Game keeper

A game keeper


Game keepers manage countryside areas used for shooting and fishing.

Game keepers typically do the following:

  • plan and organise shoots and fishing parties
  • hire and supervise staff like beaters, to flush out birds during shoots
  • keep records of what’s shot or caught and arrange the sale of game
  • train and work with gun dogs
  • breed game birds for release
  • protect game from poachers and predators
  • maintain equipment, buildings and game enclosures
  • clear woodland and undergrowth
  • work with the police to deal with crimes like badger digging and hare coursing

Working conditions

Game keepers work in parks, in woodlands or in workshops, and their working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers. 

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to game keeper:

estate supervisor
game warden

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as game keeper. A valid driving licence is often recommended, as well as a firearms or shotgun certificate is necessary for some jobs.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Game keeper is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Game keeper career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to game keeper.

poultry sexer
cattle pedicure
dog breeder
dog trainer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of game keeper. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of game keeper with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

animal hydrotherapist
animal massage therapist
equine dental technician
animal embryo transfer technician
animal artificial insemination technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of game keeper.

  • Understand game species: Understand biology and ecology of relevant game species including game birds, deer, and fisheries.
  • Wild game meat food safety: Understand food safety management procedures and national requirements for wild game meat.
  • Animal welfare legislation: The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of game keeper.

  • Manage habitats to benefit game: Develop and apply a habitat management plan.
  • Manage game management plans: Develop, manage and monitor a game management plan to ensure that there is enough game such as deer, pheasant, partridge and grouse.
  • Control the production of game meat for human consumption: Support the hygienic handling of dead game. Inspect game carcasses to make sure it is suitable for consumption. Ensure game meat is handled, stored and dispatched hygienically and according to legal requirements.
  • Organise game shoots: Plan and organise shoots and fishing parties.
  • Rear game: Rear and care for juvenile game in accordance with a game production plan.
  • Maintain game equipment: Repair game equipment, buildings and game pens. Clean guns after use.
  • Manage animal hygiene: Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.
  • Protect game: Prevent unlicensed hunting by patrolling the area at night.
  • Remove predators: Control predators such as foxes, crows and rats by shooting and trapping.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of game keeper. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

5164 – Pet groomers and animal care workers

  1. Game keeper – ESCO
  2. Gamekeeper | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Featured image: By Gamekeeper and his dog by Joan Sykes, CC BY-SA 2.0
Last updated on November 28, 2022

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