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Gamekeepers manage countryside used for shooting and fishing.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £20,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but employers may ask for experience of working outdoors and knowledge of the countryside.

You’ll usually start as an assistant or under-keeper.

Paid or unpaid work experience as part of a beating team, or in related work like forestry or farming, will be useful.  

An environmental or countryside management course may also be helpful.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You’ll need a driving licence for most jobs, and a firearms certificate or shotgun certificate for some jobs.

The Conservation Volunteers, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts and National Parks have more information on volunteering and becoming a gamekeeper.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • practical skills
  • observational skills
  • organisational skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll make sure there’s enough game like deer, and birds like pheasant, partridge and grouse for clients to shoot.

As a keeper managing rivers and streams for trout and salmon fishing you'll be known as a river keeper or ghillie.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • planning and organising shoots and fishing parties
  • hiring and supervising staff like beaters, to flush out birds during shoots
  • keeping records of what’s shot or caught and arranging the sale of game
  • training and working with gun dogs breeding game birds for release 
  • protecting game from poachers and predators
  • repairing equipment, buildings and game pens and cleaning guns
  • clearing woodland and burning heather
  • working with the police to deal with crimes like badger digging and hare coursing

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000

Experienced: £20,000 or more

Employers often provide free or subsidised accommodation and a vehicle.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may work long, often irregular hours, usually with early starts, late finishes and weekend work. Your hours will depend on the season and the work that needed doing. 

You’ll work in the countryside, often in isolated areas, and spend most of your time outdoors in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to head keeper.

You could also become self-employed by renting the shooting rights to land, or work as a contractor.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018