Cotswold Hunt, Castlebarn Farm, Turkdean, North Cotswold badger cull zone.
We were out early for this one and it was pitch block in the field on sett blocking patrol. At the first sett we went to check we had just missed them and heard the quad leave. There was the usual scene of carnage with every entrance impacted with earth and one entrance had a log rammed down it. We informed the police and continued to sett check. At the next one as we were confirming that it was very active a quad approached the small covert and drove around it before leaving. Had he come to block it and thought better of it? It had been blocked before, repeatedly with the badgers still there despite sett blocking, cull and who knows what other pressures. We hope that we deterred him. Other setts were found to be unblocked and active.
We then met 2 Gloucestershire police officers who went to the blocked sett and unblocked every single entrance and wish to thank them for their timely response.
The hunt met at 12.00 and we saw them draw the covert where the sett had been blocked. It was very wet and they didn’t seem to be finding much (foxes retreat to shelter in such weather much of the time). They then crossed over to where the Heythrop were hunting just last Saturday in a large landlocked area between Turkdean and Cold Aston and where 5 setts were blocked. So the foxes that were hunted there last week and survived were once more at risk a week later. One badger sett that was blocked last week was blocked again this week, twice trashed within 7 days just so people can illegally hunt foxes. The impact on badgers can be suffocation as they try to dig their way out and get caught between the earth behind them as they dig and the earth impacted by the rain. They often do dig their way out but some don’t make it. Foxes ,who often enjoy living in badger setts, are denied an escape route from the hounds. It takes hours to dig out a badger sett, not long at all to get into an artificial earth, a terrier can bolt a fox quickly from one of these to be hunted again, needless to say the AEs are often left unblocked.
Sad to say later we saw the Heythrop, or it may have been the North Cotswold, in the dark packing up near Stow. Both hunts would have done exactly the same in the areas they were hunting.
Other 3C sabs sabbed the CVFH from Aston Crews – report to follow!