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Deerstalking Certificate Level 1 (DSC1) 

A thorough introduction to all theoretical aspects of deerstalking including species identification and aging, deer behaviour, breeding patterns, seasons, UK Law pertaining to deer, Firearms Law and safe usage as well as many aspects of Deer management. There are modules of food safety and chiller and larder procedures and design. Three written exams at the end including one that, if passed (and I did), gains a Wild Game Meat Handling Certificate.

Deerstalking Certificate Level 2 (DSC2) 

 A practical assessment carried out by the DSC candidate and assessed by a British Deer Society (BDS) Approved Witness (AW). The candidate demonstrates and carries out three successful stalks commencing with equipment preparation, through to identifying a suitable cull animal, establishing all safety requirements are met, taking the shot, field gralloching, identification of disease or absence of disease right through to hygienic transportation to a larder and lardering procedures. All practical elements are underpinned by questioning at suitable points by the approved witness.

Deer Management Qualification (DMQ)  

A classroom based course covering Deer Management modules including deer census and cull-planning techniques, forestry management and identification of effects of deer and effects of culling on biodiverse environments (deer impact assessments). Managing stakeholder (landowner, other interested parties (pheasant shoots etc)) expectations, implications and opportunities of deer management. Setting up and management of environments to encourage or discourage deer. The 3-day course ended with a 2hr written exam – passed with distinction

Assistant Manager Authorised – AM(A) – with Defence Deer Management (DDM) 

 I have also passed the DDM approved training course – roughly 18 months of practical supervised deerstalking completing numerous stalking logs (one completed every time we go out – I wrote 34 which was over 100,000 words in total)  and achieving all the Learning Objectives outlined in the DDM trainee logbook. Having completed this I am now an Assistant Manager (Authorised) meaning I am qualified to carry firearms entirely unsupervised on MoD Land (I shoot on Salisbury Plain) and independently select and cull wild deer as part of the management plan agreed annually between Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and DDM. I take part in the deer censuses and impact assessments that inform this plan.

Open Firearms Certificate 

My firearms certificate comes with an open condition meaning I can, independently of the Police, assess whether land is suitable (safe backstops, levels of public access, type of ground, acreage) to shoot on. Without this condition a landowner would have to get the Police to assess whether I could manage the deer there.

A breakdown of my liability coverage

Full Public & Products Liability Insurance – £10m per occurrence or subsequent occurrence arising out of original event. Arranged through British Deer Society specifically to cover fieldsports and subsequent venison production. I’m only covered up to £5k of earnings per annum at the moment but can easily increase the cover level (and add a commercial element to cover taking clients out stalking) to match turnover if and when required.