

@dave-buehner

Certainly one can draw a comparison as I did. Comparing doesn’t mean anything more than that.

You can compare any two or more items such as apple pie and roast beef.

I was describing various aspects of each as they related or didn’t, for the edification of someone who asked, “How do they compare?”

I created my comparison; anyone can create his own. If they differ, it doesn’t mean either is better.

Let any American bird hunter or any UK driven shooter who is unfamiliar with the other’s efforts read my post and each will gain a better understanding of what the other does. It’s as simple as that.

So far, you and Thornton have critiqued WHAT I wrote and ignored the reason why I wrote it.

if that’s what suits you, fine, but it shows you missed the point in my post - “ I am doing this because I am often asked by folks what the differences are between these two types of bird shooting, nearly all of whom have not shot driven.”

 

This post was modified 1 year ago by Moonshine
ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : March 8, 2020 4:32 pm
Forest McVay
(@forest-mcvay)
Famed Member

Well, I did make note in comparing of the two with those being...1) numbers and bag, 2) the focus on a shooting challenge and 3) predictability of bird encounters. I find those elements of "P" here to most often be at odds with "D" there.

I agreed, a bit, with similarities regarding the preference for some folks to skirmish line to waiting guns. Not my cuppa but, it certainly exists.

I did...suggest..a more accurate comparison based upon an understanding of the wide reality of upland bird hunting in America rather than that based largely upon heresay.

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : March 8, 2020 4:48 pm
Dave B - L.C. Smith Man
(@dave-buehner)
Famed Member

Forest,

   I guess you can compare just about anything, however what I meant was there are few similarities in trying to compare our upland shooting life here in the USA and Euro type driven shoots.  The average sportsman in Great Britain and Scotland are not your middle income type sportsman like here in the USA.  Myself I have little interest in the driven shoots, however I do love walk up hunting in the Scott Heather behinds fantastic Gordon Grouse dog.  In fact hunting in Scotland, is how I came to appreciate beautiful Gordon dog.  Mr Stewart introduced me to some of the finest walk up Grouse hunting in the world on his estate in Scotland, using his incredible Gordon dogs.  I was so taken by the talent of the Black and Tan Setter dogs that I eventually acquired a couple of Springset Gordon Grouse dogs, to hunt with my Ryman Setters Grouse dogs.  I have to admit the Scott walk up hunting in the Heather, is much like our Pa forest Grouse hunting, because of the dogs, and their talents for setting Grouse up for gunning.

all the best,

Dave B - L.C. Smith Man

 

This post was modified 1 week ago by Dave B - L.C. Smith Man
ReplyQuote
Posted : April 3, 2021 9:32 pm
Further North
(@geoff-roznak)
Prominent Member
Posted by: @dave-buehner

Forest,

   I guess you can compare just about anything, however what I meant was there are few similarities in trying to compare our upland shooting life here in the USA and Euro type driven shoots.  The average sportsman in Great Britain and Scotland are not your middle income type sportsman like here in the USA.  Myself I have little interest in the driven shoots, however I do love walk up hunting in the Scott Heather behinds fantastic Gordon Grouse dog.  In fact hunting in Scotland, is how I came to appreciate beautiful Gordon dog.  Mr Stewart introduced me to some of the finest walk up Grouse hunting in the world on his estate in Scotland, using his incredible Gordon dogs.  I was so taken by the talent of the Black and Tan Setter dogs that I eventually acquired a couple of Springset Gordon Grouse dogs, to hunt with my Ryman Setters Grouse dogs.  I have to admit the Scott walk up hunting in the Heather, is much like our Pa forest Grouse hunting, because of the dogs, and their talents for setting Grouse up for gunning.

all the best,

Dave B - L.C. Smith Man

 

Wow...1 year, 3 weeks, 5 days to reply to a post.

That may be a record!  😉 

"Some people stand tall as great leaders because they elevate all the people around them, some seek to stand tall by pushing all around them down."

ReplyQuote
Posted : April 4, 2021 8:46 pm
Share: