DIY Shoot/Gamekeeping Diary

Are you new to gamekeeping or run a DIY shoot? This diary could be the resource you’ve been looking for. The handy top tips and monthly to-do lists will help small DIY shoots and keepers plan their year and prepare for the season.

For further advice, or to discuss any of the points above, please contact your BASC regional office.

February is all about planning. Despite the end of the season, it’s a very busy month for shoot management. Last season was difficult for many, and with Covid restrictions still in place usual plans may need to be adapted or altered.

Top tips

  • Continue feeding across the shoot well into the end of April/May.
  • Take a quick trip around your shoot with your notepad and make a list of those jobs.

On your shoot jobs

  •  Collect feeders and equipment not in use to ensure the shoot is tidy.

  • This early planning also allows you to discuss the placement of cover crops for next season with the farmer.

  • Ensure your lease is up to date and in place for next season.

  • Ensure consent is in place on areas that require it.

  • Top off some of the remaining cover crops in sections or flatten them to provide additional feed for the remaining birds.

  • Increase the amount of pest and predator control across the shoot to ensure wild birds have the best chance of breeding.

  • Now would be a good time to also have an annual syndicate meeting, perhaps virtually, to discuss scenario planning and potential covid restrictions in the coming year.

  • Look at any woodland or habitat improvements that could be made before the nesting season begins.

For any further advice, or to discuss any of the points above, please contact your BASC regional office.

March is often the time for keepers to take some time for themselves and the family. While many jobs remain important, it is a more suitable time to wind down a little and maybe even squeeze a holiday in – if you are allowed to!

Top tips

  • Continue feeding across the shoot well into the end of April/May.
  • Get all the shoot’s equipment and vehicles serviced and checked over.

On your shoot jobs

  • Continue any woodland, and other habitats management, before nesting season.

  • Liaise with your game cover supplier to ensure ground is managed correctly to give the plants the best chance of getting established.

  • Any cover crops will need to be worked down in preparation for drilling. Consider crops which will benefit not only the released birds but all the other wildlife in the area.

  • Order birds from supplier. Game suppliers may require a deposit up front so ensure the shoot has finances available.

  • Contact your game bird vet to ensure you’re still registered with them and advise them of the plan for the year ahead.

  •  Continue pest and predator control.

  • Remember to renew the shoot insurances.

For any further advice, or to discuss any of the points above, please contact your BASC regional office.

Although April is a relatively quiet month for jobs on your shoot, perhaps members could consider how they can demonstrate what the shoot brings to the area in terms of environmental benefits?

Record keeping will not only benefit the shoot but also help demonstrate biodiversity net gains to a wider audience. Have a look at our Green Shoots Mapping programme.

Top tips

On your shoot jobs

  • This time of year corvids are pairing up and becoming territorial, so keep an eye out for nest sites and opportunities to get on top of them.
    • Continue feeding across the shoot well into the end of April/May
    • Inspecting the condition of any release pens and planning as to whether they need repairing or replacing.
    • As the ground starts to warm up now is the time to be making those final preparations for cover crops
    • Draw up a work schedule for the syndicate and those involved for the coming months.
    • Get the syndicate together perhaps virtually to discuss final decision making for the season ahead in light of the potential Covid-19 restrictions in the coming year.

For any further advice, or to discuss any of the points above, please contact your BASC regional office.

Presenting driven pheasant over the guns for best results

Countryside workshops

Mapping your shooting, recording your bag and wildlife with BASC's Green Shoots Mapping