Youth Development

Youth Development

DAGSE Youth Development Program

DAGSE is committed to a youth development program. Young men and women who would like to enter the world of stalking have many obstacles in their way:

  • Finding people who will assist in their education
  • The limited number of places to develop experience in a safe and controlled environment.
  • The high cost of stalking experiences

DAGSE offers mentoring by experienced stalkers who can demonstrate a number of skills required to assist in:

  • FAC applications
  • Supervision of formative stalking experiences. Skills acquired will allow progression through the practical and the theoretical elements of the DSC1 trained stalker qualification


Initially trainees would accompany trained stalkers to observe the skills and patience required. The trainee will learn to identify and sex deer and to understand the criteria for cull selection. If a deer is culled the trainee would participate in carcass extraction and preparation for entry into the food chain (the “gralloch”). During the gralloch the key principles of meat hygiene and disease identification would be demonstrated in preparation for DSC1 certification.

The process of stalking deer can appear romantic to some and exciting to others but at the end of the day it is necessary to perform the gralloch and the reality of this may be the deciding factor of whether a person really wants to progress to being a deer stalker

Then the trainee will accompany a stalker, possibly without the guide taking a rifle. They will discover:

  • How to successfully stalk through woodland and across open land.
  • How to identify deer tracks and signs of deer activity (spoor).
  • Learn how to assess the age of “spoor” and hence to predict deer behaviour.
  • The “dry” stalk will hopefully reinforce the knowledge acquired on deer identification, cull criteria, and safe backstop etc.

A trainee who has demonstrated the patience and aptitude to make it this far will now progress to live fire training.


rifle training
Full bore training rifle training will be with deer legal calibres e.g .308,.222,.243 etc.

Gun safety is paramount and a full and detailed safety briefing will be carried out.

Firearms transportation, handling, ballistics and the law will be demonstrated and discussed.

Before shooting quarry, the trainee must demonstrate the safety and accuracy necessary to ensure a clean and humane dispatch.

A trainee will start on a low recoil rimfire in .22 or .17HMR calibres. These allow a demonstration of ballistics in terms of windage, bullet drop and of ricochet. The trainee must be able shoot accurately at various ranges from prone (off a bipod), kneeling and standing positions.

Only then will the trainee be able to attempt the stalking of small quarry e.g. rabbits, squirrel and hare.

At all times the stalker must have consideration to gun safety and the welfare of the animal. A quick and clean dispatch of the quarry is the goal of any genuine hunter.

A trainee will need to achieve an accuracy of three shots within a 100mm target at 100M from both prone position and high seat

A trainee will need to achieve an accuracy of three shots within a 100mm target at 100M from both prone position and high seat

Then they will be allowed to take their first shot on a deer under supervision and from a high seat.

Only after a clean and controlled kill from a high seat and clean gralloch, will a trainee be allowed to progress to stalking and shooting from sticks or natural resting point, again under the strict supervision of a qualified stalker.

After this introductory training all trainees will be supported in their attempt at the DSC (Deer Stalking Certificate) level 1 training course. Again a mentor will be assigned to each trainee to assist in preparation for the course.

Once DSC1 level is achieved the trainee will be allowed, at the discretion of the cull coordinator, to stalk or shoot from a high seat.

Stalking from High Seat

Probationary Membership and Appraisal

At DAGSE we endeavour to prioritise stalking opportunities for new stalkers. Double high seats will be used to facilitate supervision.

Available places are limited and demand is high.

Applicants are welcome to contact us to discuss their wish to join.

Then they will be asked to provide a CV emphasising their reasons for joining our group. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and if successful will be invited to attend a stalk as an observer and have the opportunity to meet other members of the group.

The group will decide whether a one year probationary membership will be offered. The trainee will be appraised after six months. Areas for development will be discussed e.g

  • Firearms safety
  • Ability to be a team player
  • Commitment to the group in terms of attending stalks, work days and functions
  • Contribution to the group and the group experience

For further information and an application form please write to us using the form on our CONTACT page.