Inaugural DMQ Cup awarded

Deer stalker, qualified assessor and volunteer Laurie Walton has been awarded the inaugural Deer Management Qualifications (DMQ) Cup at this year’s Game Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.

Laurie has spent the majority of his professional life employed as a stalker over the North West Water Board catchment area. He has sacrificed his own time to apply his knowledge and skills to the benefit of the DMQ, by supporting and encouraging countless novice deer stalkers.

He is both a qualified Assessor and Approved Witness, becoming a great ambassador for the deer stalking certificate awards.

The biennial DMQ Cup has been created to celebrate and reward those who have provided meritorious service to both the organisation and the wider deer sector.

John Thornley, DMQ chair, said: “Over the decades Laurie has given up his time voluntarily to the benefit of deer stalking, and in doing so has become a greatly respected individual in the sector. This award begins to pay back the recognition Laurie deserves.”


Image (L to R) is John Thornley (DMQ chair), Laurie Walton,  Nick Lane (BASC senior training officer).

Changes to Deer Management Qualifications (DMQ)

During 2019 Deer Management Qualifications (DMQ) embarked on a review of all qualifications and assessments with a view to ensuring the standards and best practice associated with modern deer management were reflected in the requirements for successful achievement of the awards.

The changes affect both the Deer Stalking Certificate (DSC) 1 & 2 qualifications and will come into effect on the 1st April, 2021.

In summary these are:

  • DMQ Trained Hunter qualification moves from DSC1 to DSC2 With increased concern now being focused on food safety and the risk of infection from diseased or contaminated meat it was felt that the bar should be raised to enable this element of the qualification to meet modern standards and scrutiny. All stalkers who have previously qualified to the DSC 1 level prior to the implementation date will retain their ‘trained hunter’ status. In addition DSC1 candidates booked for a course or assessment before the 1 April 2021 will not be affected by these changes and allowing them to take the assessment or course post 1st April, 2021.
  • The DSC1 Shooting Assessment changes in format and number of attempts. The most significant change within this assessment is the introduction of a close range humane dispatch shot.
  • The DSC2 requirement to undertake 3 witnessed stalks under examination is reduced to 1  This is on the proviso that all the necessary performance requirements are met within the 1 stalk. Greater emphasis and scrutiny is to be placed on the quality of witnessing and assessment together with carcass handling and inspection in line with food hygiene requirements. It will be essential for those stalkers wishing to qualify for the award to ensure they have sufficient experience, knowledge and skill prior to undertaking the assessment. Many Approved witnesses will provide a vital role here by providing the training and mentoring required by offering pre-assessment stalks in preparation for the assessment. Other changes within the DSC2 qualification include the approval of the use of hand held thermal imagers for locating deer prior to identification with the use of binoculars.

Further information

If you require assistance or have any questions regarding any of the forthcoming changes that may affect you, you should initially view the DMQ website for further guidance and information. If you have registered for a qualification you may contact your respective Assessment Centre. Alternatively you may contact DMQ direct via: deermanagementqualifications@gmail

Covid-19 statement

DMQ expects all those involved in the training, assessment and witnessing of qualifications, in particular the process of the DSC 2 qualification, to adhere to  government advice, guidance and any subsequent legal restrictions concerning the coronavirus.

During this period there will be a slight delay in issuing certificates for both DSC 1 and DSC 2.  Any person who needs proof of passing DSC 1 or DSC 2 please contact DMQ working group via email

Best Practice

Deer Initiative is now in an editorial role for both the Eng/Wales and Scottish Best Practice projects.  Ireland are adapting BP for their use also.

BP events are being held regularly across the country, keep an eye out for them on the Deer Initiative website

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), also known as Cervid Wasting Disease, is a highly infectious, fatal disease which has devastated some populations of wild and farmed deer in North America.

CWD has very recently been diagnosed in four separate cases in Scandinavia, in a wild reindeer and also in moose. The risk of CWD entering the UK is therefore likely to have increased now the disease is present in Europe.

CWD is caused by a prion, a mutant folded protein, and belongs to the same group of diseases as scrapie, which affects sheep and goats, and “mad cow disease” (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “BSE”). This group of diseases are known collectively as “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies” or ”TSE’s” ,CWD is the most infectious of these, the name suggests a body sickness but it is actually degeneration of the brain and central nervous system which is the main symptom.

A Working Group has been established to formulate a Government and industry response, building on the work of the BDS over the last few years. The following information leaflet regarding CWD has been produced by the Working Group.
For details on how to spot chronic wasting disease (CWD), what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread please follow the link below.