SET FLANKERS

Outdoor Life - - HUNTING -

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.

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