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Thread: Changes to DSC 2 Witnessing.

  1. #1

    Changes to DSC 2 Witnessing.

    Just got a letter with the forthcoming changes to DSC 2.
    Before 01/06/2010, all level 2 winesses, including former AW's, must become 'Approved Witnesses'.
    From 01/06/2010 the PC's in DSC 2 portfolios must be witnessed only by an 'Approved Witness'. Use of 'Credible Witnesses' will no longer be allowed for candidates registering from that date.
    The new 'Approved Witnesses' must attend an initial briefing by a DMQ briefing team and sign to say they understand their part in the assessment process. Subsequent briefings will be held on a regular basis and will be a pre-requisite for continuing as a witness.
    The new 'AW's' will become the responsibility of the Assessment Centre rather than individual assessors.

    I personnally believe this is a big step in the right direction but I'm sure some will disagree. One of the perceived problems before was that not all witnesses, particularly 'Credible' ones had a full understanding of the process therefore giving it less credibility in effect. This new process should therefore 'standardise' the process to a greater degree. I'm sure the initial effect will be a great reduction in the length of the AW list! However, hopefully it should encourage those previously acting as 'CW's' to take the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skill levels thus benefiting deer management overall.

    No doubt this post will form the catalyst for another heated debate!

  2. #2

    changes to dsc2 witnessing

    Now this is a well thought out chunk of rules change, unusual for this sphere, It's probable that you are correct in the assumptions re the aw list, I think that more will go for the chance to improve in the eyes of the awarding body.

  3. #3
    Irrespective of anything else, I can see this driving up the cost of completing the DSC2. For the record I had all my stalks witness by an AW, not that I believe that is necessary. Personally I would say that you canít go and do your DSC2 until you have culled at least 50 deer, by then at least you have some experience. If you can do it right once for an AW why make you do it 3 times?

    Best rgds


  4. #4
    Thats a change forthe better then wtnessing that will be credible!

  5. #5
    I'm not sure it will drive the cost up Thar as the AW list will only become smaller due to the Less/Non-actice AW's being removed (of which there are many!).
    Those that pay for their 3 witnessed stalks are less likely to get their portfolios returned as experienced AW's are more likely to get it right the first time around.
    What I would like to see though is some sort of guideline from the DMQ as to what people should expect to pay. I'm not saying this should be a set fee payable to the DMQ either! For example - the Woodland Improvement Grant scheme (WIG) states that: "The FC are prepared to offer standard cost L1 (labour rate Ė forest craftsman) (£130/ day) for stalking". So, let's say a witnessed stalk is about 4 hours work for the AW, he should charge a maximum of £65 for his time. This would be simple if everyone had their own ground, but in reality most don't. So then we have cull fees, trophy fees, carcass fees etc...
    No doubt some will abuse the privelage and mask a DSC 2 stalk with all kinds of extras so that it is expensive. My advice would be to discuss exactly what is on offer for an exact price beforehand! Never be in any doubt when it comes to money!
    I have never charged anyone anything for a witnessed stalk but am fortunate in that i don't have to. I fully appreciate that some people work for estates and do this for a living and am envious of them to an extent. I also worry that me doing them for free could undermine someone elses living?
    If all AW's charged a set 'baseline' fee it would surely help? Wether they do or not and what they do with the money is up to the individual.
    "Help for Heroes" could always use it!
    Oh, and another point. (please don't take offence Thar!).
    Sitting in a clasroom for a dsc 1 course gives you a good theoretical start to a stalking career. Shooting 50 deer on your own after that will no doubt give you some experience in certain areas but will not guarantee you passing your dsc 2! DSC 2 is a 'quantom -leap' from level 1, and you are extremely unlikely to get even close to the required standard unless you get some practical training from an experienced and knowlegable stalker. If you are going up for a level 2, budget for 4 stalks and ask the AW to do the first one as a training trip. Most people think they are ready for level 2 but aren't. A quick training stalk is normally enough to guide potential candidates along the path of rightiousness!

  6. #6
    Fully agree with what MS says and I also think the ending of the "Credible Witness" is long overdue if the DSC2 award is to mean anything. I did my DSC2 under rigourous scrutiny and was pleased to have gained the award however, I know of other stalkers who did it via a credible witness and said it might as well have been conducted over a cup of coffee !

  7. #7

    changes to witnessing

    Now this is what I call singing from the same hymn sheet!

  8. #8
    I see your point Stand buck, and it probably is a valid one.

    As I read your post, as of 1/06/10 all stalks will have to be witnessed by an AW and you canít have any stalks witnessed by a DSC2 holder. Therefore the number of people that can carry out the task will be less; supply and demand would dictate that they will then be able to charge more for there services. Not everybody is as good as you and does it for free.

    One thing that bugs me is I know of two individuals that have completed their Level 2, both had shot less than 10 deer each including the 3 for their DSC2 portfolio. Both are without doubt enthusiastic leisure stalkers and probably spent a good amount of time on their theory before their stalks. At its inception I thought the DSC2 was a means to demonstrate that you had a good level of experience and competence.

    Now while both these individuals have demonstrated their competence, you have to question their experience, hence why I made the comment that you should have 50 deer (I was going to say 100) in you cull records before you can apply for your DSC2. I would expect that you would have been mentored/guided for a number of these animals therefore you could carry out in practice the theory.

    I think in some ways the scheme has lost it way a bit. I blame this in part on the FC demanding that you have to have DSC2 for stalking on their land, this has compelled new stalkers just getting into the sport to push to get there Level 2 because they see this as a way of getting stalking, while if it was not necessary they may of waited until they had gained more experience. I am not sure this was FC intended reason for stipulating the need for level 2 I guess they thought by insisting on this they would get experienced stalkers who would get the deer culled, or it was to do with Health and fffing Safety.

    At the end of the day I still think the change will drive up the cost of completing the Level 2, although as SB points out it should improve the standard of assessment. Personally I would like to see more emphasis on experience, and I donít see the need to do the same thing 3 times to prove you can do the job right.

    I donít need level 2 for any of my land, but did it for my own personal satisfaction.

    Best rgds


  9. #9
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    I think the need for being witnessed 3 times is really aiming to ensure consistency in the level of experience/competence - to avoid the "lucky first time" type scenario.

    I sympathise with your view of things, but the problem with the approach of "you should have culled x deer before you take your DSC2" is that the number is purely arbitary and bears no relation to your skill or competence. Thinking back, I had probably culled something like 50 deer when I took my DSC2, but if I hadn't really applied myself to understanding what needed to be learned to pass, and why, I'd never have got there.

    I know of stalking guests who've shot well into three figures, but they still wouldn't pass the DSC2. Reading Jan Andrews interesting profile article in this weeks Shooting Times she seems to have similar views.

    My objection is more to the approach that I see of "book three stalks on the same day and you can get your DSC2 in one hit". To me this is totally against the spirit of things - gaining a certificate just for the sake of it with no real understanding of why you're doing it. But I'm sure others will say it is perfectly valid.....


  10. #10
    Some people feel that if you did L2 in a deer park that this is some how a lesser thing, what are your thoughts on it?

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