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Thread: Keepering, the old values?

  1. #1

    Keepering, the old values?

    As a trainee in the 60's and even before the keepering values were taught as part of the training.
    You were not a member of the working classes, You were a gentleman's gentleman on par with the butler one inside one outside. To the laird you always touched your cap when you greeted him. Never entered conversation unless directly invited, never stood or stayed in their company but always at a respectful distance. I am sure many on here can add to the list. No matter how good a keeper without the manners your work choises would greatly deminish.
    In todays world of syndicates and everybody's equal does the subservient attitude still hold true,

  2. #2
    No and just because you have money does't make you better than anyone else. I don't think the "good old days" were that fantastic, people with money thinking they are a cut above the rest. Its never the arrogant up themselves landowner that gets my respect but the country gentleman who cares about your thoughts and views, someone who offer's their hand in friendship first, who gives you respect for the work you do and the knowledge you have gained from the many hours out in all conditions learning from the wildlife around you.

    On saying all that a lot of the old landowner's that I've had the pleasure to have met were nothing but gentlemen. Maybe its that thing called new money!

    Rant over tin hat on!

  3. #3
    I to was brought into the world of keepering were there manners. I helped my uncle out on a very large estate where you did not speak until you were brought into the conversation and every one was to be called sir unless told other wise. There was a lot of respect for the guns and the values of the shoot. The Game was also treated respectfully. Unfortunately these values have gone down hill on some of the shoots I have been on not just from the keepers or beaters but also the guns. I hate to see guns carrying birds back to the gun bus especially when they are carrying them by there legs like chickens or standing talking to there mate while plucking the bird they are holding. I have also seen a gun ask another gun weather he should shoot the bird again whilst it was flapping on the floor. On the shoot I keeper its a little different all farmers no lords or lady's although I still want the beaters to address them properly and be polite. I also always ask the beaters to take birds from the gun if they see them carrying them and hang them up on the game cart so they don't get kicked around the gun bus. Im lucky to have a few beaters with the same values as me and the others im educating some will never get the Idea. I personally don't think you should be in a shooting field if you can not humanely dispatch a wounded bird when found but im afraid there are people out there that don't. The manners I was taught are slowly diminishing from the shooting field most of the time by up and coming money boys who have never worked there way up in the field just gone out bought a gun because that's the scene to be seen in. I think the old days are long gone all you can ask for is that they are safe shots. I think you are quite righ cougar if you are respected you give just a litle more respect back. Im very luck for the fact the people I keeper for could not be any nicer people and they get my respect and the beaters

  4. #4
    Cougar, the keeper is paid to provide a service. The servant attitude is part of the service. There is and always should be a pecking order at a shoot. As you put it the landed gentry are usually true gentlemen. Many a keeper is in other employment because he forgot that fact. It embarrasses the laird/shoot captain when a keeper acts out of turn. The gentlemen came to enjoy a shoot and the lairds company, not the keepers. In a bar do you get annoyed when the bartender/waiter loiters at your table butting into the conversation? The keepers job is to present the birds, run the shoot and beaters line, and be as efficient and invisable as possible. That is the keeper that will go on to head the big estates.
    And by breeding and education as well as lifestyle the landed gentry is different to us and always will be. It is not having money it is the way you handle it that sets them apart. They are true gentlemen as long as you treat them with the respect that comes with the territory. Jim

  5. #5
    I agree Jim but we are all people at the end of the day, money doesn't make you any better than the next person. I never said anything about a keeper acting out of turn or butting into a conversation. I grew up on privet estates and know all to well the working of them. Just because you have money doesn't automatically earn you respect.


  6. #6
    I teach my student gamekeepers that they are providing a service and a great deal of this service is the theatrical element of shooting. Many guns want the old-time charm of a keeper doffing his cap, so that is part of the service. Of course they are also taught that issues such as safety take precedent over everything else so they must not be afraid to speak frankly with a landowner/paying guest when the situation demands it. They also need to know when a guest does not want the gamekeeper/gun divide and would actually rather the keepers and beaters pitched in with the banter, but they must never presume this is the case. Luckily working on our college shoot, operating as gamekeepers for a huge range of paying guests, they get a chance to develop these skills.

  7. #7
    Good manners is the order of the day, deference due to position or wealth is a thing of the past, but good manners and decent behaviour makes every situation or interaction much better.

    One day I want to be as wonderful as my dogs think i am .....

  8. #8
    Well said neil_r good manners from all sides costs nowt when Im beating I offer to carry birds etc and expect the same from others when Shooting.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    We have a keeping extreme on a shoot where i normally beat. He acts and talks like HE owns the place, has nill comunication skills. Spends the whole day F-ing, B-ing and C-ing to the beaters (women and children present, or even the target) and guns at the top of his voice and over the radios. Leaves corpses of all sorts strewn around the shoot including Deer for which he uses an illegal calibre. Just an extreme example, he's gone from having 20 beaters a day to a handfull.

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