1. The weather has the largest potential to restrict me from doing my gamekeeping job. Storms that we have seen in the last few years have blown over trees, which in turn restrict access to woods, pheasant pens and internal tracks and roads.
Disease is also a growing problem with intensive rearing programmes and is made worse by the banning of certain drugs by the EU.
2. Technology is continually impacting my job, but mainly in a positive way. The introduction of ATV’s (quad bikes), automatic bird feeders and more powerful communication radios have made the job easier and more effective. There is now less physical work and jobs can be completed quicker with the new technology.
3. Health and Safety continues to impact the job. For example, if working with any equipment I have to be officially trained before doing so and then certified. This applies to chain saws, quad bikes and clothing. There is a time and cost element to this aspect of the job.
4. I see great changes in the profession brought on mainly by two large factors – the economy and legislation. Over the last 10 – 15 years there has been a decrease to the number of shoots and also to the size of them as it has become too expensive to employ game-keepers. Some shoots have closed altogether while others have downsized to part time employees or amateur helpers.
Legislation, both UK and EU wide is putting more pressure on the use of firearms, the management of game birds and various licensing requirements.