Should you do your Deer Stalkers Certificate
We consider the PDS1 and DSC1 Deer Stalking Certificate - Both the Proficient Deer Stalkers Certificate Level 1 (PDS1) and the The Deer Stalkers Certificate level 1 (DSC1) have been a huge success, and for many Police forces in the UK, have been the unofficial requirement for individuals who desire a firearm certificate (FAC) with an entitlement to shoot deer.
In the UK these courses have been key in providing a professional feel to deer stalking and have been responsible for better informing and educating potential candidates about deer management.
At County Deer Stalking we are proud to be running the Proficient Deer Stalkers Certificate Level 1 (PDS1) course Monday - Saturday, every week throughout the year.
The course has been hugely popular and hundreds of candidates have taken advantage of the ease with which the course can be booked and the frequency of available dates.
(Left: The popular PDS1 Certificate. If you'd like to complete your PDS1 Certificate then follow this link for more details: proficient-stalker or call 020 3981 0159 / 0208 239 7311)
Leading on from the PDS1 Certificate is the popular PDS2 Certificate, which is designed for intermediate stalkers who are seeking to develop their fieldcraft and practical stalking skills in the field.
Completion of the PDS2 demonstrates dedicated, live stalking experience that can be obtained over 3 - 12 months of mentored stalking and is a superb way of gaining a substantial level of in-field experience.
For Candidates who have elected to go the DSC1 route, the DSC2 is the next step, however, unlike the DSC1 this second level has not been so widely adopted. It seems that whilst there are obvious advantages to taking your DSC1 there are less advantages to taking the Deer Stalkers Certificate Level 2.
For many the motivation to take the DSC2 arises from a desire to stalk over or lease Forestry Commission land. (DSC2 being the requirement), or alternatively because the individual is a professional stalker and quite simply requires a level of experience that is superior to that of the clients that they are taking stalking.
As an 'Approved Witness' (AW) for deer management qualifications myself, I can see that for most recreational stalkers who have their own land to stalk over, the DSC2 can be an unnecessarily expensive and time consuming business.
In fact, it took me no fewer than ten outings with my chosen Approved Witness before I finally managed to complete the required three Culls or ICR's as they are reffred to. However as a professional guide I had a clear motivation to do it, for many others this is not the case.
Added to this, a recent change to the system has meant that applicants can no longer use an 'Industry Professional' to witness their stalks, but instead must use an 'Approved Witness'. Whilst this has improved the transparency and integrity of the process it has also meant that the process is often more costly.
So why do it? Well as with most things, I suspect that the requirements and constraints on our sport are not going to reduce with time. Indeed looking into the future it is highly likley that more and more constraints will be added to gaining an FAC. I can hear many people groaning as they read this however, the reality is bureaucracy in our sport is unlikley to reduce and so my advice is this. If you already visit a professional stalker who is an AW to do your stalking, then why not do it? Very often it will cost you very little extra and you can get the qualification during the regular course of your outings with little extra effort.
If you are a recreational stalker and have your own ground then ask an AW to visit you. This is often cheaper and you yourself will have a better idea as to how many attempts it might realistically take to complete your portfolio.
Failing that then by all means enjoy your stalking but beware the tide of increased legislation!
If you would like to do your PDS1 Certificate Level 1 or 2 follow this link for more details: proficient-stalker