gamekeeper n : a person employed to take care of game and wildlife [syn: game warden]
For the comic book series, see Guy Ritchie's Gamekeeper.
A gamekeeper is a person who looks after an area of countryside to make sure there is enough game for hunting, and or fish for angling, and who actively manages areas of woodland, moorland, waterway, farmland etc for game birds, deer etc.
Typically, the gamekeeper is employed by a landowner, and often in the UK by a country estate, to prevent poaching on his lands, rear and release game birds such as pheasant, control predators such as foxes, manage habitats to suit game, and monitor its health.
To some, the gamekeeper is viewed as an indiscriminate destroyer of wildlife, with the League Against Cruel Sports estimating 12,300 wild mammals and birds are killed on UK shooting estates every day.
The RSPB, for example, has criticised the poisoning of birds of prey on some shooting estates. This is probably the most controversial of all topics surrounding the gamekeeper. However, this is now much rarer than in its heyday, due to better knowledge of the ecology of birds of prey, and cases are generally condemned by the shooting community. On the other hand, the shooting industry says that gamekeepers can be vital workers towards countryside conservation.
In 1997, as a result of months of adverse and damaging media criticism, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) was formed to protect and promote the gamekeeper profession. The goal of this organization is to form a professional group that will help promote the work gamekeepers do as well as develop training in the area of law and best management practices in the field of game management.
In the UK many colleges now offer courses up to and including diploma level in gamekeeping. One example is the Northern School of Game and Wildlife at Newton Rigg in Cumbria.
- Mellors in Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
- Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter series
- Tom Redruth in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Phillip White in Lark Rise to Candleford
- Several characters past and present in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers
- Joseph in Hautot and His Son by Guy de Maupassant
gamekeeper in Macedonian: Ловочувар
gamekeeper in German: Wildhüter