Q: I’m involved in air gun sports but would like to move into deerstalking. I’ve read a lot about this but am confused about whether or not I need to get a quailfication — such as the British Deer Society’s Deer Stalking Certificate (DSC) 1 — before I do this. Please can you clarify the position for me so I know what to do to go stalking

A: The straightforward answer is that you do not require a formal qualification to go stalking. While many people who stalk have undertaken training and successfully completed the DSC at level 1 and level 2, there are many who stalk who have not.

Knowledge of a wide range of topics

Stalking is a complex sport, requiring skills, understanding and knowledge of a wide range of topics, from natural history to the use of  rearms, and from legislation, to health and safety to butchery, among many others.

Core skills and knowledge

On setting out on what may well prove to be a long journey, it makes sense to avail yourself of core skills and knowledge, and this is what the nationally available training programmes aim to provide. I would encourage you to take a course as a way into the sport and to help expand your skills.

Go stalking with a professional

The alternative is to find someone who is prepared to give you an introduction to the world of stalking and to take you out with them so that you can benefit from their experience and knowledge, or to go out with a professional on paid stalks. I see from your address that you are based in Scotland, and would remind everyone of the recent change in the law, which requires owners of air firearms to have a licence for these.

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