Officially started in 1998, the DSC1 (Deer Stalking Certificate 1) course was developed to educate and set a basic standard for UK deer stalkers involved in the humane management of wild deer. Since its inception, DMQ (Deer Management Qualifications) has awarded over 32,000 certificates to people who have completed the classroom training and passed the 5 assessment modules.

What is the DSC1?

DSC1 is an industry recognised qualification for UK deer stalkers and estate managers. It is a largely a knowledge-based qualification which enables candidates to demonstrate their understanding of basic deer management principles and meat hygiene and to show competence in rifle safety and shooting at simulated deer targets. The DSC1 qualification is seen a minimum standard for deer stalkers and therefore, more often than not, will be a requirement for those wanting to join a syndicate, lease land, stalk unaccompanied or conduct deer management on land owned/managed by public bodies such as the National Trust, RSPB, Forestry Commission etc.

Who should consider taking the DSC1?

The DSC1 is best suited for people who have completed a good number of guided stalks with a professional stalker, dispatched a number of deer and who can competently and accurately use a deer legal rifle. Beginners and people new to stalking should first get some training in the safe and accurate use of a rifle and go on some guided stalks with an experienced stalker to gain experience in the field. If you’re a beginner or relatively new to stalking, the Deer HUB offers a Foundation Skills Course which teaches fundamental marksmanship techniques and knowledge that will provide you with a solid foundation at the beginning of your deer stalking journey. The Foundation Skills Course has been designed to improve your confidence and ability in using a deer legal rifle in the field and provide an essential repertoire of skills and knowledge that can be practically applied in the field. Email or call James Mott on 0789 4146643 for more information.

What is required?

The DSC1 assessment* tests knowledge and skills in the following areas: Deer biology and ecology | Legislation | Stalking techniques and taking the shot | Deer identification | Safety | Shooting | Large game meat hygiene.

The DSC1 assessment has 5 modules:

Written – This has 50 multiple choice questions which are taken from a bank of written questions. To pass, at least 40 questions must be answered correctly.

Visual – Candidates are shown 20 images covering the 6 species of wild deer in the UK. The species and the sex have to be identified for each image, and both must be correct to gain a mark. To pass, candidates must obtain at least 16 marks out of the possible 20.

Game Meat Hygiene – This has 40 multiple choice questions taken from a bank of Wild Game Meat Hygiene questions. The questions cover areas such as recognising normal and abnormal behaviour, common diseases, signs of ill-health, possible sources of contamination and hygienic working techniques. There are also food hygiene questions on risks to human health, use of veterinary medicines on wild deer, food safety and notifiable diseases. To pass, at least 32 questions must be answered correctly.

Safety – Candidates are walked around a safety assessment path during which they are shown 4 deer targets and asked to specify whether they would shoot at them or not. Candidates are additionally asked nine other questions on safety. All must be answered correctly to obtain a pass.

Shooting – The details for the shooting assessment are as follows.

  • 2 shots into the chest killing area of a DMQ deer target from 100m. The shooting position is prone or from a simulated highseat (if available) normal stalking aids such as rucksack or bipod may be used.
  • 2 shots into the chest killing area of a DMQ deer target from 70m. The shooting position may be standing, kneeling, or sitting. sitting or kneeling. As before, normal aids such as bipods or sticks may be used.
  • 2 shots into the humane despatch (head) killing area of a deer target from 10 -20m. The shooting position is standing, and sticks may be used. Please note the range for this discipline may vary due to individual range requirements.

Where can do DSC1?

There are two options for taking the DSC1. Most people opt for courses hosted by the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC), British deer society (BDS), National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) and various other independent places around the country. DSC1 courses are either 3 or 4 day courses – 2/3 days of learning and 1 day for the practical and written assessments.

Alternatively, it is possible to purchase the DSC1 training manual and use online training aids such as so as to be able to study at home. You will need to book onto an assessment day which the above organisations offer.

Other useful information

DSC1 Game Meat Question Bank 2020

DSC1 Safety Questions 2020

DSC1 Question Bank 2020

*Information from 2023

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