12th January ’19 – North Cotswold Hunt

The hunt began by drawing Buckland wood before crossing to Mocho Farm, drawing blank there. A sab who was staking out a nearby artificial earth that had been recently visited by humans saw a leash (3 foxes) run past. They were subjected to a very aggressive rant and ridden into by a man who can be seen on the film – he claims to own the land so might be able to explain the artificial earth…

Hounds picked up on the line of the foxes and crossed the railway and the B4632 in pursuit of one of them. The driver drove around quickly to see hounds pile into a hedge, fearing the worst as they were also being blocked but it was a relief to see it was just wire hounds were trying to get through. With quads, horses and others around the hounds were rated as best as possible and they did not pick up on that scent again.

They went back over to Ryefield farm and drew blank at a few coverts there then went on to Stanway and hunted a fox onto the Gloucestershire / Warwickshire railway where they were for 5 minutes!

Then through Stanton and onto the hill. Sabs got up and found 2 couple of hounds doing their own thing and hunting a fox or a deer. They were stopped with a bit of rating. The hunt continued until dark, including rioting on deer. Car sab sprayed out the lines of several terrified animals with citronella. Eventually Ollie Dale the huntsman decided to finish up. As he called hounds a very odd squeak was heard which attracted hounds away from him. Sabs realised that it sounded like a deer, as did the terriermen and sure enough a terrified muntjac was caught up in wire. A quad bike got there before we did and released them from the wire.

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11th January ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

*** heavily pregnant vixen escapes from Ledbury hounds while hunt were trespassing ***

* blocked setts at Ledbury Hunt meet * terriermen caught trying to flush fox from log pile * hunt trespass on local landowners’ land… twice *

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A fairly fast-paced day today with sabs in the field an hour before the hunt set off. Three setts were found blocked around an area called The Stanks and were unblocked by a sab. Three more were checked by another sab and were not blocked – one is very well known to us so tends not to be blocked so often anymore and the others are on land owned by someone who recently had a telling off for allowing sett-blocking to happen on his land.

Whilst checking a sett by the meet at Manor Farm, a sab noticed suspicious behaviour in a nearby field… terriermen had put a terrier into a log pile in order to flush out a fox. Confronted, they hung around for some time then left as the rest of the hunt arrived. Hounds picked up on a scent and marked in a nearby badger sett – sab presence meant that this fox was left and huntsman Mark took the hounds on. A well-known hunt supporter received a call which sounded like a warning that sabs were out and watching!

Hounds picked up again but lost the scent temporarily before spending a lot of time at the log pile. As they moved off a shout was heard and there was pointing and much excitement. But the clever fox had run across a field recently sprayed with slurry and hounds couldn’t find his scent. While one sab stayed inland others drove round to intercept the hunt as they headed towards Hillend. As hounds showed interest in and picked up a scent at another log pile and hedge huntsman was heard asking other hunt staff where the sab was – she was spotted and he took the hounds away from her once again.

A few fields on and hounds went into full cry near Hillend, sabs at three good locations to intervene. Then we heard rating and saw hounds being told off by some unknown people… odd, but fantastic. Hounds soon lost the scent in a covert – nearby badger sett was checked and was not blocked but a local artificial earth was definitely being used and had boot prints heading towards it.

The hunt, now minus well-known ex-South Herefordshire Hunt Master Patrick Darling who went home looking bored, made a swift exit towards The Stanks and hounds soon picked up and chased a fox who ran towards sabs. As the fox crossed a main road a horn was heard being beeped, evidently in place of a holloa to alert huntsman to the sighting of the fox. We covered the scent and a sab remained nearby while others headed towards the hunt. Two holloas came from the road indicating another fox sighting until sab was spotted and ‘there’s an anti here!’ was heard. It turns out the guys who rated the hounds earlier are agents of a local landowner and the hunt had been trespassing on their land. Again. Having been told off (again) the hunt made a dash for it through The Stanks (where they’d been informed we had found the blocked setts) and hardly bothered even trying to hunt there.

Looking at the footage we have, and double-checking with experts, this fox is a heavily pregnant vixen!

The frustration was evident, especially when hunt supporters started to call us names (ranging from ‘riff raff’ to much worse) and sticking their fingers up at us while driving past. It only serves to show us that we’re having an effect on them.

We soon found them hunting near Upton-upon-Severn and checked on a badger sett that we have caught terriermen digging out at on previous occasions. Sure enough we could hear voices as we approached and the terriermen’s quad bike exited the land in haste not long after. Then on to Holdfast Hall where supporters showed their obvious disappointment (‘oh, false alarm’) when someone accidentally beeped their horn and they had thought that a fox had been sighted… a real fox was then picked up on and chased towards a covert near Queenshill. Near another blocked sett. He was lost for some time but hounds were back on his scent soon after, between a main road and a motorway, the exhausted fox passing sabs on the road. He was flagging, confused and unsure about where to go, but cleverly covered his scent by circling around a steaming pile of manure.

Some more hunting close to the M50 followed by a pack up at dusk at Manor Farm…

8th January ’19 – Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt

*** Dig-out stopped by sab presence ***

The hunt met in Longhope today. One fox went past a sab’ in Sculchurch wood and hounds were rated back… then another fox followed. This brace ran off as most of the pack were rated back (stopped from chasing them by telling them off) and massive amounts of citronella sprayed on the line of the foxes. Gary Williams abandoned any attempt to hunt them and went off to Huntley Hill after the inevitable “slagbag” and “old cow” comments were spewed out at us.

In that rough area they marked another fox to ground in a badger sett and the terriermen were on the entrance where the fox had gone in, the mounted field (all complicit in illegal hunting as it was obvious what was about to happen) and the hounds waiting nearby with Gary holding them back. Field Master Jason Warner saw a sab’ approach, Gary legged it with the pack in tow and the terriermen ran back to their quads with Ben Hughes reaching for the flask of coffee as quick as possible for an impromptu tea party… before also heading, literally, to the hills.

A close examination of the sett revealed some recently disturbed earthworms and soil. Gloucestershire police wildlife officers were soon present and the hunt was soon back at Longhope all packed up. It was noted that Gary had taken another tumble.

4th January ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

*** Blocked badger setts in a cull zone where the cull continues * Hounds hunting a fox through gardens * fox hunted into small hole, sabs pull hounds out ***

First Port of call was a blocked sett which was dealt with and reported. The hounds were up Limbury Hill and then found a fox at Blackwell’s End farm and a holloa was heard from a hunt follower on the road as sabs from up the hill used voice calls lifting their heads.

After second horsing at Tweenhills, they crossed the A417 and hunted a fox through gardens at Broad Street, Hartpury. One quick thinking householder after seeing the fox flee for his life through his garden ran out and rated the pack of hounds away from the hunted animal. Quite a few people not very happy and asking lots of questions!

Then a repeat performance as they approached Ashleworth… Onwards then to Ashleworth meadows where they hunted a fox towards Haw Bridge. A sab’ filmed the hunted fox from near the pub but regrettably he ran back the way he had come. He went to ground in a small hole and hounds trying to dig him out again as they marked were pulled out physically by sabs. Wisely the hunt retreated, not so wisely they then crossed the main road and hunted another fox in the dusk up to Cumberwood farm and back down to the outskirts of Tirley. In the dark they did stop the pack in the end.

Another blocked badger sett was found at the end of the day, looked recent but not today. This sett had been very active. The cull continues in this area with free-shooting but those who hate badgers are not content with a cull that goes on for 7 months. The illegal killing and damage to setts also continues.

Very busy day in which it was ,yet again, really obvious that the Ledbury are hunting foxes. Bearing in mind that they are enjoying the South Herefordshire Hunt country (whilst whatever is left of that hunt join in with them) it does make you wonder what sort of echo chamber the MFHA (Masters of Fox Hounds Association) exist in. No one is buying the trail hunting theatrics, certainly not in this part of the world.

New Year message from 3C

As the new year rolls in and we think up new projects for the rest of the season we’d like to send out a huge thank you to all of our supporters who have kept us going with moral support, financial assistance, sett-checking, random pick-ups when we’re miles from the car, sending in hunt meet cards (another arrived today, second in just over a week – game-changer!) and monitoring hunts themselves.

Just today the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt was discreetly watched by a couple who are visiting the area over New Year and just happened upon the hunt. Locals were out over Christmas at various hunt meets keeping an eye on badger setts and on the hounds themselves.

As well as regular donations, we’ve been sent cameras and walkie-talkies, even a car at the start of the season(!) and our friends have run stalls at fayres to raise money for the group. Because of all the likes and shares of our posts and the giving out of leaflets and other info at stalls and demonstrations our page likes have gone up so quickly! We also have some of our favourite pro-hunt trolls to thank as they comment on nearly all of our posts, often repeating their comments time and time again… but in doing so they’ve made our posts even more popular and we’ve been seen by people who have never liked a post or followed our page before. They also occasionally slip up and give away info.

A special thank you goes to the pro-hunt person who decided to waste their own time signing us up to random (useful) websites, especially as we were the 100th ‘sign-up’ that day to one of them and got a massive discount from the site plus free delivery… and we had to do no work towards it. In addition they decided the best way to annoy us would be to send stupid messages to pro-hunt websites using the enquiry forms on their pages meaning that they’ve also wasted the time of those pro-hunt people as they have to sift through fake messages looking for genuine enquiries. And we get emailed copies of all the silly stuff sent for our own amusement.

Reports to come from the day’s events still, so watch this space. May 2019 bring more successes and more information. Thank you, 3C x

21st December ’18 – Ledbury Hunt

On this solstice day the Ledbury met in the Gloucestershire badger cull zone where the cull this year has been in full swing for the last 6 months (the longest ever).

We began pre meet checking setts for signs of both blocking and cull activity. Despite this being the 6th year and the 6th month of culling lots of paw prints and latrines found at some setts. Alas others not looking so active. None that we checked pre- or post-hunt (checking under a full moon is always magical) were found to be blocked.

They tried to draw Catsbury Hill first but as we were already ahead of them and had pre-sprayed, huntsman Mark Melladay took them away to try his luck up Limbury Hill.

We then encountered our wannabe nemesis David Mansell who tried to round up one sab’ with his horse, despite the fact that he has got into trouble for similar behaviour before. Holding us up for 5 minutes we managed to continue without too much trouble.

They did hunt a fox north towards Carter’s Grove but seemed to lose him.

They then popped over to Woolridge and then the meadows at Ashleworth where they had a long hunt. As we drew close they had finished and were on their way home. We do not know what happened to that fox.

Tonight, winter Solstice, fantastic people are out protecting badgers from a regular shooter as we returned home exhausted and we had a call about a duck shoot in the zone in the early evening. It just never seems to end sometimes and they are all out tomorrow again…

17th December ’18 – Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt

*** 5 blocked badger setts, hounds all over the A4135, hounds hunting through gardens on outskirts of Tetbury, sab’ punched in face by hunt follower ***

The Beaufort met around Bowldon and we attended with Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and Bristol sabs. They moved off first to Sheephouse covert and then to Bowldown wood. They did pick up but scent was poor in the sunlight on a frosty morning. CIHW found the terriermen up to something dodgy in Goss covert and they moved promptly north to Chavenage.

3C sabs went inland to checks setts and AEs finding 2 badger setts blocked (which were made safe for both badgers and foxes) and gates unblocked meaning that the hunt were coming back so we bided our time. CIHW found 3 more blocked setts.

After second horsing at Beverston Camp they drew Park Bottom then some hounds arrived at Oldown Brake rioting on deer. They were stopped by kennel huntsman Nick Hopkins. Matt Ramsden then went on to draw the exact same area as to where the deer had sought refuge in that covert. They rioted again and were stopped again. It was then a whistle blew signifying that someone on point had seen a fox leave Oldown. There was some too’ing and froing, more whistles blown and at one stage a sab managed to give the hunted fox a few seconds by rating the pack but the huntsman hunted them on. It ended well with the fox escaping to ground quickly afterwards.

They then headed up to the A4135 and when we got around there hounds were all over the road. One angry road user ignored the resulting traffic jam and went on to nearly run over 2 hounds. Many others have contacted the police. Anyway it all got a bit heated. Now you would think after that they might have left the main road be?

Oh no, back up Hook house lane where they picked up and hunted back to the main road. Then it was a matter of hounds hunting through private gardens on the outskirts of Tetbury. It was concerning that they were so near to a main road as it was starting to get dark and as they leapt the front gate onto the road a concerned sab’ called out to the kennel huntsman who was nearby but looking in the opposite direction. They were then punched in the face by a hunt follower. Details have been given to the police.

Day not yet over Bristol saw 2 quads which went inland in the dark, what they were up to we know not but as they ran away from us before we could ask them we will have to assume that it was nothing good.

5th December ’18 – Worcestershire Hunt

*** Sab car smashed up while sab in field with the hunt ***

Whilst keeping an eye on the Worcestershire hunt, this is what happened to the car…

A sab attended to see what this lot were up to. We keep hearing bad things about the Worcestershire so made sense to have a gander. They started off badly by hunting a fox just north of the church at Stock. Luckily sab was present to rate the pack who then rioted on a hare. Some supporters put a stop to that. It was easy to keep an eye of them until the police called to inform said sab’ that their car had been vandalised. Can’t say any more on that now suffice to say that we should be back on the road soon and that a police investigation is underway…

Video posted on facebook in January 2019. It appears from the back window that a blanket was placed over to obscure faces of those smashing, one elderly chap can be seen peering through the broken glass. 2 side windows were also smashed and a tyre slashed. To the front a spade can be seen smashing into the windscreen with the perpetrator out of sight. A quad bike can also be heard.

Villagers told us that a white van drew into the carpark and drove up to the sab car. They retreated for their own safety and called the police with the reg’ number. We have heard various things such as it was visiting Croome supporters. Anyway, we don’t know, neither do the police at this stage.

What we do know is that thanks to amazing support the car was back on the road within a couple of days, it won’t stop us sabbing. Nor would we ever lower ourselves to do that to one of their vehicles. This is clearly unacceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated…

3rd December ’18 – North Cotswold Hunt

*** North Cotswold Hunt dig out fox from badger sett and go on to hunt him through private gardens ***

A day shopping and catching up on admin was brought to an abrupt halt when a call about the NCH trespassing came in. One of us got over to Cleeve Prior and after a brief drive and listen thought she could hear hounds marking to ground. A brief walk inland and trying to pinpoint where they were with both gulls and other dogs making a din lead to concerns that they were digging out a fox due to the length of time the hounds were stationary.

When hunts dig out sometimes they have the hounds nearby to hunt the fox again, or in order to feed the fox (alive or dead) to the waiting pack. After a bit of a walk things soon became apparent. The pack were being held back by the whipper-in and huntsman. The field (what was left of it) were behind a hedge. Just a few yards away 3 men were digging in the woods.

A decision was made to make sab’ presence known in order that the terriers be pulled out as soon as possible. However, it became apparent that no terrier and no fox were below ground – the men were just filling in holes.

And suddenly there was the fox. Coincidentally popping up at that point or released by the terriermen?

The hounds surged forward all of a sudden and hunted towards the nearest dwellings where they upset residents who were appalled by the cruelty they witnessed. The pack hunted on, it went quiet and the worst is feared… although we have no way of knowing one way or the other of the fate of that fox.

West Mercia police are now dealing with various incidents.

28th November ’18 – North Cotswold Hunt

*** North Cotswold Hunt kill fox in hedgerow ***

We had received a tip-off that another hunt might be out today and were out and about when we heard that the North Cotswold Hunt had been spotted gathering near Mickleton.

We caught up with them early afternoon near Norton Hall but they did a runner from us, hunted a fox across Long Marston Lane and killed in a hedgerow. Despite being out until dark several times recently, they have packed up before 3pm today at Clopton Orchard Farm, straight after the kill.

Terriermen picked up the body and ran from the area, local landowner more concerned about whether we had permission to be in the field than the fact there were bits of an illegally killed fox strewn around the hedgeline. Person renting the next door field finds that her electric fence has been turned off by the hunt, leaving her horses vulnerable to getting out and on to the busy main road!

Police are aware…