Would it help my cause in getting permission to have a rifle if I gained the Deer Stalking Certificate (DSC 1) before applying to the police?
Coincidentally, I am dealing with just this situation while wearing my other hat as Firearms Advisor to the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO).
While some police forces try to insist on DSC 1 before granting authority to acquire a deer rifle, they actually have no right to do so.
Some years ago the Home Office enquired into it and reached the conclusion, having looked at all the evidence, that there was no problem with the use of sporting rifles which could be usefully addressed by imposing a requirement for training.
The only people who seem to think that training should be mandatory are those who make money from it.
And an occasional police firearms licensing department who may try to insist on it just because it is there.
And if you need training before you shoot a deer, why not before you shoot fox, rabbit etc? They are all living creatures.
The bottom line is that the police function in firearms licensing is public safety and the nature of your quarry does not affect that.
Therefore, apart from possibly needing one named quarry to show that you have ‘good reason’ for wishing to acquire a rifle of a particular calibre, what you intend to shoot otherwise is none of their damn business.
Having said that, if you do not have a mentor to show you the ropes you will find the DSC fascinating and immensely useful – provided you don’t end up being lectured by some Jimmy-Know-All who’s just in it for the money.
You may also find that some landowners require it before letting stalking.
But it is not, repeat not, a requirement before the certificate is granted.