What does a gamekeeper do?
Work varies according to the season, but your main tasks would include:
- planning and organising shoots and fishing parties
- hiring and supervising staff such as beaters to flush out birds during shoots
- keeping records of what is shot or caught and arranging the sale of game
- training gun dogs and working with them
- breeding game birds for release into the wild
- controlling predators such as foxes, crows and rats by shooting and trapping
- protecting game from poachers by patrolling the beat area at night
- repairing equipment, buildings and game pens and cleaning guns
- clearing woodland and burning heather
- working with the police to deal with crime such as badger digging and hare coursing
You may also be responsible for developing plans for managing the game and habitat on an estate. Depending on the size of the estate, you may need to complete shoot-related paperwork.
What do I need to do to become a gamekeeper?
There's no set route, but you usually start your career as a gamekeeper by working as an assistant or under-keeper, alongside an experienced keeper. You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship scheme.
Experience of working outdoors and knowledge of the countryside would be useful. It could help you to find employment if you have paid or voluntary experience of working as part of a beating team, or in a related jobs such as forestry or farming. Practical skills such as carpentry would also be useful.
You need a driving licence for most jobs.
- Level 2 Certificate in Countryside and Environment
- Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Countryside Management
- Apprenticeship in Game and Wildlife Management