VWH last day of season – 2nd April 2016

Report nicked from Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch. More to follow on this as there is still some legal stuff outstanding:

The main hunting season has now come to an end thank goodness. However we did turn out to monitor the final meet of the VWH in Cirencester Park on the Earl of Bathurst’s Estate on the 2nd April. Three Counties Sabs came along to help again who were really welcome given the size of the park – reportedly 8km long and 4.8km wide!

They met at Ten Rides in the park and we saw them go directly to the nearest covert. Almost immediately we saw a fox running but foot walkers were well placed and spotted by the hunt staff. The first insult of the day came from a supporter who said ‘If I was Lord Bathurst I’d have you shot! We think he meant the Earl who would hopefully disagree!

They chased around the park and then took the hounds over the A419 towards Hailey Wood and on to Coates where the fox was spotted being chased at the back of the sewerage works. One of our team saw the fox run through the field and hedge on to the road in front of where he was standing with the hounds in cry and hot pursuit behind. This is a very distressing scene to witness if you disagree with fox hunting. Sometimes circumstances prevent us from following but we hope the fox got away.

The hunt went back in the park across the main A419 and continued to hunt round the polo ground in the park. It was here we saw another fox with hounds in cry. As the huntsman didn’t seem to be calling them off we rated the hounds [told them off] to get their heads up and hopefully lose the scent.

The hunt headed north towards Daglingworth about 4.45pm and at 4.58pm we heard 2 shots – luckily nothing aimed at us thank goodness! Around 5pm we heard the hounds in cry again in Overley Wood in the distance.

Throughout the day we were followed closely by students probably from the Cirencester Agricultural University nearby. Maybe ‘how to harass antis’ is on their curriculum! More serious incidents followed when 2 of our team where set upon by hunt supporters in the woods and items stolen from them. One of the assailants which we’ve met before tried to steal a camera and caused injury to a finger. Also lewd comments were made to one of our team members. They didn’t get the camera and the footage makes interesting viewing – more to follow on this incident at a later date.

We will now be busy working closely with ‘Three Counties Wildlife Crime Watch’ and ‘Outpaced’ sharing skills and knowledge so we can tackle wildlife crime.

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