In this website, we will give you vital information about the profession and what it means to be a responsible and modern gamekeeper in the UK.
What is gamekeeping
Gamekeeping is a modern profession in the UK. Contrary to what you may believe, this is not a career that simply makes sport of killing wildlife. More than anything, this career is all about land management. They look after fields, hedgerows and woods – and all the wildlife thriving in it. In most cases, gamekeepers protect the land from immediate poachers and make sure that hares, pheasants, deer, partridges and grouse are able to thrive in their respective habitats in the countryside. The skills of a gamekeeper (practical, organisational, and observational skills) plays an important role in shaping and conserving the UK countryside – both the uplands and lowlands.
This is a profession with specific codes and practices that are patterned according to the national standards of the country. The Gamekeeping Vocation Qualification is a necessary step for anyone who want to be a licensed gamekeeper. In most cases, employed gamekeepers are required to complete land based management degrees that include the basic skills and training for the profession.
Gamekeeping is typically a family occupation. Modern gamekeepers usually have other members of the family who are in the same career. In fact, they are probably working as a team. A lot of the gamekeepers got their skills from relatives who practised the same profession. The skills, training, and know-how are passed down from one generation to the other. However, an emerging number of young gamekeepers also got their training from land based management degrees that include the basic skills and training for the profession.
The role of gamekeepers
A gamekeeper is reminiscent of the Victorian era. In the past, gamekeepers are viewed as a destroyer of wildlife. They are heartless shooters who kill animals for fun.
That is further from the truth for modern gamekeepers.
Gamekeepers are responsible for a balanced environment. They ensure that game birds and their nests are protection from crows and rats while hares can run freely in the field without being harmed by foxes. They have to make sure there is enough game in the land for sport shooting. After all, this is how they earn from their profession.
Among the specific responsibilities of gamekeepers include the following:
- Organisation of fishing parties and shooting expeditions.
- Recruitment and supervision of staff (e.g. beaters).
- Record keeping of animals that are shot or caught.
- Arrangement of the sale of every game.
- Training of gun dogs and working with them.
- Breeding of game birds for sport shooting.
- Protection of game from predators and poachers.
- Repair or replacement of equipment, game pens, buildings, and guns.
- Cooperation with police when dealing with crimes (land and animal-related).
- Basic knowledge and application of veterinary medicine.
- Basic agricultural practice.
The gamekeeping industry plays an important role in conserving the countryside and making sure that the wildlife is managed and protected. To date, there are 5,000 gamekeepers in the UK. Combined, gamekeepers cover more of the countryside compared to the nature reserves and National Parks.
Find out more about the gamekeeping industry and what it takes to become a gamekeeper in the UK.