Willersey, North Cotswold badger cull zone
The day started early as we had a late-night tip-off that the NCH would be out hunting again (they also held a meet near Broadway on Monday).
There was heavy mist as the hunt gathered at Downrip Farm at 6.30am and, despite having young and inexperienced hounds with them and roads nearby, the hunt moved off on time. Scenting conditions were good in the mist and hounds went off in full cry, hunting along a hedgeline, back and forth along the lengths of hedge and through a field of cows with young calves – unlikely to be following a trail then – and we believe they may have killed inland not long after.
As the mist cleared, scent was less strong and further coverts were drawn blank (no fox found) or scent was on and off within them, hounds not staying on a line for long. We stayed with them, followed by terrierman Will Haines, while new terrierman Chris Trotman and girlfriend Georgia Ash Equestrian (both masked up for some reason) rode on the quad, trespassing on a local’s land, terriers and locator-collars (used when putting terriers below ground for illegal dig-outs) present on the quad with them.
Pack up was another early one at around 8.30am, terriermen and supporters having to do the whipper-in’s job as hounds ran around areas of the meet that they weren’t supposed to be in and whipper-in had ridden off elsewhere and wasn’t keeping them under control. With the lack of professionalism seen at this hunt over the seasons we wonder what new joint master Christian Kewk will think about what he’s let himself in for…
After breakfast and coffee in a nearby café, meeting two separate groups of locals who recognised us and told us of local hunt trespass and arrogance, we were off out to check setts and look for signs of badger cull activity. Really good to see healthy, active badger setts still exist in the area and meet anti-cull farmers and other locals!
We know the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt were out as well in the morning as terrierman Ben Hughes was spotted re-fuelling his pick-up (reg no. A006 CBV), terrier in front seat, quadbike on trailer behind (reg no. CT17 ATO) at 5.30am by one of our supporters – keep an eye out for him as he is also involved in the badger cull!