We’ll be posting regular updates here on our blog, so just scroll down to see what’s new! Due to time constraints and space issues on the site, however, we will no longer be posting our daily sabbing reports on our blog, only the ‘more exciting’ stories. You can keep up-to-date with our daily goings on on our facebook page (which you should be able to view even without your own facebook account). There are also information pages which you can click on where we’ll be putting up information about hunts, hunt sabotage, the law and so on so that some information is always easily accessible. We hope you find this page useful and interesting. Thanks for looking! 3C
An interesting day out with the Ledbury Hunt today who met at the Robin Hood in Castlemorton, right by the Malvern Hills. Soon after arriving at the meet (and having to do the job of the whippers-in for them, keeping the hounds off the road and slowing down cars) we were joined by Bath Hunt Saboteurs and Bristol Hunt Saboteurs. The hunt set off first for the Common, back to an area where they encouraged the hounds on to a fox just a few weeks back.
This time, however, the hunt headed right up in to the hills, trying to put some distance between us and them. Foot sabs went inland, some checking on known setts in the area and two 3C sabs decided to keep an eye on the quadbikes (one which had terriers on it). We caught up with them quickly and some of the guys called the others, telling them to “get the dogs out and f**king get out of there” (or something along those lines…). The other quad soon returned and they sped off back down the hill, sabs finding a badger sett when they followed the tracks back.
The quads came back for a second go just as we were leaving the area, so back up the hill we ran, stopping a second attempt to flush / dig-out. Meanwhile, Bristol and Bath sabs were keeping an eye on the hunt which had gone back down towards the Common. Once we were sure the quads weren’t coming back yet again, we started to make our way back to the hunt, hoping we’d made the right call to leave. Suddenly, hounds were speaking and seemed to be coming towards us. Getting to a good vantage point, one sab noticed the fox first and ran to cover his line with citronella spray, the other filming and informing the rest of the sabs. The fox gave himself a decent headstart, hounds being stalled further when they reached the citronella, but huntsman Mark Meladay soon encouraged them on to where he thought the fox had run, telling the sab with the spray that he would knock him the f**k out.
And so back into the hills. Another 3C sab radio’d through to say she’d head up to the area where the terriermen had gone for the sett with another sab whilst the rest headed into the hills with us. Terriermen were once again spotted in an area, so one of us climbed a hill to flush them out, ensuring no more dig-out attempts were in play. Meanwhile we believe the fox gave hounds the slip and they were now drawing an area right by the British Camp, hoofprints all over footpaths next to signs stating “no horseriding on this footpath”. Locals, families, walkers and bikeriders were commenting on the hunt, in particular the sinister appearance of masked men speeding around on quadbikes with no number plates…
Some more drawing took place back down near the Common once more and there was a small discussion regarding public vs private land (FYI the Ledbury still haven’t apologised to the landowner in Eldersfield whose land they trespassed on on Christmas Eve) leaving a 3C sab with a bust lip, but very little more happened with regards to chasing foxes from then on, hounds not picking up properly again. The hunt packed up around 4 o’clock, supporters and terriermen obviously feeling frustrated as they threw a container of urine over the 3C driver as she picked up her car, burning her eye as it was highly concentrated, just as the hunt were about to pack up…
All in all a pretty decent day, good teamwork and good calls made. Thanks to our friends from Bath and Bristol for coming over for the day, it was a good’un! To give us a hand getting out to the Ledbury more often, share or donate with this link: paypal
3C sabs headed out to a few different places yesterday for the Boxing Day meets with two of us going to the Ross Harriers, having said hello to the Ledbury Hunt in town on the way.
The Ledbury huntsman Mark was obviously still upset by the killing of the fox on Christmas Eve, making a comment to one sab about making gravy out of the “giblets” that sabs had picked up after the kill (see our last posts for pictures) with his sidekick Tim (a whipper-in) making a similar comment to the other sab. ‘Cooksey’ drove by with terriermen-types as usual in his vehicle, trying to hide their faces.
As we headed off to the Harriers in Ross, one of our regular sabs hitched a ride into Ledbury to see the hunt off. Mark spotted him in the crowd, pointing at him and loudly stating “that man is an anti” to the people all around him. Tim, meanwhile, was calling Cooksey and one of his boys in to try and intimidate him… the sab then managed to get the guy’s face on camera. Oops. Looking around the crowd, there seemed to be a lot of people out who never actually bother to go to a normal Ledbury hunt meet. So much for hundreds of people supporting the hunt – proper support isn’t about showing up in town to something conveniently placed and timed on the way down to the local pub!
Over in Ross-on-Wye, the market place was less busy than we had anticipated with many of the people looking like they’d just stopped by whilst going out for a coffee or to the shops – some even complaining about the lack of parking when heading for their morning coffee. Hounds left some poo outside shops and in and around the crowd, people being happy for the dogs to jump up on their legs and get attention until some realised that they had poo on their paws. Instead of a clever “clean-as-you-go” policy, it was left for a considerable time then cleaned up after the hunt had moved off (though how they picked some of the more watery stuff up we don’t know…). Huntsman Simon and huntmaster Anna found complaints by locals about the poo funny… What mature people.
The hunt itself felt like a bit of a non-event for much of the day, although as we always try to make clear, if you’re not with all of the hounds all of the time, you can’t promise that it was a no-kill day. With foot-sab still being injured-foot-sab she was happy that she ended up inland for so long, the hunt drawing and re-drawing the same covert and fields surrounding it for around 2.5 hours(!) Car support and even members of the field can’t have found that particularly interesting. They did pick-up a few times and even chased, but considering fox-hunting was always about the long chases across large amounts of land, it’s certainly changed a lot in this part of the world! To be fair to the hunt, it was wet and they seem to have lost a lot of support and therefore land recently, so they’re doing their best… We’re just wondering how the rest of the season will go.
We’ve made a silly video about the day, so check it out. What else can you do on a dark Boxing Day night? There’s nothing upsetting in it unless you’re scared of poo…
The Ledbury Hunt met in Eldersfield today, Christmas Eve. We were with them on and off all day. This video shows sabs finding the hunt in Tirley, unfortunately during the aftermath of a kill. The video shows what it shows. Some of the photos may be upsetting to some people: Facebook Video
Two sabs from 3C headed out to Pigeon House Farm in Eldersfield where the Ledbury Hunt would be meeting. Support vehicles crammed into the small country roads to see the hunt off. They went straight into a field by the farm and began to draw a stretch of rough vegetation but a member of the hunt rode quickly to Mark’s side, talking to him and pointing the opposite way and Mark gathered the hounds and took them in that direction. They must have spotted the trail-layer running that way… Mark’s son Samuel attempted to block the road to us, but his pony was more than happy to follow the sabs’ suggestion to “walk on”.
The scent wasn’t fantastic for much of the day as there was a mix of heavy rain (hailstones at one point) and then warm sun but the hounds inevitably picked up on a fox in Berth Hill. Sabs had just jumped out of the vehicle near to hunt support on the East of the hill when a fox came running towards them. He jinked through the hedge and crossed into another field further down the road, his line covered quickly by citronella. Mark gathered the hounds and brought them down to the road to try and pick up the scent – it is seen as bad huntsmanship if a huntsman has to take his hounds to a scent instead of casting them and letting them find it themselves… They lost his scent for some time and sabs got to meet a very upset landowner who says the hunt trespass on her land everytime they are in the area. She was having to shoo hounds off her land at the time. Pro- or anti-hunt, it doesn’t matter; she was worried about her sheep and they’re the reason the hunt shouldn’t be there. Was there an apology from Mark? Or any of the huntmasters? We’ll see – ex-master Roger Warner was the only one who seemed reasonable when sabs explained the situation.
With foot-sab being injured-foot-sab for the day, less running than usual took place and this meant we couldn’t be right with the hunt for some points of the day. We did manage to check on a number of “at-risk” setts and drains, however, but just as we were talking about the legendary “3-o’clock fox” and left a drain to go and find the hunt again in Tirley, we found the aftermath of a kill. Hounds were circled around ‘something’ in a vegetable field just off the road and one of the masters was shaking his hand at someone in a “go, go, go” shooing-away frantic sort of way… Injured-foot-sab ran to the field, ducking under the heads of the master’s horse and another pony which had been moved into her way. As she filmed a young man (pictured) picking something up from the floor, next to huntsman Mark and the hounds, a supporter walked into the way of her camera.
It was a toss-up between running to the scene-of-crime or stopping to film with 20 or so support close behind her and walking into the field, but the film still shows what it shows – the young man passes the body (which the hounds are still very interested in) to Mark who rides off at speed – and the stills and bits of body found confirmed our suspicions that a fox had been killed. It’s a shame the footage wasn’t clearer, but these things happen. Terriermen, when confronted down the road, kicked mud at us and sped off down the road – what are you hiding boys?
The hunt packed up very soon after with Mark disappearing into Townstreet Farm as soon as he jumped off his horse (probably needed to get out of his blood-soaked jodhpurs…) and we checked on another “at-risk” drain, meeting the owner of the land – who presumably had given the terriermen from a few weeks ago permission to flush a fox from the drain using Nel the terrier… No, that was her husband; she was quick to dob him in.
Whilst we were in the field after the hunt had packed up, three masked men (including one of the terriermen and another boy who used to ride the quad) and another man arrived. We left the field, more internal organs in hand, the man confirmed he owned the land and he had let the Ledbury illegally hunt on it and we returned home. Longer video to follow someday soon.
The Ledbury seem to have a high turnover of terriermen these days…
The Ledbury met at Pauntley Court in the Gloucs cull zone on Monday 21st December and, mysteriousy, the terriermen came very close to a badger sett, promptly masked up and drove away from a sab standing nearby. They then had some fun digging up an old bottle and driving the quad on the heels of the sab. They were overheard at one stage saying on the phone that they couldn’t do something cos the antis were about. The hounds rioted on a muntjac from the old railway track and were promptly stopped rioting by Tim Pearce May and the terriermen so they can stop them….when they want to. Mark took his hounds off at some speed to the back of Leadon Vale Farm where we caught up with him again. A fox was seen breaking covert heading towards Pauntley School and the line was doused in citronella. As it happened hounds did not pick up.
With scent being bad Mark got down and dirty with the hounds wading through some brambles and another muntjac was put up and ran to safety. The terriermen arrived and threatened to stay with the sabs all day which would have been great (apart from the incessant whining about being filmed) because then we could keep an eye on them. Alas they were not true to their word and they all ran off. The next time we saw them was as they marked a fox to ground and they tried some skulduggery which included dropping off one terrierman “covertly” to where the fox had escaped. He was soon joined by sabs and ran away very fast. They seemed to draw Ryton Coppice blank and then there was some more illegal hunting at Cobhill Rough before they finished in the dark.
The Ledbury Hunt met at Tweenhills Stud Farm, owned by one of the masters David Redvers. He is well known in hunting circles for being one of the gang that invaded the House of Commons in a pro hunt stunt to try and stop the Hunting Act being passed. He is also closely associated with the pro-hunt ‘Felix the Fox’ logo. David made himself useful by assisting a sab’ who was stopping the pack on a fox and even thanked her for, ermm, well sabbing his hunt.
We can’t post up the longer film for both technical and legal reasons just at the moment but this short clip shows one fox who hid in a hedge to hide from hounds. The area was sprayed and he was let be. Cameras are essential in protecting wildlife, many a fox has been spared out of fear that illegal hunting has been caught on camera!
We decided to have a bit of a change of scenery on Monday, so a couple of us contacted our good friends at Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch to see if they’d be out with the Beaufort Hunt. It was a shame not to see the group as they weren’t out, but they told us the meet and were pleased that someone would be out with the hunt.
Having had a few things to do that morning, we turned up late at the hunt which had given them just enough time to think they’d be alone for the day. Checking on some setts in the area, we found the hunt nearby and the whipper-in came for a little chat about footpaths (which we were actually on, but I’m sure we’ll get over it…)
The day began with a lot of deer running from the hunt but this gave us a chance to practice camera-quick-draw and also gave us an idea of where the hunt were at various points. Foxes will also often run the same line as deer, using the deer scent to cover their own.
As the day progressed, the hunt got quicker and quicker at drawing coverts, running inland from us as soon as they could, but we kept a close eye on them. The faster we move them on, the less effective they will be at picking up on a fox. Having been blocked by some support, foot-sab ran up a road and spotted a fox running through some rough away from oncoming hounds and huntsman. They lost the scent briefly and the huntsman called them back, taking them along the rough where they picked up on the fox exactly where foot-sab said she’d seen him (unfortunately he was not caught on camera as he was so far away, but the sab could hardly have predicted exactly where the hounds would start to speak if she hadn’t seen something…). Car-sab was meanwhile protecting an area she believed another fox had run – they seem to be pairing up very early this season!
As hounds headed into a covert, another fox (or the same one? They seem to jink a lot in Beaufort country) ran up and across the field, riders on 2 quadbikes also seeing where he was running. Foot-sab ran parallel with him, allowing him acorss the road before heading inland to cover the line and keep an eye on the hounds. About to second-horse, they left fox alone and went off for a drink and a snack.
We caught up with them soon after, keeping an eye on them from afar as they were moving gradually towards us. Both back in the car now, car-sab spotted what she believed to be a fox in front of hounds in cry. Almost simultaneously, hunt supporters decided to slow us down by walking in the road in front of us. Foot-sab ran down the road and watched the hounds’ progress. Further along the road, we spotted the hunted fox who had jinked back and was looking exhausted. He ran parallel with us then crossed the road and into a sheep field, which would have masked his scent somewhat, before carrying on to safety. With the possibility of him being part of another brace (couple) we covered the line with citronella before trying to make contact with the hunt again.
Unfortunately the hunt had gone into a large landlocked area and we spent some time finding them once more before heading inland to keep an eye on them. Captain Ian Farquhar had a nice little conversation with car-sab about environmental issues and spoke of how impressed he was at our running around. Meanwhile, the quadbike riders were telling foot-sab that they were impressed by how “on it” we are. Certainly makes a change from our regular hunts like the South Herrie and Ross Harriers!
The hunt packed up just after the light faded and we left to have some (we think well-deserved) tea. Not a bad day!
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Four of us headed out into Herefordshire yesterday as we had a rare tip-off about the South Herrie Hunt having a joint meet with the Crawley and Horsham Hunt near to Garway. We turned up at the meet to the surprise of both hunts and the opening speech confirmed that they would be using the C&H pack for the day. A couple of quadbikes were out, both with no number plates and overloaded with 3 or 4 people on each.
They spent a lot of time around Lady Wood, picking up on a couple of foxes who were holloa’d by the supporters. Hunt staff attempted to block us getting on to footpaths at one point but with little success. We rated the hounds when they checked by a road and they seemed to lose the fox they were after…
As they went back inland at speed we did lose sight of them on and off and a lot of time was spent on foot (which we’re fine with) as supporters blocked our driver from getting along various roads. At this point, friends from Bristol Hunt Saboteurs and South Wales Hunt Saboteurs arrived as they were in the area so we were able to keep more eyes on the hunt.
Having scared a number of flocks of sheep and a couple of fields-worth of cows and bullocks, they moved on, running a fox to ground in a small covert. With 3C sabs in the area they left, the sabs ensuring that there were no terriermen in the vicinity before catching up again with the hounds. Meanwhile our sab driver had eyes on the hunt and the hounds once again marked to ground, Bristol and South Wales sabs timing their arrival perfectly once more and running into the area, stopping the terriermen flushing the fox from a drain. We also had the pleasure of a visit from convicted terrierman James Smith and his equally lovely friend Liam Thompson and city-boy Luke James who had apparently been missing us since their departure with Lee Peters from the Ross Harriers! Always nice to see “the other Patrick” as well, over from the Cottie Vale.
With the groups now gathered, we split off again and headed round in front of the hunt. After drawing some hedgelines and vegetable fields, footsabs received a message from our driver that she suspected the terriermen were up to something. As one of the quadbikes accidentally power-wheelied away from the hunt, we picked up speed to catch up with the hounds. As we turned a corner, we heard more whistles (often used instead of holloas) and ran to get a view on what was going on: hounds were in a field next to the road and were getting interested in something, the huntsman encouraged them on and they went into cry around the area we had heard the whistles coming from.
Speeding off down a hedgeline, our sabs were about to run down the road parallel with them and try to intercept when the fox ran across the road in front of us and various hunt supporters. As we covered the line with citronella, the hunt photographer tried to grab one sab’s spray bottle but she carried on spraying before the two sabs ran to where the hounds were checking and rated them. We then believe they ran back on the heel-line, checking again when they lost the scent. Meanwhile, Bristol and South Wales sabs had come into the area from another direction, seen the fox and also heavily sprayed the field it ran through. One experienced sab described the fox as looking disorientated and unsteady. Immediately after this our sab driver radio’d through and told us she had followed a terrierman into the nearby woods who had been acting shifty and ran when she came into sight. At first she thought the lump under his jacket might be a dead fox, but we believe it was likely to be the sack they had released the fox from…
The hunt carried on and hunted until after dark(!) with members of the field wearing dark clothes on dark-coloured horses with children on ponies with them riding down country roads in the dark to pack up. A full day of naughtiness from both hunts! We’ll hand the C&H back over to our friends down in West Sussex Hunt Sabs now and hope we don’t have the pleasure of their company again anytime soon!
Update: Videos from other perspectives on our day out with the South Herrie and Crawley & Horsham hunts on Saturday. Videos are from one of our foot sabs and also our driver who spotted the terriermen behaving suspiciously and, as the video shows, there are two men walking quickly away from her, one with a bulge under his jacket which is not his beer-belly and the other with cable-ties in his hand. Add that to the fact whistles were heard just moments earlier and the fox seen running away from the hounds was described by an experienced sab as looking disorientated and unsteady and you may see why we believe the hunts may have been using a bagged fox.
Even other hunters will look down on hunts using bagged foxes. It’s bad enough if, like Mark Meladay from the Ledbury hunt, you have to gather your hounds and take them to where you’ve seen a fox run instead of casting them and allowing them to find the line themselves, but the use of bagged foxes shows a totally different level of incompetence and desparation as a huntsman. Indeed, Peter Beckford (whose work is often looked to as an authority in foxhunting) certainly did not think that the use of such foxes is sport.
But who can say for certain…? We’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on hunts from now on.
Even more blatant attempts to hunt by the Ledbury…
… who met at Hunter’s Hall, Castlemorton on 7th December 2015. They initially drew a covert where the hounds were heard picking up on a scent on and off, sabs getting to strategic positions to film and to intervene if necessary. With thick bramble and gorse in all directions, foxes had several areas where they could try and hide up. Early on, sabs heard a hunt supporter saying “oh, here we go – did you see him?” to his mate in the vehicle (obviously talking about the false trail… hmmm). With hounds picking up and losing the scent repeatedly, whipper-in Tim Pearce-May rode down to keep an eye on them and encourage them on just as another fox ran out the opposite way – we need to be aware that foxes are pairing up already and look out for braces.
The fox dodged across a small path and into some bramble, meaning that sabs could not just run in as they could head the fox back into the hounds. We made our way down the road, however, to an area where there were already a lot of supporters and as the hounds picked up on the scent, the fox continued across the road. We rated the hounds and used the horn to lift their heads (the longer it takes them to find the scent again, the longer the fox has to make their escape) and a lot of the hounds would have got a noseful of the smell of citronella as they crossed the road and, surprisingly for the Ledbury, it took them longer than expected to get them ‘back on track’ again with Tim, Mark and the grumpy one all encouraging them on. We told the hunt we knew they’d seen the fox and Tim replied “well stop them then” about the hounds, whilst still encouraging them himself… Not much of a surprise there!
The fox managed to lose the hounds in some gorse and Mark seemed a little desperate in the amount of time he then spent trying to pick up the scent again. An hour later and they were still in the same area, back in the gorse and bramble on the other side of the road when another fox ran into Eight Oaks Farm. Once again, Mark went to the line and tried to get the hounds to pick up (which they did this time) and they hunted through the farm. It’s bad huntsmanship though Mark to take the hounds to the line instead of casting them properly! Once again we believe they lost the scent around a nearby farm, leaving Mark casting the hounds around for a considerable time afterwards.
We did lose them later in the day so can’t confirm a no-kill day, although we spent this time wisely, checking badger setts in the local area.
Having been followed by 3C sabs all day on Monday 30th, the Ledbury met at Gadbury Bank in Eldersfield today in the Gloucestershire cull zone (an area which is owned by them). They drew a blank there so quickly moved on to Pigeon House Farm. It was there that a brace (2 foxes) fled from the undergrowth away from Tim Pearce May (whipper in) who was trying to frighten them in the traditional way by slapping his whip onto his boot. One of these foxes was very clearly caught on camera and can be seen in the video. The pack were encouraged on, despite being told that the foxes were on camera, and some hollowing by sabs lifted their heads a little so that some time was given for the foxes to escape. A sab inland managed to spray a covert with citronella stopping the pack in their tracks and the fox was seen escaping once the hounds had left.
On then to Berth Hill where a fox ran fast towards Corse Lawn. We managed to slow most of the pack down but they hunted on. Later a fox was marked to ground near Tirley. Terriers were called for but with a sab present with a camera they thought better of digging out – both huntsman and whipper-in were on foot, the excuse being going for a wee… together. We went back later to make sure and found the terrier man talking to Tim Pearce May, both looking decidedly shifty.
We drove back through Town Street Farm, owned by Roger Warner. Roger was a Ledbury master and is a beef farmer signed up for the badger cull. An eagle-eyed sab then saw the quad bike practically opposite Roger’s house. On approaching the quad we saw the driver panic, juggling things and driving off really quickly. A terrier man was seen almost trying to hide from sabs in the hedge with his torch giving him away. Sabs arrived at the scene to find a large drainage pipe and heard a terrier marking, ie barking and growling, at a fox inside.
The terrier man left behind was a bit flummoxed and decidedly shitty pants at being caught out. Sabs told him that he should call his dog out and stood back to enable him to do this. He was carrying a locator (a radio device which can transmit to another device on the terrier’s collar) and phoning the whipper-in, Tim. Before long a large Patterdale terrier called Nel emerged safe and well and he ran off with her leaving the fox unharmed, saying that sheis a poodle was “after rabbits”… well, if she was we think that she would have killed them as opposed to marking them. Local wildlife officers have been informed.
Because of all this, we did lose the hunt for some time so can’t confirm a no-kill day, but as hunt terrier men are capable of killing more animals than the hunt and hounds, we had to prioritise and today was certainly a success!
See you in the fields.