Today, there are some 5,000 full-time gamekeepers employed in the UK. In addition, there are many who spend their leisure time and money, rearing game and maintaining habitats on their own small shoots.

A gamekeeper can be professional or amateur but their role is the same, to look after and encourage the game population on a shoot. They may do this by protecting wild stock and enhancing its breeding potential or by rearing and releasing game birds.

Gamekeepers are responsible for the husbandry of both reared and wild game for sporting shooting, they are also land managers. Their skills play an important part in shaping the countryside in both upland and lowland areas.

It is necessary to create a suitable environment for a healthy game population. The gamekeeper achieves this by working alongside the landowner, farmer, shoot manager and sometimes external governing agencies to improve and create habitats on the shoot. These provide food, nesting cover and shelter for gamebirds.

Good habitat for game also provides good habitat for a whole range of other wildlife. A keepered environment can sustain a greater and more varied wildlife community than one which is not keepered. The reason for this isn’t just the habitat management but also the control of pest and predators. The gamekeeper makes a valuable contribution to the conservation of the countryside and to biodiversity.

On a shoot where there are not sufficient numbers of wild game to provide a shootable surplus, then it is the gamekeeper’s job to rear and release game to supplement the population.

The gamekeeper is responsible for the day-to-day management and safe running of the shoot. He works closely with the shoot owner or manager to ensure that the shoot day runs smoothly. This could include organising and planning the drives, coordinating the Guns, beaters and pickers-up and checking the arrangements for the storing and sale of the shot game.

Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust STAG Training Course

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