Hi, thanks for the reply, I was starting to think I had said something that had upset you all!
Well, where do I start, over here in the UK we have a tradition of bird shooting going back since the shotgun was invented, and its popularity peaked during the reign of Queen Victoria, which was then a pastime only of the very wealthy. Times have changed however, and although driven shooting (birds driven over the shooters) still is quite expensive, it is not out of the reach for everyday working men and women. Bird shooting over dogs is still practised, by all the classes, grouse being the most expensive, whilst pheasants and partridge can be aquired quite cheaply. I have worked on estates that have produced bags of 4000 pheasants in one day, which is a sight to see, where gun barrels become too hot to hold, and have also worked on grouse moors, which is the pinnacle of driven game shooting over here because of the speed and agilty of the target. I have met many guns from the states who often book year after year for their grouse shooting, including some quite prominant figures.
My favourite type of shooting is when I and two or three friends shoot over cocker and springer spaniels which flush the birds from hedgerows and bracken beds, to see the dogs work is a good as the shooting. We someimes may use pointers, depending on the habitat, and labradors are more or less used for retriveing only.
Many shooting estates have woodland that was planted hundreds of years ago specifically for pheasant shooting, taking into account which way the birds will be driven to produce testing targets.
It is all big buisness over here, with around 3500 full time gamekeepers employed, although that sounds a lot, we are a very small country, with diminishing countryside because of urban sprawl, most of the population reside in towns or cities and have none or little education into the realities of managing wildlife and habitats. Because of this we are constanly under pressure, with tighter gun laws and restrictions on wildlife management, but as we all know, times moves on, and so we must with it. One thing does not change however, we still wear victorian style tweed for shoot days, with many estates having their own style cloth woven for their gamekeepers, this is because of the desire to acknowledge the tradition, as well as enjoy the sport.