One of the less obvious skills associated with gamekeeping is the ability to drive all kinds of vehicles to complete the day-to-day tasks of the job. It is therefore not uncommon for them to be expected to operate 4x4s, pick-up trucks or ATVs when working on estates.
The work of a gamekeeper comes with a lot of responsibilities and another one is needing to ensure the vehicles they are operating are suitable for service on the roads, fields and tracks they are traversing. Especially, if they are responsible for the service and maintenance of vehicles that are needed to work all-year-round.
Having the right fleet of vehicles is one thing for an estate, fitting the wrong tyres will result in either getting bogged down in the mud and getting stuck or slipping on wet grass – which not only is embarrassing but could be dangerous. It’s important to recognise that even a 4×4 will fail to perform if the tyres are not up to the job and they risk damaging the ground they are working on when the wrong patterns/sizes are being used.
For gamekeepers, choosing the right type of tread pattern for the terrain ensures they get the best possible grip. The options are a road, all-terrain or a mud-terrain pattern. So, whether they spend all their time driving on the road or the majority off-road, General Tire’s Grabber GT Plus, Grabber AT3 (all-terrain) and the Grabber X3 (mud-terrain) will offer your vehicle the best performance and grip for the condition of service.
Paul Childerley is the gamekeeper at the 2,000-acre Beckerings Park in Bedfordshire and operates a pick-up truck for his work. He needs his vehicle to be reliable both on the road, as well as off-road around the estate.
Paul has said: “The estate has both many tarmac and dirt tracks, fields, woodlands and ponds that I need to drive through for various aspects of my job. As I spend 50% of my time driving off-road as well as on road, the Grabber AT3s are the best of both worlds. The tyres are reliable and safe when towing trailers, especially loaded with equipment, feed, and guns and beaters on a shoot day.
“It’s important to take care when driving around the estate and to not cause unnecessary damage to the environment, which is why I have chosen the AT3 for my vehicle as they provide the grip I need. The tyres get me through the shooting season and when I work to maintain the estate all-year-round.”
Caring for the environment
To minimise ground damage and protect the natural environment, the importance on selecting the right tyre pattern is vital. All-terrain tyres are the perfect compromise that offers gamekeepers a combination of off-road grip and on-road performance.
Dave Dineen, 4×4 and SUV tyre specialist says: “The average 4×4 spends most of its time on the road. Vehicle manufacturers tends to fit a road going pattern to the vehicle to comply with EU regulations for noise, wet grip and fuel consumption. This is great for road going vehicles but when 4×4 and pick-up trucks are purchased for work off-road, the road bias tyres supplied from new may not be sufficient.”
“Gamekeepers’ vehicles are probably used just as much for off-road driving if not more than on-road and towing trailers, which are frequently fully loaded. Therefore, the standard road going tyres will struggle to grip and possibly slip and slide causing unnecessary damage to the land which will magnify if the soil is heavily waterlogged. In this event, tyre choice is essential for so many different reasons and it can be a mine field as there are so many brands and patterns out there to choose from – experts at tyre retailers being an important source of product/technical knowledge.”
“If you consider how farmers change their tractor tyres for the conditions of service, Gamekeepers with 4×4 vehicles are no different.”
BASC members can get 10% off the RRP on General Tire’s 4×4 and SUV range in March and April. For more information and details of the T&Cs, visit this offer section on the BASC website.