*** 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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