*** North Cotswold Hunt actually hunting their own country * hounds mark to ground in active badger sett * presence of sabs prevents dig-out ***
North Cotswold Hunt
20th February 2019
Honeybourne / Weston Subedge area
The hunt met near Long Stretch Farm near Honeybourne. The meet was smaller than usual, but for the first time in weeks it was actually the North Cotswold pack – recently we’ve seen / heard reports of the Oakley, Bicester, Crawley and Horsham, United Pack and probably others coming into the area to hunt the country with their own hounds and only a handful of North Cots regular riders. Any info. on why this might be would be greatly appreciated!
The hunt moved off just after 11am and headed to a nearby (old) railway line where we know them to pick up on the scent of foxes when they hunt the area. Sure enough, one fox was scared out of hiding and towards the pack by a hunt member who was lurking on the line with his quad bike… hounds noticed the fox, but luckily for him they continued searching for scent instead of giving chase – we’ve heard rumours that huntsman Ollie has no idea what he’s doing and how to train hounds, but it’s a first for us watching fox and hounds look at each other from only a hundred or so yards away and for hounds to not even speak to him.
This doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t kill or give chase, as we have seen plenty of times this season, and hounds did speak briefly on the scent of a second fox who we spotted just moments later on the railway line. They were easy to rate (tell off) and huntsman took them out of the area due to sab presence shortly after, despite attempts by supporters to point out the location of the foxes and alert huntsman with shouts of “gone away”.
Other supporters seemed more interested in commenting on how “fit” they thought sabs were, sadly with female riders finding the sexist and misogynistic comments amusing. One of our sabs asked a female rider why she was filming her standing still on a footpath and a male rider replied that the sab was being filmed for him… “it’s for me. It’s your ass”.
The hunt carried on down to Weston Subedge, then back up through the land and towards Norton Hall. Another sab had joined us by this time and dropped one of us inland as hounds could be heard marking to ground (indicating that a hunted fox has sought shelter underground). As she got closer, it was obvious that they were marking at an active badger sett, terriermen and someone claiming to be a landowner all standing by as hounds moved on.
With a second foot sab descending on the group just seconds later (despite being reversed at by a hunt supporter in a pick-up with reg. number J8 NHW), terriermen finally chose to leave the area and therefore leave the fox and the sett alone. Sabs checked on the sett again later in the day to ensure it was untampered with and further checks will be done tomorrow to ensure no one went back to it.
The hunt continued to hunt through the area, heading near to a large woodland, but decided to just draw a few smaller coverts and hedgelines before heading back to the meet and packing up not long after 3pm… very unusual – even if Ollie has finally figured out that hunting and trying to find hounds in the dark is a bad idea, he packed up well before dark with very few hunt supporters looking like they’d enjoyed their day!
A bit of trespass, marking to ground, riding non-road-legal quad bikes which stink of fox, some push and shove and some riding at sabs… all in a normal day out for the North Cotswold Hunt.
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Please also let us know if you recognise any of the people in the video – landowner, terriermen and other quad bike rider. Thank you!