14th November ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

We received a call this morning that the Ledbury Hunt were seen meeting up in an area near Upton-upon-Severn, despite fairly bad flooding throughout parts of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. A sab was on her way through Worcs and dropped in to an area we know well in order to check some badger setts and see if she could find the hunt.

Badger setts checked, sab walked inland to where the hunt had just drawn blank through one covert in The Stanks. A new thing for us, the landowner, Mark (not to be confused with Mark the huntsman) was present and apparently very trustworthy as he belived that the hunt were following a trail because they had said so at the meet…

Soon after, a fox was seen running from a small covert to a larger one and sab, knowing that landowner Mark was on the phone to the police and not in contact with the hunt, pointed out the fox – Mark turned to look and suddenly turned back, evidently not wanting to see the fox as it would ruin his excuse that he had no idea that he was allowing illegal hunting on his land. Sab waited to see if hounds would definitely pick up on the scent – they did – then ran into the covert and rated them back as they came towards her.

Huntsman Mark gathered hounds and moved on while landowner Mark told the police that he shouldn’t have to police his own land *sigh*. Look up the definition of torts law (civil matters) landowner Mark and remember that hunting illegally (and allowing others to do so on your land) is a criminal offence. Badger setts are being checked on again this evening and tomorrow to ensure nothing untoward has occurred during the day and they will continue to be checked regularly.

Meanwhile today, the Heythrop were spotted in their Oxfordshire country with hounds out of control, loose hounds worrying local domestic dogs and hunt staff riding at speed out into traffic. Police have been informed and, again, locals will be out checking badger setts for evidence of blocking / digging.

13th November ’19 – Worcestershire Hunt

*** Lone sab prevents dig-out * huntsman blows for terriers as hounds mark to ground at active sett * hunt trespass in local area ***

The Worcestershire Hunt met today at the Talbot Pub in Knightwick. From the meet they started by hunting foxes in Hay Wood before moving on to another area where another fox was hunted. He escaped into a deep badger sett and the hounds very clearly marked to ground there (marking to ground is where the hounds will make a distinctive noise at sett / earth / drain entrances or another area where a fox has escaped and they will try to get to the fox, although they are too big normally to get into a sett).

Our 24hr confidential tip-off line is: 07891 639803

Huntsman Roderick Wilson actively encouraged the hounds in marking, praising them and blew three times on his hunting horn which is a call for the terriermen to come into the covert. The sab managed to get to the sett before they did and Roderick made a very quick about turn to get out of the area (almost forgetting where his horse was in the process and not doing a great job at getting hounds away from the sett). Seconds later several men with spades could be seen approaching, then also making a quick about turn to get away. Sab spent some time near to the sett to ensure that terriermen did not come back to dig-out and they did return, to tell sab that she was trespassing(!) and then to have a discussion about scrambled tofu on toast…

A group called Worcestershire Against the Badger Cull who work alongside Gloucestershire Badger Office and are sett-checking and surveying in Worcestershire sent some members out to check on the sett until dark and they found the hunt coming back to the area to hunt some more! We have also received reports throughout the day of hounds out of control on roads and the hunt trespassing on private property and causing more damage than any fox or a sab on foot ever could… a gate left open by hunt members almost caused a herd of cows to get out on to a road in the dark.

West Mercia Police how much longer can this hunt get away with their behaviour? How will you justify authorising a badger cull license in Worcestershire in the coming years when 4 separate incidents involving just this hunt and active badger setts have been reported in the last week alone?!

12th November ’19 – CVFH

It seems that while we were in Worcestershire today (more on why soon) the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt were (unsurprisingly) causing mischief around Huntley and Lea. We’ve had a few reports in about them this afternoon…

No warnings to locals (probably because you can’t accurately predict where a hunted fox will run) and riding close and, apparently, on to the busy A40 (again because they weren’t following an artificial scent… or if they claim they were doing so what’s their excuse for trespass and putting road users in danger?)

Check out Horse & Hound or Bailey’s hunting directories… the CVFH are listed under fox hunts. Not drag hunts. They pretend to lay trails. They do not.

If you have any information about the CVFH please contact us anytime, anonymously if you want, on our 24/7 tip-off line: 07891 639803

11th November ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

We’ve had a busy weekend (more on that soon) including visiting the North Cotswold Hunt in Cutsdean on Saturday for a day out in the freezing wind and rain, hunt riders holloa’ing a fox and huntsman bringing hounds to the line, and checking setts in Worcestershire.

We had a shout out from locals this morning who had seen the Ledbury meeting in Pauntley and so we headed over, catching them at a cluster of coverts near Poolhill – hounds had been speaking and, as sab approached, Tom Stokes (terrierman) was off his quad and in the woods on an active badger sett.

Huntsman Mark (wearing black again – Ledbury Hunt staff change from red to be less identifiable) took hounds away and took a long route round a field and back into the woods and two foot sabs were a good tag-team from then on, one keeping an eye on the hunt while the other sab moved into a good position.

Poolhill – drew blank (didn’t find a scent)

Orchards by Paunt house – blank

The Gorse by Ryton Coppice – blank

A large spring by The Gorse – blank (that’s a surprise)

Chin’s asparagus fields – blank

Redhill Wood – blank

Gorse between Redhill and Cobhill – blank

Cobhill Rough – blank

It’s interesting because when the hunt do pick up on a fox, they will say that ‘trails have been laid everywhere’ and yet they must have forgotten to tell the trail-layer that they were planning to hunt today…

The hunt then packed up, very sensibly, before it got dark.

Several setts checked throughout the day, important not only to ensure foxes can go to ground if chased, but also as this area is within the West Gloucestershire badger cull zone which is currently ongoing and caging can continue until November 30th (shooting free-running badgers until the end of January).

5th November ’19 – Heythrop Hunt OPENING MEET

*** blocked badger setts found around meet * hunt blatantly attempt to chase fox * hunt believed to be back again the following day ***

We got a late tip-off about the Heythrop Hunt on Tuesday and headed over. They used to have their opening meet (and then their ‘posh day’ throughout the season) on a Wednesday, but changed it to Tuesday to try and avoid us several seasons ago, breaking a long tradition!

This season reports suggest that they were out on Tuesday and then again today (Wednesday) in the same area, same foxes being chased, same badger setts tampered with. Due to finding blocked setts on Tuesday, sett-checkers associated with Gloucestershire Badger Office went out to check others today… and also ran into a hunt! Meanwhile reports were received of hunt members on horses surrounding a car in a nearby area and intimidating locals trying to get to work! Police have been informed of all of the incidents. Meanwhile one of our sabs is checking setts around the Worcestershire Hunt meet in Dormston which our friends in West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs are at – both of our groups have been out several days in a row – please give them a like :)

Tuesday’s report:

We caught up with the Heythrop not long after second-horsing and a sab went inland to keep an eye on them. The hunt drew blank in coverts in an area towards Maugersbury for some time before hounds picked up on a scent and gave chase. There was some dodgy behaviour around a hedge and, whilst going to intervene / check out the location, sab inland also found blocked badger setts – others will be checking more of the area in the next few days as we know of several setts which the hunt may have blocked.

As the hunt headed up towards the road where our driver was, a fox was seen running from the area and into a field next to the road. A hunt supporter further along scared him back, maybe intentionally, maybe accidentally, and the fox ran back to the tree line he had come through, but then out into a covert the other side of the track. Hounds followed his scent on and off into the area and went into the covert, picking up the line but following it the wrong way and into the field where the hunt supporter had headed the fox.

Sab made a drama about the fox running that way so that the hunt would waste time going in the wrong direction and give the fox extra minutes to escape and, sure enough, huntsman encouraged them on. As they reached the area where the fox had turned around, they obviously lost the scent as it did not continue – huntsman Charlie Frampton took hounds further on to try and pick up on the scent once again, but going further away from the fox. Sab driver told hunt members that she had sprayed citronella there, making them think that that was why they had lost the scent.

The hunt were only out for another 40 minutes or so as it was getting late and this whole episode had taken some time. The police have been informed about their behaviour today and the blocked setts. If you have any information regarding the Heythrop Hunt (or other hunts in the area) and their activities, give us a shout on 07891 639803. If you like what we do, like and share our page and posts and, if you can support us financially, chuck us a few quid using paypal.me/threecountiessabs

4th November ’19 – North Cotswold Hunt

* suspected bagged / trapped fox found near hunt meet * hunt trespass on land and struggle to control hounds *

We had a late-night tip-off that the hunt may be meeting in Willersey, so we headed out early to get inland in the area. As the hunt headed off from Downrip Farm just after midday (Mondays are late meets) hounds started to speak but were rated off a scent by hunt members and taken quickly west, out the back of the farm, followed by one sab. As hounds went into cry and went at speed inland, hunt staff failing to get in front of them as some of the pack headed closer to the A44, the other sab called and said that she had spotted a disoriented fox in a field next to the farm. The fox had his tongue hanging out and looked exhausted and was unsure of where he was…

… we have sent this footage to several people with a lot of experience with fox behaviour and the following theories came back:

1. fox has been hunted for hours already and is exhausted and dehydrated and out of his territory (as the hunt had just left the meet this isn’t the case)

2. this is a bagged fox, released in the area prior to the meet

3. experienced anti-hunt monitors who have gone undercover in the past told us of examples where pest-controllers have trapped foxes for people, given them the option of killing the fox or giving them a chance to live in the countryside and then have released them where they know their mates will be hunting later in the day

With no other injuries, collision with a vehicle and concussion can most likely be ruled out, so this leaves a lot of suspicion as to where a dehydrated and disorientated fox would come from… when foxes know their territory, particularly when hounds are speaking nearby, they will run with their heads down, knowing where they’re going, not looking around with their heads up and trying to find a way to go.

Back with the hounds and hunt staff struggled to gain control of the pack, but the majority were encouraged on towards a covert. Sab arrived and realised that a gate into the field where hounds were hunting and being encouraged on had been nailed shut. When the hunt met at Downrip in early September a landowner had been telling the terriermen off for trespass… this was the same land – the hunt were trespassing again. A fox escaped from the wood and hunt staff made vague attempts to gather the pack.

There are many reasons landowners may not want the hunt on their land, not all are anti-hunt (as we saw last week when the NCH trespassed near Mocho Farm). Dairy / beef farms may have bTB, other diseases may be present, pregnant sheep, sick animals, crop or wildflower growing, just not wanting a wet field ripped up by horses, hounds and quads. The arrogance of this hunt is clear to locals in their hunt country. Whatever the landowner’s reason for not wanting the hunt on their land, if they’re reading this or anyone knows them, contact @Hounds Off for advice.

The pack was gathered and the hunt rode off at speed – there’s no point being far behind them, so sab crossed the road and intercepted them, to huntsman’s surprise, around 20 minutes later. She stayed with the hunt while they hunted towards and on to a disused railway, picking up on the scents of several deer and a couple of foxes. Both sabs were now present in the area, until the hunt packed up just after 3pm, 2 non-road-legal quadbikes filmed, overloaded and on the public roads with the hunt.

If you like what we do, please like and share our posts and page and, if you can spare a few quid towards fuel and eqipment costs, chuck them our way via paypal.me/threecountiessabs (or PM us for bank details, etc).

Thank you to all our supporters and those available to give advice, lifts, etc. last-minute!

2nd November ’19 – North Cotswold Hunt OPENING MEET

Sabs arrived early on – an old badger sett which had been blocked earlier in the week was blocked once more, with staves rammed down the entrances. In the spring we had seen fox cubs play at an entrance. The huny spent ages listening to the rugby as we listened inland. We would like to thank the England rugby team – not only did they play well at various points, but just getting to the final, regardless of the result, meant that many hunts met an hour later than they would have done in order to watch / allow others to watch the match first, giving wildlife an extra hour of peace!

The hunt knew we were about and so took the unusual step of completely ignoring the estate and scarpering over to Toad Corner. A sab arrived at the old quarries in Snowshill as the hounds came into the area picking up intermittently. The mounted field came by and before long a fox came running across the field past the sab. Another fox was seen running in the opposite direction towards Bourton Downs and the pack was encouraged on their line.

The rest of the day was spent chasing foxes around from Bourton Downs to the Dingles and back again, with holloas and “tally ho’s” all over the place. They finished in the dark, looking for hounds for quite some time as the pack had split.

Throughout the day one sab’ was followed about by a stalker called Malcolm (you may remember him from a recent video where we talked to him about hound control… of which there still appears to be little in this hunt) and he even followed sabs back into a pub where they just wanted a quiet drink after a long, cold and wet day!

1st November ’19 – Ledbury Hunt OPENING MEET

*** blocked setts found around hunt meet ***

10am: The Ledbury hunt have their Opening meet at the Corse Lawn Hotel in the next hour. Last night they blocked this actice badger sett to stop any foxes escaping down it; the only reason to block setts is of you intend to illegally hunt foxes. This is in Gloucestershire badger cull zone 1 where badgers will continue to be trapped until the end of November and shot well into January. We have sabs out inland at the moment and others checking setts and locals “rambling” in the vicinity who will be monitoring the hunt throughout the day.

*** blocked badger setts found near hunt meet * holloas heard and sabs rate hounds off fox’s line * hunt hounds trespassing in a local’s garden * hunt supporters sit in vehicles as stray hound runs on to main road * hunt draw for a fresh fox at dusk ***

A huge amount of walking today as we started early with checking badger setts, finding blocked setts in a well-hunted area. Some entrances were unblocked to allow any foxes to escape below ground if needed and the badgers to get back out easily. We checked for badger cull activity while out and with the miles covered today, that’s a lot of checking done!

The hunt set off from their meet just after 11am and headed for Corse. We headed that way as we had decided to stay inland (as many areas around here are difficult to find the hunt in and then get into ourselves) and soon found them hunting at Corse Hill, deer running towards nearby main roads with no whipper-in present to slow traffic or hounds if needed. One sab went inland while the other stayed on the road as hounds were hunting at her side of the woodland. More setts checked.

Off to the south and another group arrived in the area and hunt supporters acted immaturely and drove really slowly in front of their car to slow them down, to the point where our footsab caught up and overtook – what are the hunt trying to hide? The hounds picked up and it became obvious that the pack had split and two groups of hounds were hunting separate scents – the whipper-in had a horn with him and had been trying to gather but for some time there were two hunts occurring simultaneously…

Down towards Ashleworth then back past Corse Grove and quickly up into Tirley where we lost the hunt for a little while and decided to retrieve the vehicle… a stray hound ran out in front of us as we headed back towards Corse Lawn and, despite trying to gain hunt supporters’ attention to slow traffic on the busy main road or try to grab the hound, only one elderly lady actually bothered to help with other supporters sitting on their arses while sabs slowed traffic – the same supporters then stated that sabs had called him on the road and this is why we film everything we do and they do not – because our footage backs up what we say and their footage would contradict their lies…

We soon caught up with some hunt supporters and located the hunt in Chaceley. Two holloas were heard to the south of the road we were on and suddenly hounds were to our left – sabs jumped out of the vehicle and rated the pack off the line and hunt staff made the decision to gather hounds and leave the fox!

Hunt supporters stated that the hunt were hacking back to pack up at Pigeon House Farm in Eldersfield but we know they often do a few last draws behind the farm and, sure enough, a sab ran inland and found terriermen near a sett and hounds drawing through a small covert with the daylight fading rapidly. Having drawn black the hunt actually packed up, just a few minutes before 5pm.

Like and share our facebook posts and page if you like what we do and, if possible, send us a few quid via paypal.me/threecountiessabs if you’re able to. Many thanks to all our supporters and those who were out checking setts and gathering info today!

31st October ’19 – VWH

*** sabs rate hounds off two foxes * grumpy huntsman packs up at 2pm ***

It was a wet day for all as the area was water-logged but we knew the hunt would be out, so we headed out too – five of us from Three Counties Sabs, Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch and Ridgeway Illegal Hunt Watch arrived at the meet at 10am.

To be as effective as possible we quickly split up, driver on the road, a group of two inland and two others individually hidden up in different areas. On leaving the meet the hunt went to a large covert inland where the pack drew blank and moved to a smaller covert nearby. Again they drew blank so moved off again, limited as to where to go due to the flooded fields…

Hounds picked up in a small wood and a fox ran to the large covert the hunt had begun at, a sab inland rating hounds and stopping them until huntsman Philip Hague rode up and encouraged them on (after prioritising calling the sab a silly girl). Sab had given the fox a few valuable seconds to run and he was soon seen running down a hedgeline, spotted also by the whipper-in. Knowing that sab had fox on camera, hunt staff took hounds round another field and into the covert the fox had gone into from a different direction – often the hunt will ‘lift’ the pack and bring them round to where the fox has gone to pretend that they aren’t following his scent. Others were the opposite side of the covert and well placed to stop the pack if necessary.

Meanwhile there was some silliness from landowners who wanted a sab to give her name and address so that they could go and stand in her garden and accused her of hiding (in the middle of a large field) and of being aggressive, wanting her to film herself and report herself to the police… we’ll keep the footage in case anyone wishes to see the truth!

On again and across the road to Yew Tree Farm where hounds drew blank in crops used for shooting. As huntsman gathered the pack, hounds flushed a fox who darted out of the hedgeline he had been hiding in and hunt member Will attempted to block our sab filming him. She ran up the track and rated the majority of the pack, stopping several hounds and forcing hunt staff to stop the pack. No one seemed to be able to get the excuse right with Will claiming that the hunt had done what they were supposed to and stopped the hounds chasing the fox and another hunt member claiming that sab had stopped the hounds following a false scent. Huntsman drew the pack through a covert the fox had gone towards, another sab further up the track and able to intervene if needed, but they drew blank and he gave up and packed up at 2pm.

All in all a successful day and more clips may reach the internet soon, so watch this space! Support us if you like what we do – we’re currently in the market for a new camera if you have a spare few quid :) Paypal.me/threecountiessabs

30th October ’19 – North Cotswold Hunt

*** sabs rate hounds off fox * hunt member rides quadbike at locals watching hunt ***

It’s been quite a week already (and will continue to be busy – watch this space!) and sabs were out yesterday, up early for the Cotswold Vale Farmers who cancelled due to the waterlogged ground, so we checked setts from Monday’s meets of hunts who we were unable to attend.

Today saw us up and out for the North Cotswold Hunt as we got a call from a local telling us that they had seen them out in the country they share with the Warwickshire. We were out elsewhere but as one sab went to get the vehicle, the guys who had called picked up the other sab and took her to the hunt! Interested in what the hunt were up to, they went inland with our sab and were treated to a proper introduction to the NCH… fox chased up the hill, hounds on the scent, sab yelling instructions on spraying the line and rating the hounds, Guy Fitzearle shouting ridiculous accusations and a hunt member on a quadbike riding at them to try to intimidate them.

Second sab arrived in the vehicle and was surrounded by terriermen and hunt members, asking if there was ‘anything decent to nick’ and trying to play with the tyres and back doors… with the locals keeping an eye on the hunt from Mickleton Churchyard where a cub was chased and our sab inland rating hounds off another cub, sab driver was present when the pack ran up a nearby road with no one ready to slow traffic as all hunt staff were inland calling the hounds to them – not a clever idea when you have no idea where they are and if you’re calling them across roads, railway lines, etc! Other locals later mentioned stray hounds in the village… not a surprise when hound control is left ‘to chance’.

Sett-checking occurred after the hunt packed up just after 1pm, an artificial earth and nearby sett (and rabbit warren!) all found blocked – more on that soon – followed by picking up some lovely hitch-hiking tourists and heading home for dinner and plotting ;)

One of our cameras has finally given up after 3 seasons of absolute abuse, mud, torrential rain and grabby hunt supporters. If you can help us to buy a new one or contribute towards fuel costs, chuck us a few quid at paypal.me/threecountiessabs (or like and share our page and posts!)