As the Badger Trust release images of dead badgers in body bags piled up for burning (pictured in the Daily Mirror) we remind people of this very day 2 years ago…
On 23rd October 2017 we posted these pictures, a bloodied body bag which had blown off the back of a badger shooter’s pickup truck the night before in the North Cotswold cull zone. The dead badger who had once briefly occupied the bag had obviously not been ‘dealt with’ as per the regulations – they had not been double-bagged and the bag had not been sealed, allowing it to blow away while the shooter drove off through the cull zone.
Biosecurity? Not taken seriously when people wish to shoot badgers for money. We strongly believe that the culls will do nothing to reduce bTB and with perturbation risks and guidelines being ignored it is likely to have worsened the problem.
Add to that the fact that fox hunts block and dig out badger setts and there are issues with badger baiters and others operating in the area, farms with bTB breakdowns are hosting hunt meets, animal welfare and cleanliness on farms is often low on the priorities and dead farm animals are left to rot on land and we’re definitely seeing badgers being scapegoated…
We kennel-watched the Cotswold Vale early morning but they did not head out. As we were having a chat about where to try looking for the Croome, we received a call about them going up Bredon Hill (and onto the Overbury Estate, somewhere we are very active in fighting the badger cull).
The hunt tried to shake us by going a long way round a field and across a track but we didn’t fall for it and found them hunting soon after – and as can be seen from the photo a fox and a deer ran to safety, their line sprayed with citronella (and a couple of inquisitive hounds told off so they did not follow). Another sab was able to easily rate back hounds that were picking up on some other deer.
Ben (huntsman) and Simon (whipper-in) legged it uphill, only to find that we are pretty persistant and know the area well. Once again they tried to shake us but we anticipated their moves and intercepted them.
Pack-up soon followed, after what was basically a lovely ride / hike in the sun on the hills. We did check inland south of the meet to ensure they hadn’t just headed out the other side to hunt more. Sett-checking afterwards as the cull is ongoing. This area is also known to have snares on it, so we looked out for any loose hounds off the tracks.
Please continue to support us: like and share our page and posts, raise awareness with us, chuck us a few quid for fuel via paypal.me/threecountiessabs. Information is essential. Without the call this morning we’d be unlikely to find them by chance!
Well that was a long day! We did the North Cotswold Hunt this morning, kennel-watching at 6.45am and out with them until they packed up just after midday. We then dropped by a shoot, checked badger setts in the North Cots cull zone, had lunch, checked more setts, got home, got a call that the Ledbury had been spotted, headed over, checked setts in the West Gloucestershire cull zone and then headed home after the Ledbury Hunt packed up. In the dark. With children and pony club and newbies out. Many on dark horses and wearing dark clothes.
North Cotswold Hunt: Jamie Smith
We caught up with the North Cotswold Hunt on what we believe was their newcomer’s day on Saturday 19th October. Judging by previous seasons, and where else the hunt have met recently, we had suspicions that they may be meeting near Wormington and, sure enough, as we drove through the area, hunt boxes came towards us. Car parked up nearby, we walked inland as there are various areas inaccessible by vehicle.
Early on we could hear hounds picking up around Wormington Grange and Ryefield Farm (which has had numerous bTB breakdowns and yet hosted hunt meets while they did not have a TB-free status on several occasions). Hunt staff brought hounds across towards Wynniat’s Coppice but a couple of hounds picked up on a deer who was trying to get away from them and the pack went straight back across the road… where hunt staff tried for some time to regain control of them!
Jamie Smith (you may recognise this name from recent outings where he has grabbed and tried to trip one of our sabs, lied about being an agent for various landowners and been fairly cr*p at hide and seek) saw sabs and decided to do his new trick of playing rugby on his portable radio really loudly. This kind of tactic – making noise through playing music, phone ringtones, loud conversations and running vehicle engines – has been used by a few hunts to stop sabs and monitors hearing the hunt (hounds speaking, horn and voice commands, figuring out the location of a hunt inland) and to prevent foxes running in our direction. Evidence of the tactic was used against the Heythrop Hunt by the independent Hunt Monitors, POWA and the RSPCA when they were taken to court for illegal hunting.
Far from making us ineffective, dealing with the tactic is challenging us to think of ways around it. Of course it is harder to gather evidence and intercept when hounds chase wildlife as any noise can ‘head’ (scare) an animal back into the hounds or scare them from their hiding places. Sabs split so that only one of them had to deal with Jamie and the other could deal with the hunt properly. Throughout the morning the noise that Jamie was making helped move the hunt on a couple of times, forced a rider with a skittish horse to move away from an artificial earth she was stationed at (thereby making it possible for a fox to escape into it if necessary – and we could be present to prevent the hunt from flushing them back out of it) and annoyed a few landowners and members of the hunt who wished to hear the hounds and enjoy the countryside.
Jamie likes to try and gather evidence of sabs trespassing, though he is known to lie about being landowner / agent and lie about where the hunt are allowed to be (Guiting Quarry for one example…). He is also often unaware of where he is and of the location of public rights of way and, on the 19th, he tried to stop a sab from using a footpath into Rushbrook Coppice and, had there not been a sign directly behind him, he would likely have blocked / grabbed her again. Hounds picked up on a scent in a pheasant pen in the wood (an odd place to lay a trail…??) and sab rated them off it, huntsman deciding to gather the pack and do a runner for Mocho Coppice.
The hunt went straight past Mocho, sab followed by Jamie still and another sab at the opposite treeline. Into Childswickham, around the roads and straight back towards Mocho on a failed mission to shake us. Hounds drew blank in the Coppice but picked up in nearby fields (terriermen’s quadbike running over and damaging root crops) and sabs stayed nearby to intervene if necessary. Meanwhile Jamie was getting told off by a landowner as hunt staff, hounds, and Jamie’s quadbike had all been trespassing!
If they treat landowners who aren’t even anti-hunt like this, they’re going to have even less respect for anti-hunt people…
Back through the land towards the meet and hunt members, including Jamie and Malcolm, tried to fool us into thinking they were packing up. Back to the car, we drove round to Manor Farm Buildings where the hunt were doing their last few draws. As they packed up (one whipper-in down as his horse was lame) the remaining hunt staff returned to Manor Farm to box up, leaving at least 3 hounds behind who were not under control – see next section.
An interesting morning out and evidence gathered of the hunt’s activities.
North Cotswold Hunt: Malcolm Farrow
We would like to introduce Malcolm Farrow, oft seen around the North Cotswold Hunt kennels on open day and out at the hunt. Generally polite and up for a chat, he is married to the secretary of the hunt, Gina (if you live in the Cotswolds you may be thinking that the name rings a bell – she runs Gina Farrow Property Consultancy with her friend).
He spent much of the morning at yesterday’s hunt meet following one of our sabs round on foot, chatting about poaching and speciesism and keeping an eye on her (another sab got Jamie Smith’s company… more on him – again – soon).
As the hunt packed up at Manor Farm in Wormington, 3 loose hounds were seen coming out of nearby Manor Farm Buildings behind which the hunt had finished their hunting for the day. The 1st whip had already taken the remainder of the pack to the hunt box but had left these behind and no one was on the road to slow down potential oncoming vehicles. When questioned, Malcolm said that’s what he was there for, but he had only come down the road because sabs had driven down to ensure the hunt were packing up…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Malcolm stated that it’s all about ‘chance’. That should inspire confidence in locals who already that morning had to deal with the hounds hunting a deer across a road near Ryefield Farm and those who have had the pleasure of loose hounds being left behind at various meets by hunt staff, running on to roads, into private gardens, chasing wildlife, etc. with no one there to stop or control them.
‘All on’ (said in the video) means ensuring you have the whole pack with you before moving off. A sensible thing to do, particularly around roads. Unfortunately we see time and time again hunt staff (huntsman and whippers-in) calling for hounds when they’re on the opposite side of a road or just leaving an area without every hound or taking more than 10 minutes to find and round up the pack because hounds just aren’t paying attention to them.
Tickets for the North Cotswold Hunt Ball, which will be held on 7th December, went on sale at the end of September and, having had a look at the details and the hosts, we decided that a post about the hunt was needed.
The North Cotswold Hunt (NCH) has been a hunt that we have attended the meets of for several seasons, sometimes only a few times a season, occasionally focusing on them more. Nigel Peel was huntsman for many a year, until Ollie Dale took over the role. Guy Fitzearle has been kennel huntsman for both of these men. William Haines (junior) has acted as terrierman for a number of seasons and Chris Trotman joined the hunt as terrierman for the 2019 – 2020 season.
Location: Nayles Barn, Cutsdean
During this cubhunting season (August 2019) the hunt have met in this area weekly. They have met here several times each season and often end up running into Stanway Stone, which is the quarry situated between Toad’s Corner and Nayles Larch, right by Nayles Barn (who in their right mind would lay a trail in a working quarry full of machinery and steep rock piles?) There is at least one artificial earth in this area, one which we know has had foxes blocked into it before hunt meets in the past, one which has been blocked on occasion to stop foxes escaping into, one which has badger sett entrances nearby which have also been blocked up and one which has had chicken carcasses left next to it during the hunting season in order to feed and therefore encourage foxes to use it.
He also owns other land near Nayles Larch / Barn where badger cages were found in a covert right next to where hounds were hunting, often in full cry, for around 4 hours on this day in October. As badgers can be shot anytime up to midday in the culls once they’ve been trapped in cages overnight and the hunt were in the area between 7.30am and 11.30am, there could easily have been badgers in these cages whilst hounds hunted just metres away – imagine the fear of hearing hounds in full cry and being able to do nothing to escape…
Host: Lord Wemyss
Also known by the title ‘Earl of Wemyss and March’ or James Charteris (also by the surname Neidpath) Lord Wemyss owns the Stanway Estate, including the quarry, Nayles Barn, Nayles Larch, Toad’s Corner and plenty of the surrounding area.
Wemyss owns tens of thousands of acres of land in total and this also includes land near Hailes Abbey, where hounds marked to ground in an active badger sett on 11th October (see picture on left above) and land in Didbrook where hounds killed a fox on 13th September (see two remaining pictures above) and hunt servant Tim Pearce-May (formerly of the Ledbury Hunt*) was filmed trying to head cubs back into the hounds in a maize field.
*Tim Pearce-May was questioned over theft from his time at the Ledbury Hunt when he stole a banner from Three Counties Sabs at a protest. He was made to reimburse the group by the police. He is also on film on numerous occasions being involved in illegal hunting as part of the Ledbury Hujt over the seasons
The video above, from 10th March 2018, is also from land near Didbrook, not far from where the fox was killed in September of this year.
Land is also owned elsewhere in Cutsdean, including the covert through which hounds chased this fox back in November 2018, Guy Fitzearle shrugging at sabs when he was informed that hounds were indeed chasing a fox and continuing to encourage them on…
In January 2019 hunt supporters were filmed by a sab driving home from work as they alerted hunt staff when a fox ran across the road just the other side of the above covert. “Tally Ho” can be heard and the hunt supporter points to show that the fox has run into the covert opposite then tells hunt staff where he was seen. Again, this covert is owned by Lord Wemyss.
We would be incredibly surprised if Lord Wemyss believed that this hunt are lawfully following a false scent, especially as up until 2 seasons ago they were claiming to flush foxes to a bird of prey, using the ‘Falconer’s Exemption’. As they were not claiming to be following trails, how are we supposed to believe that they were from allowing hounds to find foxes and flush them from their hiding places out to a bird of prey* but are now fully trained to follow a false scent instead…
*for those who are unaware, several hunts used to pretend to use the Falconers’ Exemption. This exemption was written into the Hunting Act in order to allow falconers to use a couple of dogs to scare out of hiding certain animals for their birds of prey to chase. Fox hunts picked up on this loophole and tried to use it for themselves, though many of them didn’t even bother pretending very hard – they would have a bird of prey present but instead of stopping hounds as soon as an animal had broken covert, they allowed the pack to continue chasing. The exemption has pretty much been abandoned by hunts since last season…
We haven’t touched on Mr R Deutsch, mentioned on the above invitation, as he is a much smaller landowner and lives in the part of the country which the NCH share with the Warwickshire. As a smaller, and less wealthy, landowner he is far more vulnerable to legal action if the hunt are found to be illegally hunting on his land with his permission – Wemyss is far more likely to be able to afford good legal defendants…
The Chip Shop Boyswill be playing at the Hunt Ball – despite being told about the hunt’s activities over the seasons they have chosen not to even respond to polite messages asking why they want to be associated with a criminal group.
SimilarlyToke’s Food and Drink of Chipping Campden will be catering for the hunt and, despite being sent a polite message informing them of the hunt’s activities, they also decided not to even acknowledge the message.
Possibly somewhat less surprising that they support the hunt, as we believe that a prominent hunt member and stalker-of-anti-hunt-people works for the company, Fews Marquees will be providing shelter for party-goers on the day.
The following information is about the activities of the hunt elsewhere than on land mentioned above.
Far from helping to ‘Conserve the Cotswolds’, the North Cotswold Hunt have been filmed on countless occasions over the seasons tampering with badger setts (an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992), trespassing on locals’ land, blatantly chasing foxes and cubs and putting their hounds, horses and terriers at risk, not to mention the safety and lives of others in the areas in which they hunt.
The next video shows terrierman William Haines (junior) at a badger sett which he had started digging into during cubhunting in 2016. He has a police caution for attempting to run over a sab in December of that same year and has been reported to us more recently for causing the death of some of his terriers that same season.
It is not just badger setts which Will Haines likes to put his terriers into, but also artificial earths, particularly when the hunt ‘need’ a fox to chase in the area (for example when they are trying to impress their mates from the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt). In this next video you can see Will Haines at the entrance of an artificial earth and he admits that his dog is inside, but claims that the dog is ‘trapped’ (he should probably keep them away from drains and setts and earths, etc. then…).
The hunt have met on a number of occasions at Ryefield Farm in Wormington, and use the above artificial earth on the Wormington Estate when they are in the area. Not only have sabs been assaulted by hunt members when the hunt have met there, but the farm itself has had several bTB breakdowns… the hunt have met there while there are open cases, meaning that the farm has not yet been cleared of the disease! One example of a hunt meet at Ryefield was when Kingston Hunt Sabs were in the area in September 2017 and came out to the hunt with us, filming hunt hounds walking through slurry and between separation crates with calves in them, running to nearby bTB-free dairy and beef farms and potentially spreading the disease to other cows and wildlife…
The next video is from only a few fields away from that meet at Ryefield Farm, though much closer to the near bTB-free farm. Saddle-slapping can be heard in the clip, a way of making noise as to try and prevent a fox from escaping in a particular direction.
This is certainly not the only time when, or place where, the hunt have met at a farm with an unresolved bTB issue. On 27th September this year the hunt met at Clopton Orchard Farm (where they have met several times previously).
This farm has had an ‘open’ (unresolved) bTB status since June this year and yet the hunt believe it sensible to draw hedgerows by piles of manure, mark to ground in active badger setts and run hounds, horses and vehicles across a number of different fields and through coverts, going from the meet with bTB via other landowners’ properties and then right back to the meet. The following short video clip shows the hunt picking up on the scent of a fox in a hedgerow – as can be seen from the video, it would not be an area that any hunt who were following a false scent would actually lay a trail. Luckily for this fox the presence of sabs filming and rating caused the hunt to gather the pack and move on – they returned later on the way back to the meet to try again but were unable to pick up on his scent.
This is the same area (and almost the same hedgerow, only slightly closer to the main road) where the hunt killed a fox in November 2018. On the other side of the hedgerow we found further evidence of the kill and, whilst filming, the landowner arrived and asked us why we had brought a quadbike into her field of horses – we explained that the quad belonged to the hunt and that we were anti-hunt and she told us that the hunt had had no permission to be in her field. As she checked on her distraught horses she realised that as the terriermen had ridden off with the fox’s body on their quad, they had turned off and failed to turn on again the electric fence – with vehicles (including HGVs) driving at speed on the road adjacent to the field these horses had been put in serious danger.
Speaking of hunt trespass, later in 2018 the hunt were caught digging out at a badger sett by a sab. Hunt servants were holding up the pack of hounds just along the hedgerow which is done while waiting for a fox to be released for them to give chase. The fox ran through local gardens, hounds following behind and outraged residents told sabs that the had obviously not given the hunt permission to go through their land… once again, the hunt were obviously not following a false scent…
Choosing to be more concerned about the odd bit of trespass from sabs, hunt members often lie about being landowners – this can be quite amusing when it happens in front of the actual landowner, particularly if the hunt are the ones trespassing at the time. Tens of anti-hunt (and even pro-hunt, but anti-arrogance) landowners have been referred to the fantastic advice of Hounds Off over the seasons as they provide assistance to landowners in stopping hunt trespass and taking further legal action if required against hunts persisting in their activities.
It is not always like this, however, and we do not lie about the fact that we often trespass. Unlike the hunt, however, we cause no damage to crops, fences, cause no harm to farm or domestic animals or other wildlife and do not put lives at risk. Hunt members are known to be far less concerned about risks posed to sabs and others by riding horses at us or by paying more attention to us filming their illegal hunting than to what the hounds are up to at the time – the railway line in the following video is a live railway, not a disused one… if a false scent has been laid there or near there then the hunt staff are posing a great risk to the hounds, railway staff and any passengers aboard trains using the line. If no trail has been laid there then it should be fairly obvious to hunt members that the hounds have followed the scent of a fox or are looking for the line… either way there is a severe lack of urgency shown as no hunt servants attempt to call hounds away from the line and allow hounds to continue to cast for a scent. The railway company were contacted and confirmed that the hunt have been told to stay away…
It is not just railway lines which the hunt like to pose a risk to members of the public and their own hounds on. Main roads are another common feature in a hunting day out with the NCH…
The next video shows terriermen (and self-proclaimed landowner) at an area where hounds had just marked to ground – we also have film and pictures of the badger sett which hounds had damaged). Despite sabs being on footpaths, and therefore not trespassing, they were driven at and pushed when checking on the sett. In an adjacent field the hunt were filmed as one of their members removed a gate from its hinges due to the fact it was locked – no permission had been given for the hunt to be present on that land on the day. This is a common occurrence as you cannot accurately predict where a fox will run to during a chase…
Hunt members and supporters do not only remove gates for trespassing hunt servants, drive vehicles / ride horses at sabs on footpaths and push them about and alert hunt servants as to the location of running foxes, they also ‘head’ foxes into the hounds during chases…*
This next video shows footage taken by a sab from Three Counties and also one from Bristol Hunt Saboteurs who met up at a meet of the NCH. At around 2mins 30secs you can see hounds in Guiting Quarry, an area which has confirmed on previous occasions the hunt have no right to be in. At 3mins 35secs vice-chairman of the hunt Jamie Smith (who has more recently stalked, assaulted and pushed around another sab from Three Counties Sabs whilst pretending to be an agent of the landowner) tries to force the sab from Bristol off the footpath that she was on. At around 4mins 50secs you see a brief fox chase, members of the hunt head the fox back into the hounds and others grab the two sabs present and restrain them while the hounds kill the fox…
This last video shows hounds in Guiting Quarry back on November 1st 2017 when the manager of the area confirms that the hunt have no permission to be on the land, that they would not be given permission to go there to lay a trail or chase foxes and that they would be getting in touch with the hunt about this… even if no communication was received by the hunt, our video was posted online at the time and hunt staff and members commented on it at later hunt meets. But when you’re chasing a fox, apparently the safety of your hounds is apparently less important than your sport…
The information written and shown on this page is certainly not an exhaustive list of what the hunt and supporters have been up to and what they will get up to, but should be enough for any reasonable member of society to wish to dissociate themselves with the ‘North Cotswold Hunt’ name and reputation. The Chip Shop Boys, R&R Catering and Events Hire, Fews Marquees and Toke’s are only a few of those who are supporting the hunt and are only involved in helping criminals to have a good time at a party…
Lord Wemyss (or whatever James Charteris wishes to be known as) will not only be hosting a party for the hunt this year but continues to allow them to illegally hunt on his land. Chicken carcasses left outside of a well-used covert containing an artificial earth. Badgers traps set in coverts which the hunt draw their hounds through to pick up on the scent of foxes. Blocked setts and foxes blocked into artificial earths. Blatant fox chases which often head off Wemyss’ land and on to neighbouring fields and woodlands which the hunt have no permission to be on. Assaults of sabs and monitors when they gain evidence of illegal hunts, fox kills and even when they’re on footpaths. Hunt supporters heading foxes and cubs back towards the pack of hounds. Badger setts damaged and obstructed as hounds mark to ground in them, foxes trying to escape while being chased. Until this hunt are stopped, they will continue trying to ‘Con the Cotswolds’.
*** hunt block artificial earth, badger sett and rabbit warren entrances prior to meet * stray hounds rated off fox scent * exhausted cub chased on to road and into woods ***
The day began early as we knew that the hunt would be meeting, yet again, near Nayles Larch (not far from Spring Hill where they’ve ended up each week since cubhunting started). We were aware that the terrierman’s quadbike had been taken to the meet early so we headed straight there. A sab went inland to check on a known artificial earth (AE) and was followed by terrierman Chris Trotman. Once near the AE our usual stalker Jamie Smith attempted to do a handover and release Chris from his following duties but sab managed to easily evade him, Chris joking about playing games of hide and seek. And so it began…
As sab found the AE blocked up, along with nearby badger sett and larger entrances of a rabbit warren, the hunt were preparing to leave the meet, watched by another sab. Inland the AE was unblocked and checked – we know that foxes have been blocked into it in the past in order to flush out for the hounds to chase, so needed to ensure this was not the case this morning.
As the hounds entered Nayles Larch and picked up on a scent, sab ran in their direction, Jamie Smith riding his quad towards her and a repeat of his behaviour a few weeks ago ensued, grabbing and pulling and general immaturity. He was informed that he should call the police if he wished to remove her (we can’t trust him when he says he is an agent of the landowner because he has lied about this before, once right in front of the actual owner of some land!) and he did so, briefly letting go of the sab at one point who took the opportunity to run. Despite an attempt to trip her on the rocks from the quarry she got away and into the woods where she stopped stray hounds from chasing a fox towards the rest of the pack, Victoria Collins taking on the role of pretend-agent-of-the-landowner but lacking the determination to stay with the sab.
Out of Nayles Larch and through the covert with the AE, hounds soon picked up on a scent and then found themselves back in Nayles Larch. Hounds spent some time within the wood – more on that later – and when huntsman Ollie Dale decided to gather the hounds and move on the pack returned to the covert with the AE, they picked up on a line immediately and chased a fox across the quarry (who in their right mind would lay a trail across a working quarry full of machinery and steep rock piles?) and, once again, back into Nayles Larch. Jamie Smith had been alerted to the sab’s presence and tried to find her within the wood, looking downtrodden as he walked straight past her having failed to do so. As a young deer ran from the pack and hounds picked up on her scent and Jamie proved that hunt members are perfectly capable of stopping hounds giving chase when they’re not supposed to.
The shoot had started nearby and morning was drawing on and yet the hunt drew through a nearby small woodland, an exhausted cub running on to road and filmed by a sab. He had a couple of minutes headstart on the hounds and his line was driven over by both the sab and her stalker. Hounds lost the scent as they hit the road but a hunt member told Ollie Dale that the fox had “gone left-handed” and he took the pack on to pick up the scent. Near Nayles Barn another hunt member told Ollie where the fox had gone – “ran down there by the jump and cut the corner” and the pack were encouraged to carry on on the line. Sab ran over and did her best to rate hounds… luckily for this cub it was late morning and Nayles Larch (where they had ended up once more) is a big woodland… the hounds were soon gathered and taken back to the meet as Jamie Smith failed again to find the sab.
With the area so large and landlocked and hounds spread out all over for much of the time we cannot be sure if any hounds killed throughout the day, but we certainly didn’t make it any easier for them and gathered some decent evidence with which we are building a case against the hunt. In areas like this it can be difficult to keep up with the hunt, particularly as there are large areas adjacent to each other, quarries around the woods and little road access.
As the sab walked back to her pick-up point and got within 10 metres of the road, Jamie felt the need to film her and tell her to return to the road, so that he could pretend that she was only doing so because he had said so… we almost feel sorry for him – he likes to think of himself as a big deal in the hunt and tries hard to gain respect but they just use him and take the piss out of him. Ah well…
Hide and seek results… Jamie: 0 / Sab: 7
The day hadn’t yet ended as the cull is believed to be still in progress in parts of the North Cotswold zone so setts were checked and bait points emptied. On the way home we found stray sheep wandering on a busy A-road outside of Stow and spent 40 minutes helping local farmers get them away from the road, slowing down traffic and scooping up a local terrier in the process who had come over to see what was going on!
More video clips to follow. See you on Monday Ollie and friends (we can’t promise you’ll see us though).
*** NCH hounds mark to ground in an active badger sett in a badger cull zone for second time this week ***
We kennel-watched the NCH this morning and found the hunt meet was right by Hayles Fruit Farm (near Hailes Abbey, just south of Didbrook).
Sabs went inland straight away as there are badger setts in nearby fields and coverts. The hunt initially headed north from the meet and drew hedgerows up towards the school in Didbrook, hounds running out of control on the road as children and parents turned up to begin the school day.
One of our sabs was being followed by Georgie Ash who is the girlfriend of terrierman Chris Trotman and who appears to have been roped into keeping an eye on sabs… one may wonder what the hunt have to hide to need sabs constantly being followed. When the school headmaster came out on to the road to enquire what was happening Georgie seemed to have forgotten to rehearse her answers and was unsure what to say (especially with hounds still straying across the road) and it was down to sabs to inform him that it was an illegal cub hunt.
The hunt entered Hailes Wood from the north and hounds picked up on a scent almost immediately and gave chase, sabs recognising the familiar sound of ‘marking to ground’ (where hounds indicate that a fox has sought shelter underground). A sab made her way to the area and found several hounds still trying to dig into the entrances of an active sett (this area is in the badger cull and so setts are checked regularly by locals working alongside Gloucestershire Badger Office). Huntsman had tried to remove the pack from the location but a number of hounds had, unsurprisingly with this hunt, ignored him. There were still hounds loose half an hour later. Sab stuck around to ensure no one came back to dig out the fox and ensured that there were open entrances for him to escape out of (and to ensure badgers have an air supply) as hounds had forced a lot of soil into the entrances and blocked them. Hound pawprints and claw marks were visible on the surrounding earth.
The hunt did a runner and we caught up with them again later in the morning when they were at Thrift Wood, to the East. Hounds picked up north of Staits Grove, terriermen rushing to catch up from where they had been chilling in the field between Hailes and Thrift woods before heading back to the meet to pack up.
As we were right in the middle of the North Cotswold cull zone we spent our time in the fields and woods wisely, checking for badger cull activity. Some beautiful setts still out there…
Video shows hounds marking to ground. Police have been informed of the hunt’s activities. If you like what we do and want to support us please share our posts, like our page and, if you’re able to help financially, chuck us a few quid through paypal.me/threecountiessabs
*** NCH hounds mark to ground in active badger sett in ongoing badger cull zone * Hunt member attempts to head fox towards pack and alert hunt staff ***
The North Cotswold Hunt met just outside of Broadway today. We got there early and got up into the hills at Buckland to intercept them and picked them up by Pye Corner. As hunt staff and supporters were not yet aware of our presence, we were able to watch a hunt member as he headed a fox back towards the hunt, holloa’d to let the hunt know of the sighting and pointed…
Luckily for this fox the hounds were on the scent of others – the pack split and two separate groups of hounds marked to ground in different areas while others followed a scent into a farmyard and explored the barns and buildings (to the annoyance of the farmers…). There were numerous signs all over the stiles and fences telling dog-walkers to keep their dogs on leads, explaining that they scare and can harm farm animals. Evidently the hunt were exempt…
The hunt travelled south, terriermen with us and therefore not digging out any setts, picking up on a scent for some time in one area but losing it and moving on. They headed downhill towards Laverton with one sab keeping an eye on them from the quarry, others sabs stalked by hunt members but this sab managing to keep out of sight. Hounds picked up intermittently but seemed unable to stay on a scent for long. As the morning drew on, huntsman took hounds back to and through Buckland, drawing the same shrub and undergrowth for around ten minutes, but again unable to flush out a fox to chase… and so they moved on.
As one sab had been keeping an eye on the hunt’s location, others headed to the hunt’s location and kept with them while the other sab caught up. A decent pincer movement, someone always with eyes on the hunt. Back to the original area where the hunt had first been found and sabs heard hounds pick up then what sounded like marking to ground… terriermen headed to the area and huntsman blew three notes on the horn (blowing for the terriers) so sabs went inland and arrived at an active badger sett around the same time as terrierman Chris Trotman who, after slipping down a spoil heap, decided that he was actually just trying to round up loose hounds.
This area is in the North Cotswold badger culling zone, the cull is in progress at the moment… while the hunt packed up nearby we checked other setts in the area, put up cameras to monitor activity (badger, cull operative and terrierman) then headed out to other areas this afternoon to keep an eye on cull activity.
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We were out with Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and Ridgeway Illegal Huntwatch. The stalkers were out after CIHW following them everywhere!
Late in the morning, at Addy’s Firs, 2 foxes were seen running to safety from the pack (see video). A bit or rating and spraying citronella may have helped but it is thought that sab presence each side of the covert stopped them from pursuing as they would have done if we were not present.
Much sett checking done afterwards nearby as this area is in the third year of culling. As the hounds hit the field after the second fox the scent had become difficult to stay on.
The Beaufort (again), Tuesday 1st October, Inglestone Common. We did not see much of the hunt in this huge landlocked area. Sadly we found what was once a large sett filled in with the remnants of a fire on top during the morning. After a coffee break it was on into an afternoon spent sett checking nearby, hearing guns shooting pheasants on the first day of the pheasant shooting season…
There were also reports of the Croome meeting at Marshall’s lorry park, Throckmorton.
We had a tip-off that the hunt would be meeting back near Spring Hill House. They were in this area last week and the week before that they killed a cub at Spring Hill.
The hunt realised we were around and, despite the preparation work done by quadbike-riding hunt staff around known artificial earths, ran to nearby Spring Hill (which is a large landlocked area with very few footpaths).
Jamie Smith latched on to one of us on foot, which saved the rest of us from his chatter and the playing of rugby loudly on his radio.
Meanwhile another of us ran inland and found hounds picking up near to Campden Ashes. With one rider trying to stop sab from filming by pretending she was a friend of the landowner (this hunt is getting repetitive and boring) and screeching about trespass, turning her horse into the sab, sab left the main track and rider gave up. She saw a hunt supporter (who we believe is the ex-terrierman for this hunt but are awaiting an ID) with 3 terriers standing on a spoil heap of a blocked badger sett.
He claimed over and over that the sett was not active and therefore it wasn’t illegal to block it, but when asked why it was blocked in the first place he suddenly became speechless… this is all in the North Cotswold cull zone with the cull in progress.
Police have been informed. Again.
While others were inland checking on setts and artificial earths, hounds picked up and ran towards the road to the south, our driver for the day rating the pack off the scent and huntsman took the pack back inland once more.
(NB if you have hounds near you and in sight and can be sure that no or is trying to escape from them towards you, you can rate the hounds back with voice commands such as “leave it”. Cracking a homemade whip (not hitting the hounds) and even clapping your hands loudly can work. Even if the lead hounds have passed by you on the scent, stopping the remainder of the pack may bring the lead hounds back and away from the hunted animal).
Not the easiest meet but plans scuppered, hunt annoyed and yet another visit from our group, and some successes throughout the morning.
Back out protecting badgers for the remainder of the day and into the night. See you in the fields!