Ledbury Hunt: 26th February 2016

The hunt met at Stonebow Farm in Ashleworth and should have listened to their supporter who told them “Charlie [fox] isn’t going to be near the water” in response to David Redvers’ post (see picture below) as they did indeed draw blank, repeatedly, near the flooded areas by the nature reserve.

(Redvers is a master of the hunt. Yes, Gill Heaven, this photo is more than a month old, but you’re local and should be able to see that some areas are still pretty damn wet!)

We had the expected comments from supporters like Rob Lewis (“did you get any tampax last week?!” – see report of the kill which took place in Eldersfield last week if that needs some context…)

We only had about half the day free so kept an eye on them the best we could into the afternoon, having the police called on one of our sabs who was being shouted at for being on a footpath (by a guy in a shooting fleece…). The sab concerned would love to speak to the police in relation to this incident, his language and threatening behaviour, so please do get in touch officers.

Only a few meets left of the season for this hunt, so no slowing down for us just yet. Got a lot of videos to catch up on once the season ends though, so keep an eye on our page still!

North Cotswold Hunt: 24th February 2016

“The Ledbury Girls” were out in force today (all 2 of us!) at the North Cotswold Hunt who met at Hayles Fruit Farm near to Winchcombe. Hayles is a known hunt meet and according to locals “will shoot anything that moves”. So not a great place for wildlife.

Instead of alerting them to our presence straight away, we watched from a short distance as they chased a fox from the bottom of Hailes Wood (right next to the meet) and hunted the fox across a number of fields. The scent, however, was not that good due to it being a sunny (though very cold) day. We caught up with them again drawing a cover and caught terriermen and supporters holloa’ing a fox, using a whistle as well to alert the huntsman. Nigel Peel encouraged the hounds on and lifted the pack to the location where they picked up on and off before losing the scent and running off inland.

There seems to be a lot of dodgy quadbike activity at this hunt – they have 5 quads out with them, terriers, a bird of prey with fellow-pointer Calvin Crossman (the bird constantly hooded, so obviously it’s not about falconry, but about foxhunting – they seem to think just having a bird of prey nearby allows them to hunt foxes…).

At one point, after several more holloas and a brief stint of taking over the local B-road plus a bit of checking in a field, a flesh wagon which is known to local sabs from other hunts, blocked the road. With sab on foot, however, and sab-in-car parked up, the move was pretty redundant and having blocked hunt supporters for a number of minutes, they moved off into a gateway. Having shouted “slag” at foot-sab, they then reversed back down the road to block the sab car once more, in doing so blocking members of the public and a school bus… When sab politely pointed this out to him, he claimed he felt threatened by her – so threatened that he would be willing to get closer to her and restrain her in a citizen’s arrest. Oh dear…

More holloas. More dodgy quadbike riding. A comment about us being “monitors” then we were identified as “the Ledbury Girls” so we thought we’d stick with that – better than “slag” at any rate. We’re fit. Apparently. They’re blatantly hunting. Locals told us that there are constant problems in this area with hunt arrogance, riders and hounds going through gardens and over lawns, holding up traffic and barging on to roads.

We’ve obviously been neglecting the hunt for too long. We’ll be seeing a lot more of you guys!

Ledbury Kill write-up 19/02/2016

On Friday 19th February the Ledbury Hunt killed a fox in Eldersfield near Hillfield House. Three members of Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs had been out with the hunt throughout the day and there were a number of indications that the hunt were not following a trail, but were chasing foxes. Turnout at the hunt was high due to jockey AP McCoy’s presence.

On this day as with most others when this hunt are out, there was a cockiness of being ‘above the law’ and when told that they were on the scent of a live fox, the usual sarcastic comments came out: “are you going to arrest us?” and “take us to court then!” as hunt staff lift the pack and take them them to the line of the fox – see our previous video from Eldersfield as an example – https://vimeo.com/147898619

Towards the end of the day, the hunt having just marked to ground in a well known badger sett & having criss-crossed land in Eldersfield Marsh for a couple of hours, huntsman Mark Meladay gathered the pack of hounds and started making his way towards the road to pack up at Pigeon House Farm.

Hounds picked up & streamed towards the road at Hillfield House, a sab inland watching out for a fox breaking towards her. Hounds sounded stationary, huntsman still encouraging them on, so she ran towards the road. The kill was taking place in a hedge. More details will follow when our video – currently in the hands of the police – is realeased publicly.

The official stance of the Ledbury Hunt is that the fox had been shot & dumped in a hedge by a sheep farmer. A newspaper, The Ledbury Reporter, says that a member of the hunt had examined the body and found that the fox had been dead a while and had gunshot wounds. Reality is that the fox body was still hot and bleeding when the sab pulled him from the hedge, entrails hanging from his torn abdomen. Another sab grabbed his body and put him in the car whilst the first sab exited the field to comments such a “have you come on or summat?!” and “you deserve everything you f***ing get” from known hunt supported Robin Lewis & friends. Hunt supporter Richard Leeke blocked the road to sabs in the car using his Mitsubishi and immediately got on the phone.

We took the long way round to pickup the third member of our group who was meanwhile being threatened by a large male hunt supporter & we saw the hunt packing up as we drove out of the area. Photos were taken on a quiet road away from the hunt soon after.

We publicly ask Hunt Master David Redvers to explain exactly who he claims examined the body and where and when this took place.

Ross Harriers kill pet cat: 20th February 2016

Hereford Times article

Anna’s quote includes the words “and their cat died” which, to be honest, is a massive understatement. But, hey, the hunt apologised, so that’s alright then… Our hearts go out to these people. Please consider helping out Hay Cat Rescue, mentioned in the article, who do important work re-homing cats and kittens and who, like many rescues, rely totally on donations – and, in this case, are looking for someone to take over running the rescue due to the worsening health of the woman who currently runs it.

Note: the Ross Harriers hunt hare and foxes. However, Tim Bonner once claimed that “before the ban the Ross Harriers hunted hare” (when now ex-terriermen of the hunt James Smith, Jack Hudd and ‘Dylan’ Hill were convicted of having a bagged fox on them last year the hunt quickly dropped them and distanced themselves from the incident). Trail-hunting is supposed to stay as close to ‘traditional’ hunting (for when the Act is repealed…) so lines should be laid along the same routes the hunted animal would have taken. When hunting hare, a hunt would try to pick up in fields and hedgerows. Why lay a trail in a wood?

Ledbury Hunt: 19th February 2016

Ledbury Hunt killed in Eldersfield today. Full report and video to follow at some point. Right now, it’s been a long day and it’s not the priority considering we’ll be up again in a few hours to go to work then go back out to another hunt.

Ledbury Hunt: 15th February 2016

We went out to the Ledbury Hunt who had their meet in Upton Bishop. We found them drawing blank in a covert by the side of a road – the sun was strong, scent wasn’t so good.

James Smith (and young son) and Jack Hudd (ex-Ross Harriers convicted terriermen) were nearby – there goes the neighbourhood! – and followed the hunt for much of the day. At one point, hounds marked to ground in an area, but Mark gathered them and took them on, back in a circle to where they had previously drawn near the main road. Peter Cooksey, however, was going the wrong way and, seeing him pick up Charlie (terrierman) and Sam, we thought something just might be going on. We followed and one of our sabs caught them in the area where hounds had marked, spades in hand, bag on shoulder and a terrier in tow. A nice pincer-movement later and we confirmed that it was nets that they had in the bag and one sab had a sigh of relief that she hadn’t felt a warm body as she reached into it. Needless to say, we still went into the area to check for signs of tampering with the sett. All clear. Cooksey seemed to think “1-nil to us” was still a clever comment to make.

Moving on and we drove down a road to keep an eye on the hunt and hounds again. At one point, we found the hunt with hounds picking up and Mark encouraging them on – sabs jumped out of the car to try and intervene as supporters’ vehicles came racing up the road to try and follow the chase. On a one-lane road, it was pretty silly of them to drive right up to the front of our car then demand we pull over when the only space to do so was in front of our car. One particular supporter kept “offering” (read: threatening) to move the car for us unless we ‘pulled over’ (on to a steep bank with horses riding past?) Once he realised police were on the phone he soon backed off and we managed to pull over.

Sabs inland stuck with Mark for much of the time he was on foot, rating or holloaing the hounds if they picked up on a scent depending on the situation. Sam remained hat-less and carried on moving Mark’s horse around for him – needless to say, if we had kids, we’d make sure they always wore some head-protection on horses or bikes! Then again, he’s old enough to know that himself.

Mark took hounds on and they picked up, going into full cry just outside Much Marcle, hounds crossing the main road and holding up traffic whilst Tim (with Sam hundreds of yards behind him, still without a riding hat) cantered round the bends of the main road with traffic trying to avoid them. Who laid a trail there then?!

After a little bit of silliness from Charlie and his mate, putting a salt bin in the middle of the road to try and hold us up (even in this car, we can manage to drive around things boys…) the hunt packed up. Definitely an interesting day!

Ledbury Hunt: 13th February 2016

Three Counties Sabs split up this morning to go to the Ledbury Hunt for a rare Saturday meet and the South Herefordshire. The Ledbury were meeting at midday for a children’s meet and we were hoping huntsman Mark Meladay would have the same sense as former Ledbury huntsman Will Goffe who, although he loved a chase and a kill, showed us the art of self-sabbing back in his last season with the hunt – at a children’s meet, he called the hounds back from chasing a fox. Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch were once again out with us as we’ve been making a good team lately and we were inland before the hunt set off.

Meanwhile, over in Herefordshire, the South didn’t turn up at the meet and we checked a few of their other known haunts before going looking for the Ross Harriers who were our back-up meet… but nothing there either. So over to the Ledbury it was for the other 3C group (including some of North Shrops Sabs) as well, later followed by Bristol and South Wales Sabs who had also had cancellations! Overkill for a children’s meet? Well, no, as it turned out.

It was a cold morning and the scent was strong – the hounds came from the meet at Tweenhills Stud (master David Redvers’ place, in the middle of the Gloucestershire badger cull zone) and Mark drew them through Carter’s Grove where they picked up quickly and chased round and round until the fox broke and ran up into the woods on a nearby hill. A clear “Gone Away” was heard by sabs, followed by “Tally-ho Back” and hounds streamed up the hill in pursuit, Han Clift once again craving internet ‘fame’ by trying to block a footpath to sabs.

Mark Meladay lifted the pack past lines of citronella and they picked up again, continuing the chase into the hill. A lone sab who had been keeping watch from another area heard noises by a badger sett in another covert soon after hunt had passed through and as she went to check them out, a known ‘dedicated hunt supporter’ was seen driving quickly away from the covert, passengers inside who we’ve caught trying to block or dig out badgers setts in the past.

The hunt had started to head south inland by the A417 at this point and sabs stayed with them, keeping an eye on their behaviour, as they then turned into a nearby valley where we saw a fox make a break before the hunt spotted him, covering his scent well before hounds came past. Over the hills and far away… We caught up with them again on a nearby road as hounds picked up and started to give chase on another line. We rated the hounds which enraged Mark and he rode his horse at one of our sabs before seemingly deciding that hunting would be more fun and running into the field himself, encouraging the hounds on. Holloas and gizmo were used now to lift the heads of the hounds and try to give the fox a few extra valuable seconds to escape in the confusion. Which in turn confused some of the hunt supporters / terriermen.

Into another covert and another fox was chased, this time round and round the graveyard at the church in Corse. Hopefully we gave him some time to escape as well, using holloas and horn calls, but we had to be careful to then not call the hounds back too far and on to the line of the other fox. Soon they were in full cry and Roger Warner and a group of children blocked the road to sab vehicles. Another group of sabs were already in the area and once the fox jumped the wall at the church, hounds were dissuaded from following with rating (a gruff telling-off)…

It was an early pack-up due to it being a children’s meet and with the hunt already having been out the day before. We pulled up in a nearby layby to collect radios and say goodbye to each other when the hound box drove by, occupants giving us a one-finger salute. Vehicle pulling the trailer with the quadbike was close behind and, as they beeped and holloared at us on the way past, passenger Charlie Freeman held a dead fox out of the window – they later took great pleasure in telling us how it had been “shot out lamping last night” before Oscar Bates decided it was time to give us “a five-finger wave” (his words) and let us get home for some tea…

A separate post will be going up soon about the terriermen and other quadbikers, so we won’t ramble on now, needless to say there’s plenty that could be said about them! Video will follow soon.

Check out this amazing bit of sabbing and filming from North Shrops Sabs

Ledbury Hunt: 12th February 2016

Just a quick report from our outing today with the Ledbuy Hunt who met at Manor Farm in Longdon. The scent was on and off throughout the day as it was cold, but very sunny. A couple of foxes were spotted escaping from the hounds – we didn’t intervene with one as the hounds hadn’t picked up on the scent and we didn’t want to alert hunt support as to the fox’s presence. There were a couple of longer chases too throughout the day.

Whipper-in Tim Pearce-May had some trouble with his tack today (not very good for professional hunt staff not to know how to tighten the girth properly on the saddle, but then again, masters such as Roger Warner have previously almost begged for us to open gates for them…)

A lot of the ground was flooded in areas the hunt would normally go to in this part of their country, so they spent a long time hunting land near to the meet, then headed over to Queenhill and The Stanks. We slowed down traffic a couple of times for hounds and the Field when they were on the roads.

To add to the excitement of the day, we had the good ol’ Bicester Boys out (hunt stewards) who, in true form, failed to keep up with sabs (they weren’t making much effort today to be fair) and stood in the way of the car. And we thought the B-Boys just turned up to less prestigious hunts like the North Cotswold and Croome these days… Obviously the Ledbury were upset about the fact the Cotswold Hunt managed more colourful language last week than them (the ‘C-word’ vs “go home, you prats”) and Tom tried his best with “ugly” and “scarecrow”. Getting there boys, keep up the practice.

South Herefordshire Hunt: 6th February 2016

Four of us headed out to the South Here again today who met at Kingstone Grange near Thruxton. They soon went into a large landlocked area to the south of the meet where we thought they’d easily evade us for the day. The weather was making it harder for us to film easily, very strong wind threatening to blow some of the little’er sabs over and pouring rain getting on the cameras, but it turned out alright…

We found them hunting a woodland to the south of the meet and went inland on one of the only footpaths in the entire area, keeping an eye on hounds from here. Round and round they went in a brambley area and we saw a flash of red making its way out of the covert at one point away from the hunt who hadn’t seen him. Round and round – were they on a fox or, in such an area, were they finding different scents and trying to pick up on one properly? Soon, another fox ran from the covert and up the track running through the trees. Hounds starting to emerge from the covert, we chose to try and call the pack to us* and used holloas and horn calls to draw them away from the line of the fox.

*discretion in these situations is necessary. Unless we can see the whole pack, we will very rarely call them towards us (obviously taking into account nearby roads, railways, etc. as well) as we don’t want to risk pulling the hounds towards us if a fox could be hiding up in between and could then be found and hunted. In this situation, the hounds had run round and round the covert very close to the side we were on so it was less likely that a fox was in hiding there. Once we had seen the hunted fox bolt and knew the hunter on point had seen him, knowing the hounds were on his line, it was less risky to do so. Up until that point, we had stood back and just kept a watchful eye on them…

Huntsman Paul Oliver’s horn-blowing has not improved since we last saw him and hounds paid more attention to sabs than him – we gradually gathered the majority of the pack (even those who were right next to the huntsman came to us!) and the hunted fox had several minutes to get away and hopefully find somewhere to go to ground. Once hounds had returned to Mr. Oliver, we listened out to ensure there was no “marking to ground” and then carried on – the hounds had been moved on to another part of the woodland. Somehow we managed to find them, despite the size of the area and they were once again speaking. We believe they lost this scent, just as we found Darling, darling (Master Patrick Darling). Now Pat doesn’t like being called “Darling” by “lowlife” like us (he is a funny man…) and responded by calling one of our sabs a “dick” and trying to move us around with his horse. We were laughing too much to pay much attention to him.

We all had a little visit around this time from James Smith and Liam Thompson (ex-Ross Harriers supporters) and they had managed to drag Luke James out of the city for a nice day out in the countryside. They weren’t being very talkative so we left them to it and found the hounds again in another covert. Hares were running all over the place and soon after they gave chase to a fox into a larger woodland nearby, they rioted on deer. Repeatedly. We finally lost them at around 3pm, so can’t guarantee what they’ve been up to since, but with so much wildlife in the woods and so many scents going all over the place, it is always possible that they were unable to pick up confidently on one scent. Indeed we had watched them go round and round for an hour or so prior to this… We certainly made their day more difficult regardless.

See you soon Paul and friends!