11th October – North Cotswold Hunt

*** 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

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