General FAQ

Do I need to be a "Trained Hunter"

If you consume all the venison yourself from the deer you shoot, you do not need to be a Trained Hunter. At present as the hunter (i.e. the person who shoots the deer) you may also sell small quantities, in your local area, without being a Trained Hunter, but this may change. To sell any deer you shoot to an Approved Game Handling Establishment (Game Dealer) you must be a Trained Hunter. Full details of the requirements can be found in the Wild Game Guide issued by the Food Standards Agency.

What is a Trained Hunter

A Trained Hunter is a person who has sufficient knowledge and skill to identify abnormal characteristics that may indicate that the meat from a deer presents a health risk.

How do I become a Trained Hunter

DSC1 includes an assessment for Trained Hunter for Large Game only. On completion of DSC1 you are issued with a certificate that is recognised by Game Dealers.

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


How do I register ?

Contact an Assessment Center for a registration form.

What will it cost ?

This depends on which Assessment Center  you register with. The DMQ element of any registration fee is the same for all Assessment Centers and covers only administration costs. If you need to attend a training course the fees are payable to the Center offering the training, there is no DMQ charge. We recommend that all candidates for DSC1 should consider attending a training course before sitting the DSC1 assessment. All candidate fees are payable direct to the training provider or assessment centre, not to DMQ.

Where can I do it ?

College based Assessment Centres usually offer assessment at one or two venues. Both BASC and BDS have venues round the country and they publish the dates of events.

How long does it take ?

DSC1 assessment can usually be completed in 1 day. Some training events are organised so that the individual assessments are taken on different days.

Where can I get training ?

Some Assessment Centres offer training courses. The costs of these vary so check this with the Assessment Centre. Other courses may be suitable for candidates planning to take DSC1, but you should ensure that all of the relevant areas are sufficiently covered. Only assessment carried out by DMQ approved Assessment Centres will be considered for the award of a DMQ certificate

Do I need my own rifle ?

No. If you do not have your own deer legal rifle, then Assessment Centres can usually arrange for you to borrow one of their rifles for the assessment, provided you are over 17 and not a prohibited person under firearms legislation.

What experience do I need ?

You do not need any experience of stalking if you attend a training course run by one of the Assessment Centres. If you have no experience of stalking, knowledge of deer or relevant legislation then it is likely that you will need to do some studying and gain some experience before attempting a DSC1 assessment.

How Long does it take before I receive my DSC 1 certificate ?

Under normal circumstances, a DSC1 certificate should be with the candidate (you) within a maximum of 8 weeks after successfully completing all 5 assessments

If any of the DSC1 elements need to be re-taken a record of achievement (Referral) will be issued within a maximum of 8 weeks after (your) assessment.


How do I register ?

You must have completed DSC1 before you can register for DSC2 You can then contact an Assessment Centre for a registration form. We recommend that all candidates for DSC2 should consider gaining experience and confidence before they register. Registrations last for 3 years, beyond that time you will have to re-register at extra cost.

What does it cost ?

This depends in part on which Assessment Centre you register with – the centres will advise. The DMQ element of any registration fees is the same for all Centres and covers only administration costs. Depending on your circumstances you may have to pay for stalking, witness fees, or both. Any such fees are paid to the provider, there is no DMQ charge. It is up to you to find out what different people charge and decide what suits you.

Where can I do it ?

You can do your culls anywhere in the UK where you can arrange stalking and the presence of a witness. You will of course have to comply with the relevant legislation over calibres and seasons.

How long does it take ?

It is possible to do the 3 culls in a day. However, it is more usual for candidates to do their culls over a period of time, say over one culling season. You have up to 3 years from the date of registration to the final submission of your portfolio. Assessment and verification can take up to 14 weeks from when you submit your portfolio (and may take even longer if, for example, there is evidence missing).

Where can I get training and guidance?

Look at the letter and the CD sent to the candidate with the Portfolio. There are also a number of training documents available. Candidates should follow the Deer Stalking Code of Practice (issued jointly by BDS and BASC). There is also now Best Practice Guidance available for Scotland and Best Practice Guides for England and Wales.

Some Assessment Centres have made arrangements for candidates to gain experience under the guidance of a professional stalker. There are other organisations who will help you gain experience for DSC2 if that is what you need. Some advertise in the shooting press.

Do I need my own FAC and rifle ?

No. A candidate may borrow a rifle to do their culls provided the rifle is borrowed from the owner or occupier of the ground being stalked, and the FAC holder accompanies the candidate. The candidate must be over 17 years of age, unless they are over 14 and hold an FAC in which case the conditions thereon must be complied with.

What experience do I need ?

DSC2 requires candidates to demonstrate competence and knowledge. Even experienced stalkers may wish to consider obtaining some guidance before attempting DSC2.

Why am I asked questions ?

During a stalk it is likely that Candidates will be asked numerous questions. When observing a candidate witnesses are expected to ask questions to test underpinning knowledge. Some elements of the assessment MUST be seen to be done satisfactorily regardless of any questions asked. These are clearly identified in the individual cull records. For other elements such as 2.6 wounded deer, where the candidate has hopefully not been seen performing particular PC, a relevant question(s) should be asked and the answer recorded in the portfolio.

You may also be phoned up by your Assessor or the Internal Verifier. They have to check the evidence in the portfolio and thiis may involve speaking to candidates and witnesses.

Do I need to keep records ?

Candidates need to keep records of the deer they have shot, and they would be wise to keep a note of each stalk submitted as evidence.

Can deer shot out of season count for DSC2 ?

There are circumstances whereby a deer which has been shot by a candidate out of season may be accepted as evidence. It is however, imperative that all candidates and witnesses are aware of the specific requirements under legislation applicable in the country where the shooting is to take place, and act accordingly.

Any deer found to have been shot illegally under any aspect of legislation will not be accepted as evidence. It will also render all other evidence relating to the illegally shot deer within a cull record as unacceptable requiring a complete individual cull record and all elements contained within, to be retaken.

In Scotland, an occupier of ground, an appropriate person with the occupier’s written permission or any other person approved in writing by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) as a fit and competent person and also with the occupiers written permission, may shoot deer out of season. Out of season shooting can however, only be in accordance with the provisions contained within a General Authorisation issued by SNH and current at the time of shooting.

In England and Wales out of season shooting is permitted under licence to deal with specific damage or safety related issues. Licenses may be applied for from Natural England using the appropriate application form. A copy of the relevant licence would have to be submitted as evidence if deer shot out of season were to be submitted as evidence for DSC2.

Due to the complexities of legislation, DMQ recommends that candidates time any witnessed outings to be compatible with the open season for the deer species and sex planned to be culled .for evidence

Do deer shot from a high seat count ?

Yes, for Element 2 (Cull Deer) of the portfolio. The candidate will have to stalk to within range of a deer on another occasion for Element 1.

However, candidates may not be left on their own up a high seat. The candidate must be accompanied throughout the stalk, and also during the gralloch and transportation. Assessors may (provided evidence is supplied) permit an exception where it is not possible for both candidate and witness to sit in the seat together. If permitted by the Assessor, the witness may sit at the base of the seat, both parties having agreed the most likely scenario for shooting and able to remain in voice contact. The witness must be in a position to intervene if a safety issue arises.

Can a witness leave a candidate to stalk into a deer ?

No. The candidate must be accompanied throughout the stalk, and also during the gralloch and transportation. The witness must remain in direct line of sight to the candidate and in voice contact, both parties having agreed the most likely scenario for shooting. The witness must be in a position to intervene if a safety issue arises.

Must candidates wear gloves during the gralloch ?

Candidates must demonstrate hygienic practices, and avoid cross contamination while dealing with deer. This can be done by wearing clean gloves, by washing, or by the use of e.g. “probe wipes” to de-contaminate knives etc.