dsc level 1/2 - why take?


Well-Known Member
hello all,
i have been on this site for some time now and read a lot of articles and contributed myself.
i see a lot of people on here have taken there dsc 1&2 and i was just wondering wether they have done this as they have 'WANTED' to take the courses or if they have done it as they feel they 'NEEDED' to take the courses???
i want to express my feelings regarding this without being out of line and upsetting people.
i have been shooting now for over 25 years and deer stalking for over 15 years and i do feel i am an experienced and safety conscious person.
i myself have not taken either course and my reasons are that until it is law im afraid a certificate is not going to make me more safety conscious than i already am, it wont make me a better shot than i already am(i do have my misses like everyone else!! ;) )
and im sure it will not make me understand the movement of deer any more.....that on its own is a mystery!!
maybe you guys are just looking to the future but after speaking with a few of you in the forum, im sure the knowledge you have did not come from taking the dsc level 1&2 courses.
no disrespect to people that run these courses, i have heard they are very interesting but my own opinion like i say, until it becomes law my personal knowledge and experience will come from the days i spend in the fields/woods etc amongst the quarry i shoot!!
like i said, i would be very interested to hear peoples views on why they took the courses.......WANTED or NEEDED!!
all the best



Well-Known Member
With most of the big Forestry companies you will need a minimum of DS1 to stalk on there ground, if it is Forestry commission land then it is level 2. So unless you stalk deer on farm land you really have to have one of them.

I did mine because I wanted to know the theoretical side of deer stalking and I have no regrets personally in taking the DSC.

Best rgds



Well-Known Member
Hi Duggers,
I took the course about ten years ago. I'd just left the Forces and wanted to get into Environmental work, 'Rangering' or something. A friend of mine at the BDS was running a course and suggested that it would be a good move as I had very much enjoyed my time working with the Rangers on the deer at the estate he was manager of. I enjoyed the course and there was some very 'Old and bold' stalkers on it i must say. I knew nothing of deer and had to work hard at it. We all passed with high scores and my interest in deer grew into the rabid interest I have now. It helped me understand deer but not as much as this site and its members have.
I want to do my DSC2 but have mixed feelings about it as I think it is expensive and I'm not sure that it proves anything, I know stalkers with the DSC2 that can't stalk for toffee!. A good reference from a land owner would be just as good. I think we need 'best practice' and health and safety but I would prefer this to be in the form of a Deer Management NVQ.

Just my humble opinion Ladies and Gents!


Well-Known Member
hi thar, all my stalking is farm land and adjacent woods so it is taken on an understanding with the farmer, i do understand that forestry commision require the dsc,s but as i do not shoot on business run land then i shall carry on as usual.
thanks for your input!!
all the best


Well-Known Member
hi beowulf,
from your posts i can see you have a high passion for deer and conservation and understand why you may want to take the course, i must admit the cost was always a thing for me too, you have to pay for the priveledge of a guy who probably has no more experience(in some cases, not all....said to cover my arse!!!) to tell you about what you already know!!
at the end of the day to summarise........deer stalking requires a person to be safety conscious, a reasonable shot and at the end of the day a general conservationist whos interests are not to wipe deer off the planet but to manage them to a reasonable standard!!
thanks for your reply
all the best



Well-Known Member
Hi Duggers,
I really feel that a book should be available that all new stalkers can get hold of and read. Yes their are lots of books, I think I have read most of them! But a stalking/deer management manual with good pictures and step by step intructions. I must say that I wasn't impressed with the BDS's manual for the DSC1 course, I hope that its got better since I took the course.


Well-Known Member
I think the DS2 has lost its way, :cry: it was supposed to be a test for stalkers that had gained experience in the field, but now you have people shooting their first three deer on there level two assessment. :eek: little weight seems to be given to the portfolio any more. Personally I would like to see the whole thing looked at again and only people who have say a minimum of 50 deer in there portfolio be allowed to do there DS2.

It would then reflect that a person gaining this qualification has some practical stalking experience no just shot 3 deer and read up and watched DVDs until enough had sunk in. :evil:

Never happen of cause too much money would be lost by the BDS and BASC. :evil:

Best rgds



Well-Known Member
I am an examiner for professional medical qualifications and there is quite a good reason to take a formal qualification once in a while. My argument is that a update and refresher on safety and the every changing laws pertainig game management is never a waste of time. Most people think they are more up to date than they really are as it forces you to look at areas of the profession you may not even know about.

I think if your living depends on deer management than DSC2 is a good/necessay thing to have but I am not sure the qualification is that practical.
1. I would like to see a minimum portfolio of 25 deer shot + records before applying.
2. Some of the content appears dogmatic and obscure
3. The assessment technique may not be practical with those who have difficult ground to manage or where numbers are low (sometimes a function of good management). I know on my patch it could take either a day or 18 months to get the witnessed stalk depending on organisation.

I personally would recommend the DSC1 for the amateur but I* see no value in DSC2 unless you wish to stalk FC land.



Well-Known Member
As a total novice , I took my DSC1 before I started stalking as although I have been shooting for years, deer were a totally new ball game for me.
Yes it was quite expensive but for a novice with no other starting options I believe that it is good grounding as I personally learnt alot of the theory side. I believed that I should have some understanding of my quarry before I started out.
I was also of the opion that if I had the chance to approach any new land owner searching for some stalking it might improve my chances. ( Well that ones hasn't quite worked out yet, but hey, we all have to start somewhere & that is on the bottom rung.)
Saying that I have been out with a stalker ( friend of a friend) a couple of times & I learnt an incrediable amount in those outings.
If a novice gets the chance to get under the wing of an experienced stalker or even just to go out once in a while, my advice is jump at it.
No paperwork will ever replace experience in my opion, you only learn hands on.


Well-Known Member
Hi all,

Going to take my DSC1 soon as I have the opportunity to do some culling for N.E in the future, so its a must. I dont feel from what I have been told that it will reveloutionise my views, but you never know, and in this day and age you need a bit of paper for everything! As a op's manager for a large transport company dont I know about it.

The one thing that worries me is the crop of new courses that seem to be about, mainly on marksmanship, and rifle handeling etc. I believe in some areas that local licensing are insisting on one of these being done before granting a FAC. How long before they are necessary for renewals? I this the case?

Dont get me wrong I am a very safety consious shooter, but I just get the impression that some companies (no names) are attempting to cash in on this letigious and red tape bound society of ours, and making a rod for our backs in the process.



Site Staff
The problem of DSC qualifications is a tricky one. To say that any qualification in any undertaking is a good thing applies pretty much across the board. The sort of acceptance that any reasonably minded person would make. Then, and this is only my opinion, the ugly little bugger called profit managed to squeeze himself into the equation. The DSC level 1 became a must have before you could shoot on certain grounds or be qualified for certain leases. I'm guilty of getting mine for this reason.

Then some smart arsed F.L.O. spotted another good use for it, "you of course must have a DSC level 1 before you can get a centrefire rifle for stalking, it's the law". It's not the bloody law at all, it is some smart bugger going into a firearms department of a Police Force and re-arranging the shelves to his benefit. "Look at the new idea I have had with regard to monitoring the suitability of the applicants for a FAC Sir", and Sir replies, "well done you this will look good on your record at the next promotion board"

Now DSC 2 is becoming the Holy Grail. I agree with professional stalkers having it in their armoury, it is another indication of the commitment they show towards their career and client. Those people, along with others who actually need it for work, apart why do the rest of us stalkers need it?

Are we back to greed again? There are a good many syndicates that are bought up by rich people with guns who fancy they would like to shoot a deer every now and again, I describe them like that because I cannot bring myself to call them stalkers. When they find out that a DSC 2 is required, they find themselves a nice two week course somewhere and get one, it is not a qualification it's a bloody fashion accessory.

Why the powers that be cannot recognise that stalking as a hobby is a hobby that is taken up only by people who are committed is beyond me. To get yourself equipped, even with not very good gear, is going to have a cost attached. To take the plunge into the stalking pool is not a decision that is taken lightly, people study it, ask questions, read books, go out with other stalkers, buy themselves a stalk somewhere, or are lucky enough to be born into an environment where stalking is they next thing after walking. There is a lot of time and effort put into making the decision as to whether or not we are going to take up the sport, then comes the commitment to get started. This is when obstacles start being put in your path, and I am afraid that we as a group tend to give in to them.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that every application should be granted, there is in place a perfectly good system of checks designed to test a persons suitability to possess a firearm, and this as it should be. It is the additional burden of enforced qualifications, that are not really essential for stalkers that I find annoying. On top of that it all has the unpalatable whiff of greed about it.

Mind you I enjoyed doing my Level 1.

Rant over, you may now abuse me, but only if you have been on the level 1 abuse course. :eek: :eek:



Site Staff
I agree with many of the comments made on this thread, in particular the points raised regarding Level 2 by Thar and MarkH. I personally have both Level 1 and 2.

Whilst agreeing with Level 1 being a reasonably sound course for novices who are very new to stalking and deer management, I feel that Level 2 is badly designed. Shooting 3 deer in the presence of a qualified witness means very little in the world of stalking. I wholeheartedly agree with Thar in that a person's portfolio should include past experience on a number of deer over and above three, this should be supported by letters/reports, from deer managers, stalkers and estate/land owners, plus cull records backed with photographs. To my mind it should also be various species as well. After all stalking a Red Hind in winter on a Scottish hillside is completely different to stalking a Muntjac in Northamptonshire in early winter. Or for that matter stalking and accessing a Chinese Water Deer buck is different to taking a Sika Stag in the rut.

What's to stop some people shooting 3 animals in 1 day over three seperate stalks in a deer park? This proves nothing in my book, and there are many people/businesses willing to charge exhorbitant amounts to get you through your Level 2!! Which many folk cant afford.

After a considerable number of years stalking I decided to take Level 1 because I felt that eventually the government will make it compulsary, as similar EU countries have done. Plus as I run a business that takes mostly overseas clients stalking in the UK and abroad I felt it right I should have something to show them on paper if asked. I was lucky in that I had plenty of stalking for me to be assessed on Level 2. But due to the form not being filled in correctly by the witness, I and 2 other friends, one of whom is an experienced stalker had a hells own game with BASC, who to be honest were bloody useless. The whole affair was sorted out by BDS and after another simulated stalk, and 30 questions, plus larder work we passed.

What made this whole affair more laughable was that both the examiners, especially one had done far less than myself, the other who I knew slightly helped me out along with 6 other rifles on a huge Red Deer cull about a year later (total culled 180) out of an historical cull of 200 head, his first major stalk on Red Deer in the highlands. The other guy had only just shot his first Sika that year, and nearly fell off his chair when he asked me how many Sika I had culled over the years with clients. At the time I was managing a 12000 acre estate in Scotland with an annual cull of 75 head a year including Reds and Sika, and also responsible for the hind syndicate I had formed.

In general I think Level 1 is a good idea, but Level 2 is and as far as I am concerned still a bit of a joke. Most novices learn more by going out with an experianced stalker than they ever will from a course. But then isn't it that the way with everything these days? A piece of paper with a stamp of approval seems to carry more weight than 20 plus years of experience? Perhaps I am a bit of a dinosaur, however to me practical experience and the school of hard knocks outwieghs all the paper work and theory, hands on stalking is always the way to learn.

The Mole

Well-Known Member
DSC1 - an excellent introduction to best practice in stalking
DSC2 - as it stands, all it proves is you've shot three animals and lardered them efficiently. Redesign badly needed ...........


Compulsory stalker training arrives by the back door? Yes. Ask the H&S nazis and the firearms departments - a gift to them. Doubtless this wasn't intended, but a lot of us saw it coming.

I'm afraid it's too late now. If you want to stalk singlehanded on many estates there's no escaping the need to have at least Level 1, and probably 2 as well. We may as well get used to it.


Well-Known Member
hi duggers
i only took the course bcause my firearms officer said i had to and pass or he would not be able to renew my licence
i did not know any better then and basc /bds were on the side of the law (firearms dept) so i had no one to turn to
since i hav had it everthing is easy from booking stalking to variations and the most important hassle free renewal
as for level 2 that is another story, try getting your ph status in africa the things they have to acheive
i hav my trained hunter cetificate,you try seperating the wet pheasants from the dry :lol:
sorry food higyene 1and2


Well-Known Member
Hi all

I did my level 1 nearly 10 years ago and there were 2 members of Avon & Som licencing dept doing it to see what it was about funny that now if you haven't got it or a mentor A & S wont give you a ticket for a deer calibre rifle.
My level 1 was run by BDS with very knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers and everyone said they learnt something.

I have Level 2 but was in a lucky position that it only cost the registration and admin charge, I think its just a license to print money if you're an accredited witness just look at the adds in the shooting press.

3 stalks 3 deer proves nothing.

just my feelings of it.


Well-Known Member
I look on dsc 1 as similar to a driving licence, anyone can buy a car,
unless the landowner knows you, how can they tell if you are safe?
their insurance will ask what PROOF they have.


Well-Known Member
Some very good posts here indeed! Its been mentioned before but I must say that getting an experienced stalker to take you under his wing is the best training for any novice. Sikamalc and JayB have both filled this roll for me as did the chap who got me stalking in the first place. Add to that the many stalkers off this site who have took me stalking and I think that I have had a very good education in Deer Management. I think that this approach is a thousand times better than the DSC2 with all its twists and turns.


Well-Known Member
thankyou to all for your replies,
listening to what you all have to say, im afraid i am still stuck in my ways, the dsc1 from what i can make out means absolutely nothing to a stalker of experience and the dsc2 means even less!!!!
at the end of the day a piece of paper will not rule over experience and if you were to go back 15 years it was down to a persons attitude, experience and dedication aswell as conservation that secured him stalking rights to a bit of land, its the same old story im afraid, get a group of enthusiastic people together who enjoy what they do and.........'oh, lets make them payfor it!!'
i have listened to peoples views and lets just say that people had not heard that if you do not take your dsc1 you may not get your firearm renewed, you will never get any land to shoot over, would anyone really be bothered with these course??
i will stress again to all the people out there that do actually offer these courses that i know you are offering a very good course for the novice but for those who have been stalking for many years, why not leave us alone and if you have to inforce these courses, make them only applicable to 'NEW' fac for deer applications only!!
just my view on the situation so please dont take offence :D



Well-Known Member
I think it is very important to bear in mind how all this effects younger stalkers. If what everyone says is correct it is pretty much mandatory for a FAC to be granted the applicant has to obtain a DSC1, which costs about £275. The licence itself costs about £56, and a day out with a proffessional to vet you is normally required, at a minimum of £150 (unless you are lucky enough to have a proffessional stalker as a friend). So about £480 before a rifle/scope, ammo, cabinate etc? And the goverment wants more deer culled? An absolute joke.

I am 24 and have had my rifles for 3 years, and I did not need all this when I got my licence, so it must be a relatively new development (in my area for sure). If I had, the cost would have been far to much.

I think it is very important as stalkers to choose our courses very carefully, as we cannot afford (literally) to have any more condition attached to FAC's or renewals.

The DSC1 is not a bad idea, and I know many of the members of BDS training that worked very hard on it, but I hate to be forced to part with this kind of money when I feel that I a capable enough already.

As I said in an earlier post, the day that these so called rifle handeling courses come into play will be the last straw.