The first in a series of presentations organised to mark the milestone of 20,000 people passing the voluntary deer stalking award DSC1 has been hosted by BASC Northern Ireland at Stormont.
The Deer Stalking Certificate 1 (DSC1) – has been awarded by Deer Management Qualifications (DMQ) – the major provider of such awards in its field.
The presentation was made at a meeting of the NI Assembly’s All Party Group on Country Sports by chairman Danny Kinahan MLA. Mr Kinahan presented Reverend Stephen McWhirter, who has recently been awarded the DSC1 and who was chosen by DMQ to be a representative ambassador, with a framed commemorative certificate. Three further presentations are due to take place in Scotland, England and Wales next month.
Andrew Hoon, DMQ chief executive, said: “We are delighted that the first of four events being hosted to commemorate the milestone of 20,000 successful candidates has been held and the first of our representative ambassadors has been presented with his certificate. DMQ is immensely proud that so many people have come forward and sought assessment of their competence. We remain confident that many more people will undertake the DSC awards in the future. DSC1 gives you the basic knowledge – theoretical and practical – and the more advanced DSC2 is based on in-field, witnessed assessment.”
Danny Kinahan MLA said: “It gave me great pleasure to mark the 20,000th Deer Management Certification at this event in Northern Ireland and to see that there is such a great interest in the preservation, control and management of deer populations and the environment in which they thrive. This is an excellent initiative of voluntary training which was set up by the sector to ensure high standards and I hope that that the scheme goes from strength to strength.”
The DSC qualification assesses the competence of the stalker in a number of areas including deer biology and ecology, the law, stalking techniques and taking the shot, deer identification, safety, shooting and large game meat hygiene, which ensures carcasses are fit to be used as venison. In addition it delivers awareness and best practice in animal welfare.
The forthcoming presentations will be held in:
- Scotland on Friday 4th July at The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Scottish Game Fair at Scone, hosted by GWCT.
- England on Friday 18th July at The CLA Game Fair at Blenheim, hosted by The British Deer Society.
- Wales on Tuesday 22nd July at the Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells, hosted by BASC Wales.
The photograph shows (left to right) Laura Morrison (BASC NI), Philippa Bursey (BASC DMQ representative), Paul Givan (chairman of the NI Committee for Justice), Danny Kinahan (chairman of the All Party Group on Country Sports), Paul Frew (chairman of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development) and award recipient The Reverend Stephen McWhirter pictured following the presentation which took place during a meeting of the All Party Group at Stormont.