19th November: CVFH and Heythrop / North Cots

Some of the group met with North Shropshire, Bristol and South Wales Sabs to sab the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt at Flaxley (N. Shrops report to follow). Other sabs went to the North Cotswolds cull zone on early morning sett-checking patrol. The North Cotswold and the Heythrop hunts were both due to meet within spitting distance of one another, as is commonplace on a Saturday. In fact it is not unknown for both packs to run into one another, a fox that escapes from one hunt could easily find himself running into (or from) the other soon after.

It is also known for many setts to get mysteriously blocked when either pack is out. This means being out early and checking as many setts and artificial earths as possible starting, preferably, pre-dawn. We have seen attempted sett-blocking as late as just before the meet at 11am but really it’s an early morning job. Setts were found blocked and were promptly unblocked for the benefit of both foxes and badgers in North Cotswold country. The Heythrop were watched and filmed from afar near Condicote without them knowing. Eventually after getting something to eat in Stow (after walking from 06.30 in the morning to 13.30) Heythrop stalkers discovered us as the pack hunted through Donnington and they second horsed. This then means being shadowed closely by designated hunt supporters until the hunt finishes, but only if they can find us all) ;P At least they were kind enough, when asked about the blocked setts, to quickly drop the North Cots in it and say it would have definitely been them!

Not much else to report other than they did hunt into the dark through Kineton Hill farm and Upper Swell but no way of telling what the fate of that fox was. Gary Morgan, the terrierman, made a death threat to the sab driver as hounds ran by in full cry. More setts were checked once the hunt had packed up and found to be untampered with and active.

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