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.

This work has lead to the following changes…

The changes affect both the Deer Stalking Certificate (DSC) 1 & 2 qualifications and will come into effect on 1 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 1 April 2021 will not be affected by these changes and allowing them to take the assessment or course post 1 April 2021.
  • The DSC1 Shooting Assessment changes in format and number of attempts
    The most significant change within the DSC1 assessment is the introduction of a close range humane dispatch shot.
  • The DSC2 requirement to undertake three witnessed stalks under examination is reduced to one
    This is on the proviso that all the necessary performance requirements are met within the one 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.

John Thornley OBE, DMQ chairman, said: “These changes reflect the views expressed by many participants during the consultation process and are intended to improve and maintain the high standards of these respected deer stalking qualifications.

“It is a further example to Government of a willingness by the deer sector to further self-regulate, thereby avoiding restrictive legislation being imposed.”


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