gamekeepingGamekeepers and their profession are the unsung guardians of the countryside who ensure that the shooting industry and the British countryside thrive. The job has become more and more technical over the last century as gamekeepers now have to understand agricultural practices, veterinary medicines and annual budgets as well as interpret changing government policy.

There are plenty of useful resources and articles on Shooting UK that highlight the importance of gamekeeping but also can help guide and offer advice to those in the profession.

If there is anything you would like to see on the site email shootinguk@timeinc.com

Game shooting| Deer stalking| Gundog training| Gun reviews| Pest control | Current affairs

spaniels

Is this the best way of “dogging-in?”

Dogging-in means using a dog to push straying pheasants from the boundaries of a shoot back into the middle. This time of year the 
majority of keepers face 
this seemingly never-ending and infuriating task. Time-consuming and impossible without a dog The art of pushing wandering poults back to the 
more…

How to keep your pheasants close to home

As birds mature, they start to wander. Not necessarily because there is something badly wrong with where they are, nor because they are looking for something particular that their release wood can’t provide, but more because it is part of the natural maturing process of most wild things, pheasants and…

Scottish keepers restore wild grey partridges

Wild grey partridges have been returned to the Tomatin moors in Inverness-shire thanks to local gamekeepers and some unusual help from bantam chickens. Wild greys had not been seen on the moor since the late 1990s, but in 2011 the team at Clune estate set out to bring them back.…

gamekeeper

Gamekeepers old and new rewarded for their work

Trainee keeper Jack Depledge from North Yorkshire has won this year’s National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy. The award, which is sponsored by Musto, is given to the best full or part-time gamekeeping student or apprentice of the academic year and is named for the late Frank Jenkins,…

Scottish gamekeepers back new Lyme disease measures

The Scottish Parliament is considering improvements to testing and treatment for Lyme disease, thanks to a petition supported by gamekeepers and grouse moor managers. The Tick-borne Illness Campaign Scotland seeks to limit the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. It calls for medical professionals in Scotland to be…

Michael Gove

DEFRA boss Michael Gove praises shooters

Environment secretary Michael Gove has once again celebrated the role that game shooting and land management plays in preserving the countryside. Mr Gove addressed an audience at last month’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Game and Wildlife Conservation, in a meeting chaired by esteemed countryman Sir Nicholas Soames. Importance of…

Moorland management

Grouse shooting: 12 facts you need to know about the Glorious 12th

1. It’s all thanks to the train Grouse shooting got going when the Victorians built railways that made it easier to get up onto the moors, back in the mid-19th century. Suddenly you could travel relatively comfortably with all your equipment and your gundogs. Around the same time, the breech-loading…

Breeding season for pheasants

Lowland birds breeding well

Gamekeepers across the UK are reporting strong broods and quality eggs, despite a period of bad weather, with the breeding season under way. Persistent rain has been an issue, but warm weather followed soon after, preventing too much damage to stocks. Stuart Maughan, headkeeper on the Whitfield estate in Northumberland,…

Scotland ends tail docking ban

The Scottish Government this week voted in favour of allowing vets to shorten the tails of spaniels and hunt, point, retrievers (HPR) if they will be used as working dogs. Legislation was laid in May, with environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham pledging to introduce a bill to drop the existing ban…

Gamekeepers rewarded for community effort

Gamekeepers who helped villages in Royal Deeside to recover from devastating flooding have been recognised for their community effort with a major award. Around 70 estate workers and gamekeepers from the Grampian Moorland Group teamed up with South Grampian Wildfire Group to remove debris from the river Dee at Ballater…

Vinnie Jones

Vinnie Jones: “The best times of my life have been working as a gamekeeper …”

Film star and devoted countryman Vinnie Jones was a guest speaker at the final Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust (GWT) Gamekeeping for Life conference earlier this month. The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star, and former professional footballer, spoke of his passion for gamekeeping and rural life and how he devotes most of…

Female keeper out in field

Meet Jude Ward – our new keeper columnist

A Cornish girl born and bred, 
I have always had a passion for the outdoor life and animals. My early years were spent helping on the family farm, charging around on my Dartmoor pony, Sherbie. I am one of that rare breed, a female keeper, and have been keepering for…

Gun and gamekeeper

How Guns can earn a gamekeeper’s respect

Another season is over and I have no complaints at all. The abundance of wild food sent shivers down many a gamekeeper’s spine in early autumn; food intake was low, birds were simply not seen and it is always difficult to fathom out how thousands of pheasants remain hidden, but…

Liam Bell keeper

An interview with Liam Bell, chairman of the NGO

What did you do before becoming a keeper? I went to school! I never really wanted to do anything else. I remember my father, who was a chemical engineer, saying I’d make a good gamekeeper when I was 10 or 11 years old. I found out what one did and was hooked. It sounded like a…

keeper's day

Keeping everyone happy on keeper’s day

As the season draws to a close, talk among the beaters and pickers-up is of the end-of-season keeper’s days. For many gamekeepers, it is the only day of the year they get to shoot pheasants. Indeed, for some of them it might be the only day of the year they get to go shooting at all. There…

League Against Cruel Sports claims shooting industry to blame for bird flu outbreak

Eduardo Goncalves, LACS chief executive, said the outbreaks were “inevitable” because “the number of birds used by the shooting industry each year is a disaster waiting to happen. More pheasants and partridges are bred to be shot each year than the combined number of turkeys and duck killed for the table, but…

Game bird

What makes a game bird fly well on shoot days?

What makes our game birds fly well one day only to perform poorly the next? No one wants low birds that present little challenge and result in an inedible carcass along with a feeling of ‘really, what is the point?’ At the opposite end of the scale, the cruelty of excessive-range shooting is not only unacceptable but leaves a similar…

How to be an ideal beater

How to be an ideal beater

  The ideal beater Nothing makes my job easier than a good team of reliable beaters and picker-ups. In any beating team there is normally a core that know the ground better and work that bit extra to make the day a good one. Most of my beaters are locals, many seem to have been here…