Job Description:

Gamekeepers manage countryside used for shooting and fishing.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will 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


You may need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

You might also need:

  • to have a full driving licence
  • a firearms or shotgun certificate for some jobs.

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Gamekeeper, you don’t typically need specific subjects. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for those interested in pursuing a career in gamekeeping and wildlife management. Gamekeepers are responsible for managing game birds and other wildlife on estates and in rural areas. Here are some subjects and skills that may be relevant:

  1. English Language: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are important for documenting activities, communicating with landowners, and working with colleagues.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are useful for tasks such as measuring land, calculating food requirements for game, and keeping records.
  3. Science: knowledge of biology and ecology can be helpful for understanding wildlife behaviour, habitat management, and conservation.
  4. Physical Education: Gamekeepers often need to be physically fit and capable of outdoor work, so a basic understanding of physical fitness and health can be beneficial.
  5. Environmental Science: If available as a subject, this can provide a solid foundation for understanding ecosystems and conservation practices.

Post School

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.

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



Working Hours 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.

Career Path & 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.