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The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust – here for keepers and their families – always has and always will

The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust has always “been there for gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies” quietly supporting families who are struggling, and individuals who are going through difficult times. The report commissioned by the Scottish Government with participants from members of the SGA, SLE & BASC, which has a substantial section focussed on gamekeepers jobs and lives […]

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Autumn leaves

I would like to begin this blog by sending huge congratulations to Alex Hogg on the absolutely fantastic news of the award of an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours. I cannot think of anyone who deserves this more, giving so much for so long to The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, to Gamekeeping as a whole […]

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August – heather and host

July went out with a heat wave and August came in with the eagerly awaited heather bloom to follow.  Our “glorious grouse” have encountered different and varying difficulties from predation (increasing), to a reduction in nutrition where heather beetle has taken a hold and particularly dry conditions early on in some places too.  Upland keepers […]

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Blog

Notes of optimism after a challenging year

Date posted: February 22, 2013

For lowground keepers February/March is a time for catching up, trapping and beginning anew and planning for the season ahead.  Hill keepers are starting to heather burn, weather permitting, with a general optimistic feel for the year ahead.  Stalkers in Scotland in particular have a champion above all champions in Peter Fraser, who is unafraid to stand up for injustice and the red deer which have been persecuted in recent years.  No-one disputes control is needed in certain areas at certain times.  However there are right and wrong ways to go about this and sometimes there seems to be no lessons learnt in history.

Wildlife crime is sadly in the media on a regular basis, usually alleged and often on completely spurious grounds.  No-one condones wrongful conduct but this is so often without real basis in evidence and the effects on keeper and family is devastating.  I was delighted to hear of an innocent verdict recently for a keeper who has dedicated his life to wildlife through his work as a gamekeeper, who is widely respected and who can now enjoy his retirement in complete vindication of the charges against him.  The stress caused will have taken its toll; friends, family and supporting organisations are absolutely essential through these tough times.

The seasons come round whatever happens and this is time and opportunity to review the year past.  Lowground keepers have experienced a challenging year with relentless wet weather which has devastated wild stock and game crops in some places.  Mild conditions were not conducive to bringing birds in – it’s just been a difficult season all round.  It is hoped that employers, agents and estate owners take these issues into account as shoot budgets are reviewed and written for the year ahead.  Redundancies are inevitable at this time of year and some more than others.  With an economy still struggling through to reduce deficits, a combination of poor returns is not helpful.  However shooting is as popular as ever and with shooting organisations promoting and encouraging the young, ladies and have a go, we are optimistic for our future.  Conservation will never be achieved without gamekeepers who know and love the countryside more than anyone or any other profession or group.

Blog archive

The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust – here for keepers and their families – always has and always will

The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust has always “been there for gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies” quietly supporting families who are struggling, and individuals who are going through difficult times. The report commissioned by the Scottish Government with participants from members of the SGA, SLE & BASC, which has a substantial section focussed on gamekeepers jobs and lives […]

Read more...

Autumn leaves

I would like to begin this blog by sending huge congratulations to Alex Hogg on the absolutely fantastic news of the award of an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours. I cannot think of anyone who deserves this more, giving so much for so long to The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, to Gamekeeping as a whole […]

Read more...

August – heather and host

July went out with a heat wave and August came in with the eagerly awaited heather bloom to follow.  Our “glorious grouse” have encountered different and varying difficulties from predation (increasing), to a reduction in nutrition where heather beetle has taken a hold and particularly dry conditions early on in some places too.  Upland keepers […]

Read more...

Midsummer – the joys and the challenges

Well, we have had the longest day and are in for a scorcher of a week – welcome news for wildlife and consequential insect life where water is abundant and the showers over the past week or two have certainly helped. It is still uncertain for some shooting estates, stalking estates and fishing interests however […]

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May VE Celebrations 2020

May day took on a new meaning this year and Victory in Europe day we hope will mean the start of a new normal, setting out how we move from lock down into meeting our loved ones and getting back to work for some and planning ahead for many. VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, […]

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Personal Message to everyone in the Gamekeeping Community

To all gamekeepers, stalkers, ghillies, past present and future and their families These are uncertain times for everyone but we are fortunate at least to live where we do, with our shoots and estates where we can continue our work with little effects in restrictions around the home at least. We are encouraged to see […]

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11th December 2019

ON election day and approaching a time of giving perhaps it is time to take stock and consider how fortunate we are, even in these testing times.  The resilience of gamekeepers in the face of multiple challenges is amazing, just getting about this autumn has been difficult enough.  To hear and see the sheer ignorance […]

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Hatfield House – The Game Fair 2019

We are setting off to the Game Fair in almost record heat but in typical “can do” attitude for everyone attending. Those of us who live and work in the countryside are used to working with nature, the weather and plan accordingly. There is a huge amount of work involved in just a few days […]

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2018 Review

2018 began with sadness and tragedy, and we remember those we have lost within the Gamekeeping Community. We have risen to the challenge, coming together in “Raising the Game” to address mental health problems and make a difference. As part of this initiative we began “Stag Training”, which continues around the country in 2019, with […]

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Christmas Message

Christmas night is a time of reflection after a hectic day of family celebrations or perhaps a solitary day or perhaps a working day – there are certainly always jobs to do whether feeding round, seeing to the dogs or indoors with a lunch to prepare. For the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust it is a time […]

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