I guess making a blog post with the heading of “I don’t like gamekeepers” is probably Asking for trouble. However, to be very honest, nothing could be further from the truth. I may not agree with some of the practices of some of the gamekeepers, but this does not equate to an outright dislike of all the gamekeeping fraternity.
As is usually the case, most people wont read the entirety of this blog so wont ever get to the the truth of the matter. If you hear people saying that I don’t like Gamekeeprs please point out to them that if they took the time to actually read the blog, they may find that the opposite is probably closer the truth.
Photographing The Shoot On Blakey Ridge
Going back a few months now I had a chance meeting with a local Gamekeeper high on the moors above Castleton.
Whilst out in the car I had seen one of the local shoots on the moors with the dogs and beaters. As with most things on the moors, I find them interesting so decided to take photographs.
The polite young man came across in his vehicle and enquired about my photography. I quite enjoyed the chat as it’s not often that people are polite and civil when you meet them under such circumstances. At times it seems like the whole rural community is hugely paranoid and un-trusting of anyone they don’t know.
For obvious reasons he was a little cagey with me and didn’t want to give away too much information about himself, In fact he wouldn’t even tell me his name or who he worked for. But I wont hold that against him as I guess at times, being a Gamekeeper can seem like your public enemy number one.
Do Gamekeepers Illegally Shoot Birds Of Prey
We got to speaking about Birds Of Prey and we discussed the opinion amongst some people that Gamekeepers kill or at least limit the numbers of everything on the moors other than grouse. We discussed at length the lack of Hen Harriers on the moor. The gamekeeper assured me that he did not illegally kill anything nor did anyone employed by his boss.
The chat stayed polite and pleasant and although we obviously had diverse opinions we managed to part company on good terms. Upon leaving I gave the young gamekeeper my business card.
Burning The Heather – North York Moors
Fast forward several months to February 14th 2019, myself and a good friend were out on the moors and decided to photograph the heather burning that was taking place.
One of the Gamekeepers burning the heather came across for a natter with us. It was the same guy I had met several months earlier. Again he was very polite and welcoming and more than happy for us to photograph what he was doing.
I Don’t Like Gamekeepers
Once again we got chatting and he discussed my website and my postings here and he passed comment that he felt I may not like gamekeepers.
I explained my position that I was most certainly not anti shooting and didn’t mind 90% of the practices of Gamekeepers. I suggested that we probably agreed on a whole lot more than we disagreed upon. I also let it be known that I would always be willing to listen to his point of view with an open mind.
I explained that on occasion I had praised some of the keepers for actually leaving the birds of prey alone. I have on several occasions made reference to Mulgrave Estate and how they clearly tolerated Peregrines and Buzzards on their land alongside the shoot. Obviously the Mulgrave shoot has since ended, but whilst it was running it was clear that most of the Wildlife was left alone.
Whilst I do not like the idea that the moors should be managed exclusively for Grouse this does not mean I am against shooting. I have many friends who shoot and I don’t really have any problem with them, so long as the birds are put to good use once shot (i.e. Eaten or given to someone who will eat them).
I Am Not Anti Shooting Or Anti Gamekeeping
I guess my thoughts on the situation are that if the shoot can exist without having to kill wildlife then its fair game (No pun intended).
So in summary, I am not anti gamekeeping or anti shooting. I am however 100% against the illegal shooting, poisoning, trapping or murder of the wildlife which has a right to exist without persecution on our moorland.
Thank-you for reading, I hope you also can enjoy the few photographs I took of the heather burning recently.
I also have some video footage of the heather burning that I will place on my You Tube Channel Shortly.