As it is another start to the season, who better to feature as my next Top Gun but Twitter’s best loved Girly Gamekeeper. If you aren’t already following her on Twitter then I am judging you! Get yourself on there asap and search for ‘@girlygamekeeper’. Quite possibly one of my favourite follows, she keeps me amused throughout the season – and beyond – and some of her Tweets actually make me laugh out loud. Yes she’s got pretty nails, drinks pink champagne and can accessorise but she’s also a real life girly gamekeeper making her way – and bringing a bit of glamour along the way – in what has been, traditionally, a role for the boys. She shoots, she bakes and she keeps it real with a fine balance of chat between cake, gamekeeping and pheasant poo.
So, Girly Gamekeeper…
How did you get into Gamekeeping?
I have always been around shooting, one of my first jobs was beating! It beat getting up at 6am to do a paper round or having to wash dishes! Plus there was always some top nosh and I got £25 for walking the dog! As I grew up I got more and more involved in the keepering aspect and now I do it alongside my other jobs.
How you find being a girly gamekeeper in what has been, historically, a male dominated role?
You have to give as good as you get and have a thick skin. Only today I was told not to mistake a cartridge for my lipstick, to which I replied “you’ll never mistake it for your [Editor’s replacement: ‘male appendage’], it’s too big”. You have to prove yourself much more as a female – just because I have my nails done doesn’t mean I’m not prepared to get stuck in and covered in shit! You also have to push to be involved and never give up!
What does your normal day entail, both during and outside of game season?
In Spring, post February 1st, it’s down time with lots of clearing up, tidying and general sorting. I also work at a clay ground, and have a business, so my life is always crazy juggling everything!
June onwards is chaos. Day old chicks arrive (pheasant, partridge and duck) and the main focus is keeping the buggers alive! Pheasants have a death wish from birth and if there is a way to die they will find it…You have to keep them fed, watered and warm – which requires checking every few hours in the first few weeks. Once they get older you have ‘bitting’ (placing a plastic bit in their beak to stop the aggressive little shits brutally murdering their mates!) this involves sitting in hot dusty sheds semi-naked, as pheasant poo is easier to get off skin than clothes!
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