Deer Stalking Qualifications

Deer Stalking Qualifications (DSQ) exists in the UK to ensure that high standards of effective and humane deer management are maintained amongst professional and recreational deer stalkers in Scotland, England & Wales.

Delivered via the UK Shooting & Hunting Academy.The Deer Stalking Qualification PDS1 Proficient Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 is the DSQ foundation course, and is suitable for beginners who wish to become qualified trained hunters. 

The PDS1 Deer Stalking Certificate has been externally 'Accredited' by the the UK's leading, land-based awarding bodies LANTRA & UK Rural Skills. LANTRA is an awarding body that is regulated by the British Standards Institute and Ofqual.

This nationally recognised deer stalking course, is widely recognised by deer stalkers in Scotland, England & Wales as the crucial first step in becoming a qualified trained hunter. 

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The Proficient Deer Stalker Course widely referred to as the PDS1, is available online to those who require a UK deer management qualification and upon completion, comes with a 'Large Game Meat Hygiene Course' that complies with FSA guidelines and delivers 'Trained Hunter' status. 

The Deer Stalking Certificate is also perfect for those that have been advised by the police to complete a course prior to the granting of a firearms certificate to shoot deer.

The theory element is delivered conveniently via an online, e-learning platform - the UK Shooting & Hunting Academy which imparts information through a series of modules and classes. Uptake of the course is assessed via a series of multiple-choice examinations.

The practical element of the course, which requires that candidates demonstrate that they can handle a rifle safely and shoot consistently and accurately, is then assessed in the field via a series of ‘PDS1 Approved Verifiers’ around the UK.

If you'd like to apply to become an 'Approved Verifier (AV) for the PDS1 follow this link: pds1-approved-verifier-course

Deer Stalking Course Scotland

The PDS1 Deer Stalking Certificate provides the perfect introduction to deer stalking and is a sensible first step for beginners looking to learn how to hunt deer.  It is also ideal for experienced shots wishing to seek a variation to their current Firearm Certificate to shoot deer, and perfect for those hunters travelling from abroad, who wish to learn more about UK deer hunting.   

The DSQ Proficient Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 course syllabus is as follows:


Module 1: Why we shoot deer. The need for deer management in the UK
Module 2: Firearms safety & rifle components
Module 3: Where to place your bullet & variants of shot placement
Module 4: Zeroing and point-blank range
Module 5: Marksmanship
Module 6: After the shot
Module 7: Carcass extraction, handling & inspection
Module 8: Deer identification & ecology
Module 9: UK Legislation
Module 10. Deer Stalking in Scotland
Module 11 Understanding the unique nature of deer stalking in Scotland
Module 12: Buying your equipment and getting out deer stalking
Final Exam

PDS1 Practical Assessment

Element 1: Shooting – During a practical assessment the candidate can demonstrate that they can place a series of well-aimed shots.
Element 2: Safety – During a practical assessment the candidate can demonstrate that they can handle and shoot a rifle safely.

Large Game Meat Hygiene Course Syllabus

Module 1: Hygiene rules and proper techniques for the handling, evisceration, extraction, and transportation of wild game animals after killing.
Module 2: Identifying Normal & Abnormal anatomy, physiology, and behaviour of wild game
Module 3: Pathological changes in wild game due to disease, environmental contamination, and other factors
Module 4: Legislation and administrative provisions on animal and public health, and hygiene conditions governing the placing of wild game on the market
Final Exam

If you’d like to enrol on the deer stalking certificate online and become a trained hunter, simply follow this link to the UK Shooting & Hunting Academy

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To find out more about UK Deer Stalking Qualifications and the PDS1 Deer Stalking Certificate contact: 020 3981 0159 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To enrol on the online deer stalking certificate, simply follow this link to get started: deer-stalking-course

To learn more about UK Deer Management click here: deer-management


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Call us on 020 3981 0159 or drop us a line here with any enquiries or to provisonally book your outing or training course.


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