Headkeeper on Arden shoot, Hawnby
Robert Easton is headkeeper on a spectacular estate in a beautiful part of the country.
Q: Why did you become a gamekeeper?
A: Growing up on the family farm drew me towards the outdoors. With such a passion for country sports, there was only one direction I could go.
Q: Did anyone inspire you to become a gamekeeper?
A: My grandfather had a huge influence on my love for the countryside. We often went ferreting, shooting or be out on the moors together at any given opportunity.
Q: Do you have a motto as a gamekeeper?
A: Living the dream!
Q: What do you love about this job the most?
A: I love seeing the pheasants mature during the release season and eventually provide great sport for some fantastic and appreciative teams of Guns. I also love being so close to, and having such a physical impact on, wildlife around the estate.
Q: Do you think there is a future for gamekeepers and shooting?
A: There will always be a future for gamekeepers, but our roles must evolve and adapt to the changing times.
Q: What would you say to encourage the next generation to think about gamekeeping as a career?
A: It’s a fantastic role that requires huge responsibility for the management of so many different aspects of the countryside. From planting wildlife management crops to controlling vermin and having an input in the forestry management, all this is part of the job.
Q: What does the job involve that people might not know about at all?
A: Gamekeeping involves some very long hours and hard work at regular intervals throughout the season. It can be very solitary work, too.
Q: Do you have any red-listed or unusual wildlife on your shoot?
A: We have a wide array of birds of prey and waders such as lapwing, curlew, and golden plover. We also regularly see kingfishers, barn owls and a lesser spotted woodpeckers.
Q: What’s your greatest achievement? What are you proud of the most?
A: My greatest achievement was reaching my current position as headkeeper on a spectacular estate in a beautiful part of the country.
Q: What charity initiatives do you run (e.g. white pheasant fine)?
A: This year we have supported the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and some other charities by donating one drive to the Yorkshire High Four day. It was sold at an auction.
Q: What is your most essential piece of kit?
A: My Canam Traxter and my working spaniels.
Q: What dogs do you have? What do you love about them most?
A: I have six cocker spaniels and two terriers. I love their desire to please and the hard work they put in every day.
Q: How much involvement have you had with the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust and how have they helped you?
A: We have held courses in the gun room for the GWT and have regular contact with them. We offer our support wherever we can as they are an asset to our industry and should be supported as much as possible.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I enjoy deer management and stalking. I also enjoy clay shooting and a day out with the family.