About Driven Bird Hunt
The modern driven bird hunt traces its heritage to royal ‘shoots’ in Europe of the XVII-XVIII century. The hunters (or ‘guns’ in British lingo) stand in line, while the drivers (‘beaters’) walk towards them, making the birds fly over the shooting line. Driven hunts are usually associated with high densities of game and a lot of shooting - often, the hunters are assisted by ‘loaders’ who help them reload shotguns, and in Europe many shoot pairs of identical shotgun, one being reloaded while the hunter shoots the other. The most common quarry is the pheasant, the grey and red-legged partridge, and the red grouse, but almost every bird can be harvested in a driven hunt. Often, the birds are ‘pen-raised’, that is, artificially reared and released into the hunting grounds before the hunt. However, most many driven hunts are done on wild free-ranging birds, too. In any case, even the expert hunters can’t usually tell whether the pheasants they shoot at a driven hunt are wild or pen-raised. Driven bird hunts are usually associated with Great Britain, but other European countries such as Hungary, Austria, and especially Spain with its legendary partridge shoots, offer fantastic opportunities as well. You can have a decent bird hunt in other places, too, including some exotic birds like francolin, guineafowl, doves and pigeons in Africa. A driven bird hunt is a far greater challenge than some critics would have you believe. Suffice it to say that even the best shots, who can regularly break 23-25 out of 25 at the Sporting Clays range, think they are doing well if they can show one bird for three rounds spent. This refers mostly to the British and Continental ‘shoots’, where the organizers do their best to make sure the birds are as difficult to hit as possible. In any case, shooting in presence of other hunters gives an additional strain to one’s nerves. But, while a lot of ammunition may be wasted, the birds won’t be - as a rule, the game is carefully collected and sold to game markets and restaurants.
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