Deer ID, open/closed season and Legislation for DSC1??


Well-Known Member
Hi Folks.

I have my DSC1 in March at Greenleas in Hexham and was wondering if anyone has any tips on deer id?
I have only ever had any experience with Fallow, Roe and a Red.

And does anyone have any tips on how to remember open/closed seasons? I'm rubbish with dates and stuff... and I'm dreading this part.

Also do I need to learn the legislation for England/Wales, Ireland and Scotland? or just England/Wales and Scotland?

Thanks for any help....


Site Staff
You need to learn all of it. Or at least you did when I took mine back in the dark ages :rolleyes:

One photo ID for deer they generally use, is Spotted Fallow mixed in with Sika in summer coat, which are also spotted. This catches a great many people out.

There are a number of differences between the two species, but the dead give away is the white metatarsal gland on the back legs of Sika. However you hardly ever see this in the wild as the cover is generally too high :rolleyes:


Distinguished Member
I did my DSC1 in July 08 at Sparsholt. We never touched on Ireland Law. Only learn the OPEN seasons for all species, don't worry about Closed, if you know the open then you will automatically know the closed, some people on mine had tried to learn both and were getting confussed :cry: . You will be talked through the recognition with many PowerPoint slides, infact, every PP presentation we had, we got asked what species and why (identifiable features) and also the sex of the Deer also. It's a good course, I thoroughly enjoyed it, had a good laugh with the Instructors and other Students. Don't worry about it, relax and enjoy it.

Practise your shooting from the 3 positions, especially if you have a moderator fitted as this makes you more unsteady.

Good Luck



Well-Known Member
Also, for the Sika you should see a prominent u shape on their forehead. You will notice that some species open seasons are the same, learn the dates first, then the species that match that date.


Well-Known Member
It says in the manual,
As from ,1/1/2008
The candidates will be shown 20 slides of the six species of deer.
The slides will be all single animals or single sex groups.The candidates will have to identify the species and tick the box "male or female"

I dont think you will get pictures of mixed groups as the slides are only scored 1 point per slide . There shouldnt be any "trick " questions either .

16/20 for pass

The ID pictures in your manual are fairly good,just keep working on it .
You,ll be fine !!!


Well-Known Member

When I did mine I spent a lot of time learning all the stuff for the questions and in fact that was easy enough to prepare for. Start learning the4 doe seasons first as they are nearly all the same. Then learn the stags/bucks then do the scots. Take it one lot at a time otherwise its easy to confuse yourself.

With regards the ID i was really nervous because I had only got experience of Roe. To be fair though the slides are all chosen to show the key features. Just spend a bit of time looking at pics of sika/red and fallow hinds as they are the ones that could trip you up.

Few tips;

fallow - longest tails - noticeably long
sika - spots form a line down the side, gland as mentionned by mal and frown
red - tail patch is not outlined by black and is clearly visible from the side of the deer.

As everyone has said though practice your shooting from standing, sitting and prone as its harder than it seems when you're being tested.

I think you are from the North so if you wanted to get together for a beer before to run through some stuff for confidence then pm by all means


Well-Known Member
Sika and red stags that both have 8 points can be distinguished by the brow tine.

Sika, angle between brow tine and beam is less than 90 degrees
Red, angle between brow tine and beam is more than 90 degrees

roe in Nov, Dec, Jan bucks will not have antlers tell the differance by the anal tuche (like a shaving brush on the back of femail and kidney shaped caudal patch on buck.)



Well-Known Member
I too was a bit worried about the deer ID as I'd only ever seen reds, fallow and sika in real life and am in Ireland so we don't (officially) have CWD, roe or Muntjac.

I did it in August last and they said that the photos for the ID were new. However, they were all pretty easy and there were no trick photos at all. Each and every photo had some very obvious key feature quite clearly on display and there was never any room for confusion in terms of sex. If you know all the basic ID stuff then you will have no problems at all.


Well-Known Member
Don't worry Steve - I did mine with John Snowdon last June. They have changed the marking with the ID and John had encountered problems with a group the previous week. We were taken over the ID loads of times and shown lots of slides - you will be okay. Remember key ID points ie roe have 2 white chin spots, sika look like they have a frown mark on their brow and metatarsal glands on hocks, caudal patch on reds goes up onto the back, fallow have a black stripe down a long tail and the black border which surrounds the white caudal patch comes into the white patch at the bottom this is not the case with sika
I got my wife to go on the internet and pull up pictures of deer and then ask me to ID them.
You do not get a lot of time on each slide however we were told that if we did get mixed up with the sequence of slides just raise our hands and we would stop, regroup and move on.
I was apprehensive about attending the course but the small group was really friendly and the pace and course content was just right - I enjoyed it. Good luck.


Well-Known Member
Just one tip on the diffrence between a Sika Hind & Fallow Doe in summer coat, look hard at the ears of each, Sika Hind has bigger fluffier ears, as well as the other tips. Its not a trick question, its just at a quick glance they look very similar.


Well-Known Member
I recently took mine Steve and can honestly say that a person who had never seen a deer in their life would be shown all the slides as mentioned and be talked through the test. Don't be frightened to ask questions if unsure of anything. One common question asked in the test is looking at the rear of a Sika and Fallow, identify each species. You will not see the metatarsal patch on the Sika's hoch, the answer lies in the tail?
You will need to know the open seasons only and no questions are asked on Ireland as TJ stated.
It is so important to study that book. All the answers are in it. Good luck Steve you will be fine.



Distinguished Member
Another thing you can do is look through this site, there are shed loads of pics, both of living and culled animals, try to ID the picture before reading the write up, that will also help, if you ID incorrectly, then look at what made you think it was that species.....


Well-Known Member
2434me said:
It says in the manual,
As from ,1/1/2008
The candidates will be shown 20 slides of the six species of deer.
The slides will be all single animals or single sex groups.The candidates will have to identify the species and tick the box "male or female"

I dont think you will get pictures of mixed groups as the slides are only scored 1 point per slide . There shouldnt be any "trick " questions either .
here are a few pics of deer in different positions and colour variations
the ones you may get on the DSC1 course are probally going to be a little more difficult as they are trying to get you to think about what you are looking at and probaly more red and sika pics
i hav no sika pics at present, so if the ones in the course don't look like any of these they may well be sika
remember this is just a guide to try and help you

muntjac doe


Roe Doe in long grass,

notice the anal tash on the female roe

Fallow buck

fallow pricket

Fallow doe

black fallow doe, notice no white marking around the rump or definate visible tail

red hind

from the rear

hind and calf, notice the colour of the rump

red calf

pay paticular attention to the calf on the left, a lot younger than the rest so has not started to lose it's spots and patch on it's brow could easily make you think it looks like a sika in summer coat at first glance



Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies fellas.

Some really good tips and confidence boosting comments...

I've gone from shitting myself to just being a bit nervous about it...

I'm 42 and still have proper nightmares about school exams.... :(

Thanks again, I have taken it all on board and I'm working through it all....

The Mole

Well-Known Member
Don’t be too worried by the deer ID test – there are no trick pictures and all will have at least some of the species ID features easily visible. Look for:

Sika – pale metatarsal patch on hock, ‘frowny’ face, thin black line down centre of middle-length tail, dark caudal markings extend down almost to the hocks. Brow tines of stags come off main beam at 45 degrees and stags normally only produce 8 point heads. (If the deer is adult and spotted, it can only be fallow or sika!).

Fallow – rather longer tail than sika with thick line down centre (if common or menil variety), distinct upside down horseshoe marking around caudal patch, palmated antlers on bucks (you are not tested on colour variations with fallow and pictures will probably be of the common variety anyway – as with all pictures, all the examiners will want is species & sex)

Red – large deer, short tail, pale or lemony coloured rump patch, brow tines of stags come off main beam at 90 degrees, if more than 4 points on each side of the head it's probably red not sika

Roe – distinct white spots below nostrils, no visible tail, anal tush on does (if you can see the tush it can only be a roe doe!)

CWD – ‘teddy bear’ face, hairy rounded ears, button eyes/nose, short stubby tail, uniform colour, rump habitually higher than shoulders, easily visible canines on mature bucks (which never have antlers)

Muntjac – V shaped marking running up pedicles (buck) or diamond dark patch on forehead (doe), ears almost hairless inside & transluscent, short legs & pig-like appearance, thick mid length chestnut/brown tail with white underside

If the deer is adult and spotted, it can only be fallow or sika!

If the animal is male, there will be clear evidence of antlers, velvet or at least pronounced pedicles; if it’s a CWD buck the canines will be easily visible.

If you go through Stones pictures with these notes, you’ll see how easy it is – honest! And if you have to guess, just eliminate what the picture can’t be of first.

Hope this helps.


Well-Known Member
I've got to say stone that almost all of the pictures on my DSC1 were much easier than the pictures you post. Each and every one of them had some clear and simple identifying feature that was obvious. There really was little scope for a mistake. It must be said, however, that your photos are great and a most useful resource. Here are a few sika photos to fill in that gap:

[edited to add the photos!]


Well-Known Member
deer id

hi steve. with the moles disription & stones pics you wont go far wrong.on the dsc1 coarse we did they went through the discription & the pics before the test.The staff are usually very helpful & will answer any questions you have.Good luck andy ;)


Well-Known Member
when i did my DSC1
most of the pics we had to identify, were mainly of red or sika
and actually were there to try and catch you out, i'm sure of that :lol: :lol:
but what fantastic pics you hav posted
this should really help those that hav never seen all six species to get a better foot hold in the door


Well-Known Member

No need to panic over seasons or ID.

ID; We were told that the factors they are trying to test on "will be quite obvious"! Not likely to see a male without antlers (except CWD of course) and at least one of those factors The Mole has listed will be clearly visible. I set about google for loads of pictures.

Seasons; well England a couple simple rules. All females are the same. As are the males, except CWD bucks that are the same as females and Roe Bucks and they are always in when females are out.

Scotland, Ignore roe to start. All females are the same. All males the same except fallow. Roe you just have to learn but its very similar to england just the bucks go out a bit before. Same rule applies, females are always out when bucks are in.

might help a bit....

The Mole

Well-Known Member
Fo the England & Wales seasons, there are only 3 lots of dates to remember. You can shoot:

Male large deer (red, sika & fallow): from August through to April inclusive
Roe bucks: April through to October inclusive
All female deer & CWD bucks: November through to March inclusive(ie whenever you're not shooting roe bucks - helps to remember!)
Muntjac, male or female - whenever you want!

For Scotland, there's no easy fix and you have to memorise them (honestly, which joker decided on those mid-month dates?). If you want my advice, don't bother with the Irish dates at all - you'll just clutter your head up, they probably won't come up, and if they do it's only worth one point anyway!