I still haven't done mine. I started stalking in '95. I did a 2 day course with Herne Woodland and Wildlife and then went on another half dozen outings with them before buying my rifle. I lean't a helluva lot from Trevor Humphrey and Meryck Griffith-Jones, they put me in a good position to go it alone.
But I must get round to the official course soon.
I got mine a few years ago.
Been stalking 10+ years prior to the course though.
I reccomend the CD, you can learn an awfull lot before the course and so not have to stress too much about the exam. It's not that difficult to get 300 out of 300 questions right when you've studied using the CD.
Did the old BDS Deer Management Course - no grand title in the old days - back in 1984 with Dieter Dent at Stockbridge. Course presenters were A list - Richard Prior, Fred Courtier, Peter Baillie etc. Think BDS have now reintroduced the scheme under a LANTRA tie-in?
Took NSCC just as it changed to the DSC/DMQ Pt1 with the knowledgable Andrew Yool at Auchtyre over three weekends. Again blessed with incredible presenters - including the very much missed Jimmy Oswald. I believe Andrew is no longer running the courses though.
Completed Part 2 with John Allan of Aberlour. He now runs brief revision courses and assessment/ test weekends for DMQ1. Working on talking him round to offerring complete courses. He also does DMQ 2 assessment stalks - all up by us in Moray. If interested PM me and I'll pass on contact detail. * see note at bottom.
I took my first course something like 10 years before I actually got round to stalking. However, found the Deer Quest CD very helpful - afterthe event!. The issued manual is good, but it makes a big difference getting out and seeing things in context.
Taking the test seems to divide candidates in two. A lot of 'old sweats' find it very hard to do 'paperwork' stuff and get quite wound up, but are calm taking the shooting test. Others breeze the paper tests and then get the jitters on the shooting!
Argument rages about whether or not such qualifications are the thin end of the wedge etc. But they are incredibly useful in demonstrating good reason, intent and competancy to FAC enquiry officers. A good deal of stalking these days has level 1 as mandatory - a cross over from the insurance front/ H & S. But not least, anything that aids treating the quarry with respect and doing the job right is a move in the right direction.
Just typed this out and then this last bit struck me - so please can a Mod check happy with what I've put. If I have breached any rules, apologies -
I must declare that John Allan is a personal friend and that I also do part-time work for him - both as ghillie and helping out on running said courses, so there is a link there.
Bit of a sore point with me the subject of the changeover from NSCC to DSC/DMQ Pt1. I hold or should I say held the NSCC and was recently informed that it was no longer recognised as a formal qualification and I would need to take the DSC/DMQ Pt1. Apparently there was a period of time where you could get a 'buy' to the new qualification but that has long since passed and I was unaware of it. This situation stinks if you ask me and if my qualification that I paid hard earnt money to take is no longer valid then I am surely entitled to some kind of refund
Can feel for your situation and similiar that hear often. There is a general distrust - not so much for the purpose/ content of the qualification, but more of the admin/ organisation side.
Guarantee 'jobs for the boys' leaves the lips of every old professional stalker that comes on a course at the behest of their estate - 'to prove they can do the job'.
It is a sore point - particularly in view of the current level of cost to take the course.
My view is that such incidences werent so much JFTB etc, but more a reflection of how things started - on a more or less informal basis - and then the organisations realised that something more structured was the only way to give meaning to the system.
I think a good deal of the rules and regs flow down from the educational establishment side of things rather than the individual organisations that run the qualification. Cut offs for previous qualifications etc being part of that. Any betting there will be a requalification test to come?
It can be unreal taking a keeper with 30 years daily working experience through the requirements of current practise. But equally look at the rate that things have changed in recent years - with Food regs etc.
Plus side is the current scheme is recognised and accredited - meaning it is far more likely to transfer as things continue to change - eg the Approved Hunter status requirement.
As it stands, the DMQ system is well respected by authority - and considerably less onerous than some of the European schemes that could have been brought in!