My sponsored DSC1 and route to stalking PLUS puppy diary

DSC1 course done!

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Welcome to my latest blog instalment! Well done to anybody who has tracked my whole Novice Journey from total newcomer, through first outings and now to DSC1 test completion. Of course this is still only the beginning of what I hope will continue to be a growing and developing interest for me. My focus now will be A) getting as many stalks as time and money (and wife!) will allow and B) taking my first shots with a shotgun. And I suppose C) to continue training my daft dog and hope she settles down a bit from her current madness.
Anyway, here's the course write up!

Well folks, I'm pleased to say that's over and as far as I can tell it went well.
After an early start this morning where I watched 35 fallow does in the field adjacent to the campsite I headed to the venue to be greeted with a collection of nervous faces.
After the housekeeping and ab introduction to Chris, the BASC assessor, we got stuck in to the written papers.
The deer ID test was first, and to be honest it could have been a lot worse. The odd one or two took a bit of squinting, but most I was confident. This was the only one of the tests we would be able to go back through, aafter handing in our papers. We all had a good laugh at and with each other who had made the odd mistake, but counting on my fingers I know I got 17 out of 20. Misidentifting fallow as sika and sika as fallow on two occasions and once misaking red hinds as sika.
We moved straight on to the main paper. Working through the questions I was quite content, just the odd one or two making me think a bit harder. I think there were 3 where I took absolute guesses, and a couple I was 50/50. Chatting to others over a brew whist we waited for the next exam I was glad to have some of my suspicions confirmed, and that I wasn't the only one to get lost on some questions.
Next, game meat hygiene. This was mainly common sense, as was a lot of the other paper, but did have some quite tough questions on law and disease that needed a bit more thought (or maybe a better memory!). I counted 3 questions that I really didn't know, so as long as I'm bot totally wrong on many others that equals a pass on the three written tests. Sadly, it will be 6 weeks before I find out, as the assessment has to be double checked, verified, checked again, etc, etc. So it's a bit of a nervous wait now!
We drove the 20ish minutes to the range now, after a warning to use the toilet and have our last brew of the day, as facilities at the range are... "basic"! I got a lift in with a couple of similar age to me, who were doing the course together. We chatted about guns and dogs and the inevitable test questions for the journey, then arrived at the range and were paired one with a rifle and one borrower, for the range test. Chris from BASC would take us one at a time for the "simulated stalk" and in the meantime we all settled down for a chatter, enjoying the unexpected sunshine.
My shooting test went ok. The course of fire was 3 round prone at a zeroing target (all three to land in a 4 inch circle) then 2 shots prone at the deer silhouette, followed by 2 seated at 70 yards and two standing at 40. This was far from my best shooting ever but with an unfamiliar rifle and no practice from prone or sitting I did well enough to pass the test. I did have to do part one a second time, as I managed to pull one shot and send it flying well outside the group. The rest probably grouped at about 3 inches all over the place, but it wasn't a competition and the rifle wasn't set up as I'd have liked. Not to worry! The other shots were fine, again no beat little group but all good enough and definitely all dead deer.
Next up came my safety test. Chris gave me a quick run down of his rifle, a Sako 85, and then we set off on our "stalk" as we walked Chris asked me questions "imagine we are stalking in a group... Blah blah blah... " and did a very good job of coaxing out any forgotten details. The deer targets to look at were pretty straightforward, one against a dry stone wall (not safe) two one behind the other (again obviously no shot on) and one in the middle of a rather flat field (again, no shot due to lack of backstop). We had a few more questions and then a hypothetical fence crossing where I gave a walk through and talk through of what action I would take to make it as safe as possible.

And that was it!

I really enjoyed the course, the knowledge and eexperience gained and the people I met were all great. all ages and all walks of life were there, and chatting to the others was good. Paul was a good teacher and the cake was, of course, excellent so many thanks to Sally for that! I recommend the course to anybody, and even the experienced stalkers on mine said they learned a lot and appreciated that value of the extra knowledge.

Thanks one final time to the Stalking Directory at large for putting me through the course. If you aren't a supporter please consider doing so for the peanuts it will cost to set a young stalker on the right track. Of course thank you to all those who have helped me in other ways, and to those who I know do so for others.

Now all I can do is wait with fingers crossed!
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  1. nicowilson's Avatar
    Excellent write up. It took me back to the nervousness that I experienced for my shooting test.