Game keeping

norma 308

Well-Known Member
My son did the fishery management at Sparsholt great place great staff
Sadly he didn’t get a job in the industry but still loves his fishing
I didn’t go to gamekeeping college and finally realised my dream at 30 all but part time which I’ve done for 20 yrs along with a job that I’ve enjoyed and has paid my bills
Would I go into Keepering now I really don’t know large estates have not nearly as many keepers as the used to , the art is slowly slipping away sad as it is but follow your dream if he wants it bad enough go for it !
 

bogtrotter

Well-Known Member
The future does not look good for the shooting world but my father wanted me to forget keepering though all he had ever wanted to be himself was a keeper , however ignored him and went in to keepering never regretted it
Yes its a lifestyle choice and he wages are not fantastic but there are other benefits, my own kids were not interested in following in my footsteps but my Grandson was he went to Elmwood college for a year then the Borders college for two
years gaining an HNC he did one year on a Grouse moor before gaining his present position as a beat Keeper on a very
well known Scottish Grouse moor he has now been there for eight years.
As far as colleges are concerned I can't speak highly enough of the Borders everone of the lads who were there at the finish with my Grandson managed to obtain a position in the industry some dropped out during the course probably those who had an unrealistic idea of what the job entailed and some of those who did are no longer in the job
possibly for the same reason.
The job is definitely not for everyone as said the money is not great especially if you equate it to the hours worked but if
you are looking for a nine to five with weekends off and overtime then it is most definitely not for you.
Its a great way to live and personally I would say its the best job in the world, if thats where the lads heart is I would encourage him he will soon know if its really for him and at sixteen he has time to change his mind.
One final thought a lot of the posts have said he should forget it and get a trade, can I ask how many tradesmen you know who are still working at seventy or would want to?
I'am a soon to be a seventy one year old and still working in the industry (or was until Covid restrictions put a stop to it)
hopefully change in the New Year I am still working not because I have to but because I want to!
Boggy is still living the dream.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
1. Go to college and learn to be an electrician, plumber or something similar that is going to be able to keep the wolf from the door come what may. The percentage of people that take game keeping courses and have a full working life in that field (pun intended) is pretty darned small.

2. Get into keeping as a hobby. A small local shoot maybe, spend as much time there as possible, build it up and make it 10 times better. Take some courses in your spare time (quad bike, chainsaw, etc.). Get involved with a bigger shoot. Spend time there, make it 10 times better. Eventually, your reputation will go before you. Once you are known as someone who can do the business, you will find yourself in demand. Then you'll have a choice of whether to continue with your main job or go into keeping. My advice would be to keep your day job, which will likely still give you a steady income and if you are self-employed you can decide how much time you spend on that and how much on keeping.

3. With this method, you don't need a fantastic income, because you won't have the time to find a partner, get married or have kids.

Note: I've seen this work, but strangely, I take no responsibility for any advice given in this post. If it works for your son, brilliant. I ask no recompense, but would obviously not say no to a day on the pheasants if I am still able by that time (doubtful). ;)
 

hendrix's rifle

Well-Known Member
Reaseheath, in Cheshire.
Follow her story on Instagram @rhian_the_deer_girl
She's a member of this site too, so if your lad wants to drop her a PM for a bit of info I'm sure she'll respond. "Mouse" is the name she goes by on here.
Having been to reaseheath i can also back that one up. Myerscough is another cracking college, just get him to stay away from the equine women... they can cause a whole host of problems! :lol:
 

Kieranglen

Active Member
Iv been a time served joiner for 10 years, the summer before i left school i worked on a local estate just helping out, probably being a hindrance more so. My father was adamant that i wasnt going to be a keeper because the money was “poor” , my next door neighbour had his own joinery business and so my fate was sealed. 2 years in i was ready to quit had another job lined up to go drive tractors with a local contractor, was about to hand in my notice and it all fell through. Here i am 10 years later with a partner two kids and living in rented accommodation working 44 hours a week at a job i despise doing and have done for the last 10 years. A keeper might have a lesser wage in his bank every month but at the right job on the right estate he will want for nothing a house a motor allowance for dog food ect the list could go on with the perks and not to forget the tip money that will increase the wage slightly. People might say theres no future in keepering but their will always be a future in wildlife. If the lad is a hard worker and shows he is keen he will do well its the young boys that think they will get to drive about with a big rifle killing all day every day that dont last!
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
Plenty good advice but if ur in the game already u will already know it and have plenty of contacts so u both know exactly wot the score is.

I know everyone has mentioned trades, but normal building trades may not suit a real outdoor person.
Massive shortages of decent men doing all sorts of outside trades too fencing, digger work, agri draining, dry stone dyking, chainsaw and forestry work etc to name a few
Rates are getting better in most for decent men and many companies crying out for decent men or young 1s keen to learn and not scared to get hands dirty

My 1st job was a YT keeper, done block release at borders college but being honest the coarse was a complete joke. Just quite literally a box ticking exercise, but that was a long time ago.


I'd say there seems to be a bit more job security in the deer sector than in game/birds and decent estates/jobs are rarer now than they were.
And job security will be worse than it ever has been.
And even better keepers on good estates/bosses sometimes just pull the plug for no reason with no warning.
Some off these bigger commercial outfits treat there staff ( esp young staff) terribly. Heard of 1 young lad landing his 2nd job and it turned out all he ever done was tearing field then filled hoppers that was it and been in they job a few years.
Always mind the 1st time I went north for the grouse ( just beating/picking up) a new but experienced beat keeper on a big moor was told by shooting agent if a fox is seen on a shoot day automatic sacking offence.
His best had just been taken over and un keepered on 3 sides poor bugger hardly slept in the days before they shot his best as so easy for a fox to wander in

But like everyone says sometimes more important things than money, job satisfaction/enjoyment but u also need some security too.
Good luck with wot ever ur son decides.
 

Rhodesianjess

Well-Known Member
I would try and steer him away from keepering if it was my son. I have keepered professionally since 1986, serving four estates including where I am now.
The state of the shooting world now has changed and not for the better IMO.
I sit on the interview when underkeeper position comes up, the boss always relying on my input when choosing candidate s. I personally rarely choose anyone who has been through the college/university system. They have certificates for everything, from quad riding to gun handling to picking their nose! Practical experience nil. Sharing keepering job with dozen or so other kids on 1000 acres doesn't prepare them for the real thing. I've given them the chance,they generally fall by the wayside within a short time.
I've found a hardworking country kid from farming/ keepering background fares much better. Qualifications needed for insurance purposes can be tailored for them and taken on their block release in the classroom period.
I listen to young keepers talk and I'm stunned. When I helped with the silaging,corncart, lambing etc! Not keepering, they're dogs bodies! Not a lot of places incubate and rear now, just poults at 6/7 weeks. February to July they use them as labourers.
If he really is keen, try to get him as much time with your nearest professional gamekeeper as possible. If he's sharp he'll soon be put off by the incessant workload and the old boy's comments. Don't forget, you get 1 month to leave your home if the job folds. I know years served keepers this year that have been made redundant due to lockdown. Try getting a council house with half a dozen dogs!
I certainly wish him well,but I doubt very much that he will retire as a keeper, it's a dying job. At all cost,try to get him on to a private estate, commercial shoots really do not appreciate what you do for them. Unfortunately, rocking horse poo is just as easily found.
 

bogtrotter

Well-Known Member
Iv been a time served joiner for 10 years, the summer before i left school i worked on a local estate just helping out, probably being a hindrance more so. My father was adamant that i wasnt going to be a keeper because the money was “poor” , my next door neighbour had his own joinery business and so my fate was sealed. 2 years in i was ready to quit had another job lined up to go drive tractors with a local contractor, was about to hand in my notice and it all fell through. Here i am 10 years later with a partner two kids and living in rented accommodation working 44 hours a week at a job i despise doing and have done for the last 10 years. A keeper might have a lesser wage in his bank every month but at the right job on the right estate he will want for nothing a house a motor allowance for dog food ect the list could go on with the perks and not to forget the tip money that will increase the wage slightly. People might say theres no future in keepering but their will always be a future in wildlife. If the lad is a hard worker and shows he is keen he will do well its the young boys that think they will get to drive about with a big rifle killing all day every day that dont last!
Well said .
 

DamDama

Well-Known Member
Afternoon all ,
My son is keen to start a game keeping course next year (year 11 now .)
Looking at options Sparsholt or duchy ,
Does anyone have any views or knowledge on these colleges ?
He will have to live there so a big step for a 16 year old but a great opportunity.
Sparsholt is 2 hours away and duchy 1 hour .
Thanks
Tom
Tom
PM me your phone number I can give advice with regards your post. Per Mare Per Terram 😉😉
 

Top