While Foster moves quickly to start his hunt, he doesn’t immediately start walking a field. First, he positions wingmen on each flank—80 to 100 yards on either side, and slightly in front of the drivers— in order to corral running roosters. The formation looks like a V. If he has a big enough group, he’ll also position blockers at the far end of the field. Those blockers are in place before the drivers begin to work the field.
“The wingmen are incredibly important because they keep the birds hemmed in if they are breaking out ahead,” explains Foster. “Sometimes they can even keep them from breaking out. You are basically herding birds.”
If you don’t have blockers, then the drivers should work the field toward a pinch point. For example: If you have a triangular field, then the V should taper toward the point of the triangle.
If the birds flush out ahead instead of holding tight for the drivers, then the wingmen should be in position to shoot. Toward the end of the drive, the wingmen also become blockers by closing off the last escape routes. Foster notes that the wingmen should also be your most mobile hunters, so they can adapt to running birds by pushing farther out ahead if needed.
Foster stresses that it’s important to mark and recover downed birds quickly in order to keep the line of drivers moving, thereby keeping pressure on the birds.