Gamekeeper

river keeper ghillie stalker underkeeper beat keeper

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would take care of the land used for shooting and fishing. You’d organise recreational shooting, deer stalking and angling for clients.

You would make sure there is enough game such as deer, and birds like pheasant, partridge and grouse for clients to shoot. You would also make sure that rivers are well-stocked with fish for angling.

The tasks would vary according to the season, but you would:

  • Plan and organise shoots and fishing parties
  • Hire and supervise staff such as beaters to flush out birds during shoots
  • Keep records of what is shot or caught and arrange the sale of game
  • Train gun dogs and work with them
  • Breed game birds for release into the wild
  • Control predators such as foxes, crows and rats by shooting and trapping
  • Protect game from poachers by patrolling the beat area at night
  • Repair equipment, buildings and game pens and cleaning guns
  • Clear woodland and burning heather
  • Work with the police to deal with crime such as badger digging and hare coursing

You may also be responsible for developing plans for managing the game and habitat on a country estate. Depending on the size of the estate, you may also need to complete related paperwork and administration tasks.

If you work as a keeper to protect and manage rivers and streams as habitats for trout and salmon you would be known as a river keeper or ghillie.

You’ll need to be happy working on your own for long periods of time, and in remote areas, outdoors in all weather.

Working with firearms can be dangerous; you will require a good knowledge of health and safety and a mature attitude.

Working conditions

Hours

As a gamekeeper you would usually work flexible hours which would depend on the season and the jobs that needed doing. You may work long, often irregular hours, usually with early starts, late finishes and weekend work.

Environment

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

Travel

You may have to cover large areas of ground each day, so a driving licence would usually be needed.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Working on your own
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit
  • Planning and organising

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need:

  • Qualifications at SCQF level 4/5 and/or a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7)
  • Or a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in gamekeeping/countryside-centred subjects
  • Or a work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Game and Wildlife Management (SCQF level 5)

To enter a National Certificate (NC) or National Qualifications (NQ) course in Gamekeeping requires three to four subjects at National 4.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) requires a relevant NC or two Highers at C.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science subjects
  • Environmental Science
  • Geography
  • Practical technologies subjects, such as woodwork
  • Business studies

You will also need

Once in the job you must achieve a certificate in gun handling. 

A driving licence would usually be needed, as you may have to cover large areas of ground each day.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show an interest and understanding of the natural environment such as Skills for Work Rural Skills (SCQF level 4) or the John Muir Award.

Once in a job you can gain relevant qualifications such as the Scottish Vocational Qualification in  Game keeping (SVQ level 2).