A gamekeeper’s life can be rewarding, hard, stressful, and sometimes very testing, probably in equal measure, as BASC executive director of shooting and operations Steve Bloomfield reveals.
At every stage, family are there to lend a hand and in many ways are essential to the success of the shoot. They share the highs and the lows and are there to offer support where and when needed. So, it’s no surprise that during difficult times the whole family suffers.
On the back of two difficult pandemic years, and the resulting reduction in shooting, it has been on the more testing and stressful end of the scale as shoots have no doubt wrestled with viability issues and keepers’ jobs have been on the line. Imagine having to worry about losing your job but with the added potential of losing your home with it. How do you have that conversation with your family?
We now face one of the most challenging periods in recent years as we move into the 2022/23 season. The situation caused by the Avian Influenza has decimated the ability for many shoots to release game this season.
This is not a difficult season; it is a devastating season, and we face the prospect of shoot closures and the loss of gamekeepers’ jobs.
Thankfully, help is available. The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust stands ready to assist wherever it can. It is a small charity that punches way above its weight and has been a lifeline to keepers in the past. But it needs our help, and it needs it now.
There are several fundraising initiatives up and down the country to help bolster the trust’s coffers so that support can be given when needed.
When you put away your game gun for the season and thoughts move to summer holidays, fishing and stalking, please give some thought to the families who will be starting the hard graft to give you the next season. We are all part of a family who, for generations, has shaped the finest game shooting in the world, worked hard for it and enjoyed it. Please help – as family would – by supporting the GWT.
On Saturday 11 June at the West Wycombe estate, BASC is sponsoring the GWT charity shoot for the prestigious Hugh van Cutsem challenge cup, run by EJ Churchill.
The shoot takes place over the estate, covering six challenging simulated game drives, and includes breakfast, elevenses in the field, and a wonderful lunch and champagne reception followed by a sporting auction.
The winning team takes the cup and there will be other prizes for the first three teams. All funds raised will go directly to the GWT.
So please, if you can, join us and help us raise vital funds for the GWT. If there was ever a year when you really could help – this is it. Please step up.
For further information and to register, contact Sandra Forkin on 07970 226 832 or send us an email here.