What Does It Take To Become A Gamekeeper?
In the UK today, there are in the region of 5,000 gamekeepers employed on a full time basis and these individuals play an important role in shaping the British countryside, through their sympathetic land management.
The Modern Gamekeeper
Traditionally, game keeping was an occupation that passed down from father to son, allowing tried and tested skills and techniques to survive for generations. Many gamekeepers in the UK have followed in the footsteps of their fathers, keeping these important skills alive.
The role of today’s gamekeeper has expanded considerably over the years and those wishing to enter this profession nowadays must keep in line with the agreed national standards and codes of practice relating to their activities.
The original role of a gamekeeper was primarily to protect herds of deer in the medieval royal hunting forests. However, the modern role encompasses a variety of important tasks, including:
- The management of habitat
- The rearing of game for shoots
- Pest and predator control
- Deer management
- Crime prevention
A Modern Approach
Supporting wildlife is a crucial aspect of the gamekeepers role, and in the process of setting aside and protecting diverse habitats and environments for each species to thrive successfully, gamekeepers are actively contributing to the conservation of a number of rare and vulnerable species.
Shooting Has A Positive Impact On The Rural Economy
The large quantity of revenue generated by shoots is essential for the survival of many large estates throughout the UK and this revenue provides a significant boost to the rural economy in the process.
Although this activity creates a degree of controversy, its absence would have a devastating impact on the British countryside. Without the maintenance and development of so many diverse habitats in our woodland, waterways, and moorlands on the properties of the estates and beyond, many of the vulnerable mammals, birds, insects and plants that are currently being supported by our gamekeepers would slowly, but surely disappear.
Are You Passionate About The Health Of Our Countryside?
Becoming a gamekeeper is an excellent career path for anyone who is passionate about the health of our British countryside and without a doubt; it can be an incredibly rewarding occupation.
There are several routes into this profession. These days, numerous colleges offer Diplomas, National Diplomas and NVQ courses and land based management degrees, which include gamekeeping. Some paths are more academic, whilst others are more practical so it is important to explore your options for a course that suits you best.
With an NVQ course, the majority of learning is achieved through hands on experience on the job, with just a small percentage of your time spent studying in an educational setting to obtain your gamekeeping qualification. An apprenticeship in gamekeeping is another possibility, enabling you to achieve a qualification through learning ‘on the job’ as it were!
Becoming A Gamekeeper In Later Life
Those who are interested in turning to a career in gamekeeping in later life may have gathered a whole host of relevant skills and experience that enables them to enter the profession via a different route. With the right background and combination of skills, it may be possible to find employment as a part time gamekeeper on a small estate and gradually progress into a full time position.
The hours are often long and the role is tough, however for the right individual, gamekeeping is a rewarding career path and you will never look back!