*** 4 blocked badger setts, huntsman blatantly encouraging hounds onto a fox, threats and vandalism ***
The day started pleasantly enough with the gentleman who usually collects the car cap trying his luck with us again… alas he did not suceed in his quest. A less polite, in fact a somewhat strange individual, came up to the car and threatened us a bit later…
At Hill End the hounds did start to pick up in front of us. To our suprise the huntsman Mark Melladay suddenly rode off leaving some bewildered hounds behind!
They then went into their favourite haunt… the Stanks and later crossed over to the Queenshill area where they repeatedly trespassed just a few weeks ago. We had found 4 blocked setts by the time they started drawing Long Covert.
Hounds were clearly being encouraged on and a fox broke covert, running through Heath Hill Farm. Mark nearly rode into one sab’ and the barbed wire fence behind them. We sadly did not get there in time to stop them and could not call them back and Mark continued to encourage them on…
Thankyou to the lovely sab from Bristol Hunt Saboteurs who joined us today.
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It seems the North Cotswold Hunt have invited the Bicester down to hunt their country and learn the ways of hunting until way after dark and riding overloaded quads down public roads with no tax, insurance, MOT…
Two of us have been out all day with the hunt and a third was well-placed when driving home from work to witness a hunt supporter yell ‘Tally Ho!’ and inform a rider on point that he had seen a fox crossing from Welshman’s Hedge Wood (where we filmed a fox chase earlier in the season at the NCH).
Bicester pack and whipper-in were in control for most of the day with some supporters and riders from the NCH so it was a joint meet of some sort… wonder what’s going on there though. They spent most of the day hunting Lidcombe Wood and Shenberrow Hill. Round and round.
Video to follow. Sabs have just come out from inland as the hunt were out way after darkness fell. On these icy roads, which are likely to get worse as it gets colder, we’d have thought an earlier pack up would be sensible to ensure horse boxes could get back safely…
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*** Sabs prevent dig-out at badger sett ***
With Bristol Sabs and other groups out we decided to walk inland and check that setts had not been disturbed or baited. As this is (possibly) the last few days now of free shooting in the longest cull ever and suspected bait points had been found the day before we sett checked and were also in prime position to view where hounds were.
Between us all we had them under control most of the day. They did hunt a fox for quite a while in the rough area of Tibberton/Taynton with us trying to catch up.
The fox went to ground in a badger sett and as we aproached one of us was nearly run over by huntsman Gary Williams riding very dangerously close. For a second it was thought they had killed, but then it became clear that they were marking to ground with a couple of hounds doing their best to dig the fox out themselves. Wishful thinking on the hounds part, setts are very deep and a safe sanctuary…
… until that is terriers and spades arrive. Which they most certainly did with chief terrierman Nick Hodges on the scene already saying that badgers don’t have setts in the middle of fields. Ahem…
Anyway, despite this being the 6th year and 7th month of culling the sett was clearly active. Hounds had been rated (told off) and had left the entrances of the sett. Why they do this and then whinge about badgers being highly infectious re btb we cannot quite work out.
So Gary had thrown his teddies and then Nick’s underlings threw theirs when they arived a few minutes later. As the mounted field milled around expectantly and some more teddies were thrown it became apparent that we may have foiled their evil plans. After a bit of chest beating from one of those masked up they all went off to pastures new and were stopped hunting foxes by the oter groups.
As dusk came we went to Gadfield, also in the cull zone, to hold a vigil for our friend Tracey Crawford who died 2 years ago. She had protected setts in Tibberton and Taynton and then in the Gadfield area at a later date. We were also keeping a watchful eye out for any shooting activity. We dedicate the day’s sabbing to her memory.
*** Ledbury Hunt trespass on to Malvern Hills Trust land * Hunt supporter attempts to alert huntsman to presence of fox running for their life ***
Copied from Fox Hunt off Malvern Hills
‘Fun facts’ of today’s hunting on Castlemorton Common:
– No proper permission as event not registered/applied for with MHT
– No trail was laid, hunt told MHT as no planned ‘trail hunt’ event like other meets
– Sheep farmer with scared, running pregnant ewes on common was not told hunt were coming, by MHT or hunt
– Hounds flush fox out of cover on MHT land and supporter raises arm and waves hat to advertise their where-abouts
– Hunt supporter in Landrover Discovery V283 GCY driving through common aggressively threatens to attack hunt monitor/saboteur if camera points at him – turns out that the plates are copied from his car!