I'm writing this because if like me the combination of work and family life makes it difficult to find the time to do the other the stuff you want to, this approach to learning might be right for you.
As I'm just gaining experience in stalking I thought taking the DSC1 would be a good way to broaden my knowledge, combined with accompanied stalks. Living in the Sevenoaks area of Kent I couldn't find a course with timing that would fit with my busy work schedule. Thankfully the BASC were running a course close enough that I could justify taking the 4 days out bridged over a weekend.
When I committed to the course I really didn't appreciate just how much work would be involved in learning the content until I found the time to sit down and absorb the volume of detail needed to be properly read, reread and practiced prior to take the exams. So be warned it is a big commitment, if like me you are starting from not knowing much about deer.
The course material provided by BASC was from Donnington Deer Management, very comprehensive which means you need to be prepared to put the time in to read and understand. But for me this alone would not have had me passing, so the opportunity to interact with others equally interested and to be taught by someone with real experienced and knowledge was the perfect fit.
The four day course was run on Forestry Commission property at Alice Holt in Surrey with the shooting and safety modules taken elsewhere. Steve Woolley ran the course and provided the vast majority of content. He was enthusiastic, good humoured throughout and most important, very hard working putting in long days to make sure we were properly attended. Steve even rolled out of bed early to shoot a Muntjac so we had the full gralloch experience. For me I feel the difference between passing and failing was definitely Steve and his colleagues who supported, because no matter how much I read or studied the CD based Deer Society tests (purchased separately), the personal input and extra knowledge that comes from someone that really knows is invaluable.
Probably the most stressful was the safety and shooting modules on the last day. I really wasn't expecting to be so nervous, maybe because this was the bit I felt should be the the most straight forward as I feel I do shoot accurately and safely - who knows but the adrenaline was definitely flowing! The level of seriousness on this day was most certainly appropriate which added to the mood for all, as we all know how important it is given the responsibility we are gifted with by having a Firearm, it just framed what was both a brilliant and exhausting few days.
So if you're thinking about taking the DSC1 this approach defiantly worked from me and I got to meet some really good people in the process.
So a big thanks to all involved !