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Head keepers are senior game keepers, usually only employed on very large game estates with more than one game keeper required. They have a more supervisory role than game keepers, managing budgets, implementing business plans, and ensuring that the game and wildlife on their estate flourishes.
Head keepers will normally have worked for a number of years as a game keeper, learning about game and wildlife management, as well as gaining experience in the practical tasks required in preparation of shoots. On large estates with greater amounts of game and larger-scale shoots, more game keepers will be required to manage the wildlife and supervising the hunts. Head keepers will manage the overall running of the estate during a shoot, directing staff, greeting clients and supervising all activities.
Additional duties of a head keeper may fall under the financial and commercial areas of the estate. Head keepers are likely to be in charge of the game estate’s finances, working with a budget set by the estate owner. As well as maintaining the management of the grounds and the wildlife, head keepers will also need to keep updated on environmental policies and legislation. The environmental impact of the game estate is extremely important, so the maintaining of current wildlife habitats is just as important as contributing to the development of wildlife and game management plans.
Monitoring the health and safety aspects of the game estate is another duty of the head keeper. They must ensure that all staff are fully trained and aware of all potential risks and hazards and that staff look after the safety of the clients at the same time. Head keepers may need to attend meetings, demonstrations or talks by organisations and regulatory bodies, keeping up-to-date with all game and wildlife news and developments.