Thanks to Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch for writing this report.
The Beaufort Hunt met in Shipton Moyne on Saturday and Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch teamed up with Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs to monitor them. It was another soggy wet outing with cameras and equipment suffering from too much moisture. That said we did manage to get some interesting footage of the hunt chasing foxes and drawing coverts throughout the day. The usual local wildlife was scared out on to lanes – we saw a beautiful hare cross right in front of us. There is never a thought for terrorising the animals that live in countryside including the domestic ones – several times during the day we saw sheep huddled together in the corner of their fields as the riders and hounds rampaged through.
Once we’ve established where the meet is it’s just a case of finding out which way they are going – inevitably it will be to the surrounding woods in the area. Heading West the hunt surrounded ‘Rough Grounds’ and the hounds were speaking loudly enough for us to be worried – we put sabs in at both sides to move them on and saw our first two foxes of the day. I fox ran by us and 1 took shelter – hounds were gathered. This was where the hare ran out looking for shelter and the first lot of sheep huddled together. It’s amazing the landowner allows the hunt through his land where livestock are grazing but of course the hunt rely on the local farmers to support them and several turn out to open gates for them. It was here that a local lady stopped to talk to me and declared she was anti fox hunting and was considering helping us! Nice to know we have support in the area.
‘Rough Ground’ borders Westonbirt Golf Course and school where we could hear the huntsman’s horn and cries encouraging the hounds on. Surely they wouldn’t take them into Westonbirt School – Oh yes they did and that’s where we heard the hounds on cry again and saw another fox – maybe one of the brace we saw before. They quickly moved on to Garden Plantation and Rushmore Covert but hopefully it escaped via a dung heap near the sewage works.
We encountered the usual blocking techniques – that is hunt supporters either completely blocking our way with their cars or dangerously standing in the road not letting us through. Three Counties Sabs recognised one car which belongs to supporters from the Ledbury Hunt on a day out – Mark Meladay and his 2 chums who were earlier seen enjoying beverages on the side of the road.
Nearing darkness they decided to pack up for the day and we headed home satisfied that we had helped to save foxes lives – most of the day we had them well covered.