Deer Stalking Qualification – 1

DSC1 is an initial qualification for deer stalkers and managers. It is a largely knowledge based qualification which enables candidates to demonstrate their understanding of basic deer management principles and meat hygiene, and to show competence in safety and shooting at simulated targets.

There are a number of Assessment Centers offering DSC1. Once registered candidates, have three years to complete the assessment modules, it is possible under exceptional circumstances for them to be completed in one day.

The DSC1 with Wild Game Meat Hygiene (WGMH) assessment is a mandatory prerequisite for DSC2.

DSC1 passes as a proportion of the population in each area – map


If you wish to register for DSC1, you should contact an Assessment Centre and obtain a registration form. Your chosen Assessment Centre will advise you of their fees and what you are required to do next.

Assessment Centers usually offer assessment at venues around the country with published dates of events.


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 the following 5 modules:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 and all must be answered correctly to obtain a pass.
  4. Shooting.This has 2 parts. First, the candidate must fire 3 shots to land inside a 4 inch circle on a zero target from a range of 100m. Three attempts at this are allowed in any one day. When this has been achieved, the candidate can then have 3 attempts (in any one day) to put:
  • 2 shots into the killing area of a deer target from 100 m (in any position using normal stalking aids such as rucksack or bipod);
  • 2 shots into the killing area of a deer target from 70m sitting or kneeling (again normal aids such as bipod or sticks may be used);
  • 2 shots into the killing area of a deer target from 40m standing (sticks may be used).
  1. Game Meat Hygiene. This has 40 multiple choice questions taken from a bank of Wild Game Meat Hygiene questions.  These 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.

Any candidate who holds a Vocational Related Qualification (VRQ) in Wild Game Meat Hygiene, or the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) certificate in Game Meat Hygiene, may elect not to take this module but they will be required to produce their VRQ or NGO certificate at the DSC1 assessment.

Any DSC1 holder registered before 1 May 2006, who has not converted to Trained Hunter, may do so by sitting a Game Meat Hygiene only assessment (by arrangement with any Assessment Centre) and paying the appropriate fee to the Assessment Centre.  This fee will include the assessment cost plus a payment to DMQ for the re-issue of a DSC 1 blue certificate reflecting Trained Hunter status.


If you do not pass any of the 5 modules in the DSC1 assessment you will have to re-sit only those modules you did not pass. You can do such re-sits with any Assessment Center with their agreement; you do not have to use the Centre you are registered with. You can expect to have to pay a fee for a re-assessment, which must be completed within 3 years of the date of registering for DSC1.


After the DSC1 test papers are assessed, they are internally verified by the Assessment Center. Provided there are no problems, the Assessment Centre will then advise DMQ and a DSC1 certificate will be issued.

You should keep your certificate safe and keep a record of the number as this will be your DMQ number for life and will be maintained for all qualifications.


DMQ does not provide or offer training.