• My Deer Stalking Certificate, Level 1

    Having been twice invited me up to Haggistan to stalk Red stags, and having had a superb time and taken 4 beasts, the bug bit. I decided to buy myself a stalking rifle as described here.



    The next step, in my mind, was to get some training and a qualification in this litigious and Health & Safety-obsessed era.

    The obvious first step was the Deer Stalking Certificate, Level One, henceforth described as DSC.1

    I joined BASC (10,000,000 insurance is part of the membership package) for 66. Application was on line; my membership was through within hours.

    Looking through the list of DSC.1 venues available, I found that BASC were holding one only a few miles from my home from 19th to 22nd June inclusive. I treated it as an omen and booked it at a cost of 290.

    A few days later my course joining instructions arrived, together with an intimidating bundle of reading material which I was apparently supposed to have read and committed to memory before attending. This comprised the 240-page DSC Level 1 Training Manual and the roughly 40-page Wild Game Guide, which describes hygiene and legal meat sale requirements.

    If you're interested in the level of knowledge required, the question banks can be downloaded from here.

    Hmmm... As a complete novice, there was a lot of work to be done.

    I resolved to wait until one month before the course began, then do 30 minutes study per day. During the last week I would increase that to one hour per day. Absent unavoidable commitments I managed to keep to that.

    Before the course started BASC advised me that the venue had had to be changed for unspecified reasons. The new location was to be Bradshaw's gun shop near the charming town of Oundle in Northants. This business has just moved to a new location in excellent premises, and is well worth a visit if you're in the area.

    Day One arrived, and a very nervous Mirage walked up the stairs to the lecture room, suffering from those "First day at new school" jitters.

    Our instructor was to be a chap called Andy Papworth, a massively-experienced stalker and all-round nice chap.

    My 11 fellow attendees were a varied group including a farmer, an army officer, a grain feed salesman, a carpenter and a civilian employee of the police. A good bunch of blokes.

    Here's an idea of the venue:



    Training aids:





    The targets on which we would shoot for qualification:



    Of the four days, the first 2 were "chalk & talk", consisting of lectures accompanied by PowerPoint presentations. All of the relevant course material was covered, though it would take a brave man to turn up on Day One having done no study and rely on absorbing it all in the classroom.

    Bradshaw's supplied tea, "coffee" ( ) and biscuits. We brought our own food.

    The practical shoot was, typically, held on the crappiest day, with rain being driven by high, gusty winds.



    The "range", looking back from the targets towards the firing points

    The qualification shoot is as follows:

    1. Three rounds prone from 100m to check zero and group size. A 4" group is a pass. If you don't achieve that, you get a total of up to three attempts on the day.

    2. Two rounds prone at 100m against a life-size deer target with a 6" kill zone. The kill zone is faintly marked, and can't be seen through your sights.

    3. Two rounds kneeling at 70m against the same deer target. Sticks or a long bipod may be used as a rest.

    4. Two rounds standing at 40m against the same target. Again, sticks may be used.

    Here's my group for the six shots as described above:



    A nicely-centred, round group of exactly 2"! Phew!



    My targets in situ, the zeroing effort being bottom left



    A dismal pic of me as Andy marks my targets. His congratulatory handshake was very welcome, believe me

    The written exams are described here and I don't intend to reinvent the wheel.

    Continued on page 2.

    mirage

    This article was originally published in forum thread: My Deer Stalking Certificate, Level 1 started by mirage View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. grangerknives's Avatar
      grangerknives -
      Here in the southern states of the US, one goes and buys a high-powered rifle and a bunch of ammo. Then you buy a hunting license with a deer endorsement. At that time they give you a copy of your state's laws and the basic rules of firearms safety. And off you go.

      Typically those who will handle firearms as adults, are taught as youngsters how to properly handle firearms starting from the age of 7 to 12 years old. If you are taught by reasonable people, you'll do well. If you are taught by fools, you will shoot yourself or someone else. One of the things that is sometimes forgotten in the woods is, "only shoot if you SEE a deer. Not if you just HEAR a deer."

      With more freedom comes more risk and more responsibility. Congratulations on your determination and success! Happy and safe stalking.- Paul
    1. RuaridhHunter's Avatar
      RuaridhHunter -
      This is my first post. First of all I would like to ask you to not refer to Scotland as "Haggistan" and to show some respect for the country you feel the need to shoot in. Congratulations on your level 1. I have actually heard of people failing it which may come as a surprise to anyone who's completed it! I was employed as a deerstalker/Grouse keeper in Deeside (Scotland) for years and it's nice to hear people still feel the need to go through some "training" before heading out. I have taken hundreds of guests out stalking and more of them than I care to remember have been abissmal shots with below average fitness. Anyway this I a knife forum after all. What knife are you using for the Gralloch? Ruaridh
    1. arian's Avatar
      arian -
      Quote Originally Posted by RuaridhHunter View Post
      This is my first post. First of all I would like to ask you to not refer to Scotland as "Haggistan" and to show some respect for the country you feel the need to shoot in. Congratulations on your level 1. I have actually heard of people failing it which may come as a surprise to anyone who's completed it! I was employed as a deerstalker/Grouse keeper in Deeside (Scotland) for years and it's nice to hear people still feel the need to go through some "training" before heading out. I have taken hundreds of guests out stalking and more of them than I care to remember have been abissmal shots with below average fitness. Anyway this I a knife forum after all. What knife are you using for the Gralloch? Ruaridh
      Perhaps you should check where Mirage lives . Perhaps you should check where Mirage lived before. Perhaps Haggistan is amusing, wherever you live? Perhaps "hundreds of guests" really means "lots of tourists"?
    1. BorderReiver's Avatar
      BorderReiver -
      Quote Originally Posted by RuaridhHunter View Post
      This is my first post. First of all I would like to ask you to not refer to Scotland as "Haggistan" and to show some respect for the country you feel the need to shoot in. Congratulations on your level 1. I have actually heard of people failing it which may come as a surprise to anyone who's completed it! I was employed as a deerstalker/Grouse keeper in Deeside (Scotland) for years and it's nice to hear people still feel the need to go through some "training" before heading out. I have taken hundreds of guests out stalking and more of them than I care to remember have been abissmal shots with below average fitness. Anyway this I a knife forum after all. What knife are you using for the Gralloch? Ruaridh
      Ach lighten up man. One thing Scots are well known for is the ability to take a joke, don't spoil things for the rest of us.

      As a Scot myself I take no offence at light hearted jokes about God's own country. You know nothing about Mirage's background and it is a wee bit presumptious to jump in with your first post to criticise a long standing, respected member of the forum.
    1. Martyn's Avatar
      Martyn -
      Quote Originally Posted by RuaridhHunter View Post
      This is my first post. First of all I would like to ask you to not refer to Scotland as "Haggistan" and to show some respect for the country you feel the need to shoot in.
      Achhh, half the moderators on this forum are from Haggistan - I least i think they are, I dont speak Jockanese.

      Relax my friend, it's just friendly banter - there's plenty going in the other direction too. It's all good.
    1. Sako85's Avatar
      Sako85 -
      Congratulations on your DSC1 mirage but I have to say I think you were fortunate to be passed on the safety walk which is supposed to be a 100% success rate and regardless of what you have or have not done in the past your performance on the day is what should have been judged. It would be well worth continuing on to try and complete your DSC2, more and more organisations are insisting on this, how long before the Police require it for a deer grant I wonder ? The Forestry Commission now insist on DSC2 for licence applicants and require a shooting test based on the DSC1 shooting test but with only two attempts.
    1. seprim's Avatar
      seprim -
      O U T S T A N D I N G post mirage, really enjoyed it! very clear and detailed. Nice reference to Haggistan btw atbAndrew
    1. colin_y's Avatar
      colin_y -
      Haggistan? Like it you cheeky fecker. Now you have the Level 1 you can move onto Level 2. Best way I found to do it was 3 days hind stalking on the hill. Gets it done and dusted with the minimum of fuss.
    1. IanF's Avatar
      IanF -
      Great write-up but interesting to see the 'now take DSC2' comments.

      DSC2 was originally intended as an opportunity for an 'experienced stalker' to strut his stuff in front of a witness. Demonstrating all round ability, from planning and conducting the stalk to an effective gralloch and retrieval.

      Not sure a novice would be reasonably expected to do that on the hill - even though there are deer aplenty north of the border.

      Rgds

      Ian
    1. Euc.marginata's Avatar
      Euc.marginata -
      Haggistan. I had immediate mental picture of a Mr Connelly dealing with that.
      Onya guys! Best wishes from Oz.
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