The Deer Sector Competence Working Group is urging deer stalkers in Scotland to undertake one of the available Deer Stalking Certificate 1 (DSC1) or equivalent courses to head off the threat of compulsory testing of deer stalkers in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has challenged the deer sector to increase significantly the voluntary uptake of deer qualifications prior to a review in 2014. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 introduced a requirement that Scottish Natural Heritage must, in 2014, carry out a review of competence among those who shoot deer in Scotland and the effect of such levels of competence on deer welfare. Should voluntary uptake of training and assessment be deemed inadequate the Scottish Government has the powers to introduce a mandatory competence scheme and a register of all who stalk in Scotland.
A spokesperson for the Deer Sector Competence Working Group said:
“We would strongly urge those within the deerstalking community to undertake one of the available courses and acquire the relevant qualifications to demonstrate competency as a priority. The best way to avoid further red tape and regulation being imposed on the industry is for as many deer stalkers as possible to go through the voluntary system as soon as possible and certainly in time for the 2014 review.”
“We would encourage all stalkers regardless of their experience to undertake a DSC 1 or equivalent course. They provide a valuable legislative update, include the sharing of best practice as well as testing deer identification, shot placement and food hygiene amongst other skills.
Details of courses are available from the following organisations:
British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) Scotland www.basc.org.uk/en/in-your-area/scotland/
British Deer Society (BDS) www.bds.org.uk
For further information on what is required for DSC 1 and for contact points for training and assessment please refer to the Deer Management Qualifications Ltd website: http://www.dmq.org.uk/assessmentcentres.htm