General FAQ

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.

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.

DSC1 includes an assessment for the underpinning knowledge requirement for Trained Hunter covering Large Game only. DMQ Trained Hunter qualification is only achieved after successfully being awarded DSC2.


Contact a DMQ Approved Assessment Centre for an application form.

This depends on which Assessment Centre  you register with. The DMQ element of any registration fee is the same for all Assessment Centres and covers only administration costs. If you need to attend a training course the fees are payable to the Centre 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.

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.

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

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

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 (18 in Northern Ireland) and not a prohibited person under firearms legislation.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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

It is usual to do the cull in a day. You have up to 3 years from the date of registration to the final submission of your evidence. Assessment and verification can take up to 14 weeks from when you submit your evidence (and may take even longer if, for example, there is evidence missing).


There are a number of training documents and videos available. Candidates should follow the Deer Stalking Code of Practice (issued jointly by BDS and BASC). There is also Best Practice Guidance available for Scotland and Best Practice Guides for England and Wales.

Some Assessment Centres have 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.

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 (18 in Northern Ireland), unless they are over 14 and hold an FAC in which case the conditions thereon must be complied with.

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

During a stalk it is likely that Candidates will be asked some questions. When observing a candidate witnesses may ask questions to test underpinning knowledge. Most elements of the assessment MUST be seen to be done satisfactorily regardless of any questions asked. These are clearly identified in the individual cull record.

When you have submitted your evidence, you may will be phoned up by your Assessor. They have to check the evidence presented and this usually involves speaking to candidates and witnesses. Calls to candidates may be prolonged and may involve many questions being asked.

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

There are circumstances whereby a deer which has been shot by a candidate out of season could 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.

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.

Yes, for Element 2 (Cull Deer) of the portfolio. The candidate will however have to stalk to within range of a deer where a safe and humane shot can be taken on another occasion for Element 1.

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. The witness must be in a position to intervene at all times if a safety issue arises.

No. The candidate must be accompanied throughout the stalk, and also during the gralloch and transportation. The witness must remain in close proximity to the candidate at all times to observe the use of safety catches and check backstops from a shooting perspective. The witness must be in a position to intervene if a safety issue arises.

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.