* hunt hounds out of control on A38 *
* loose hounds left behind after hunt takes remainder of pack back inland *
* hounds riot on deer several times with hunt staff unable to call them back *
* hounds mark to ground in active badger sett (and artificial earth) in currently active badger cull zone *
* hunt packs up in the pitch dark without all of their hounds *
Well it has been rather a long day, so we’ll keep this as short as possible. We drove into town this morning to sort out phones and maps and stuff, sab stuff in the vehicle just in case of a tip-off… and we saw a horse box heading south down the A38 around 10.25am. Driving south to check known CVFH meets we found the hunt meeting at Norton Court Farm and got inland (as it’s a huge landlocked area with very little road access).
Hunt headed north from the meet at 11.30am and picked up on a scent a little while later… by 12.10 the pack were on and across the A38, vehicles crawling along and horns beeping. It took at least 20 minutes for the hunt to fully gather the hounds (or so they claimed) and bring them back inland on the side of the road they were supposed to be hunting on…
Hounds became interested in another scent not long after and half the pack ran in the direction of the A38 once again, whipper-in panicking and galloping back to the road… if the scent hadn’t been foiled at a pile of manure she wouldn’t have made it round in time to stop hounds if they had gone on to the road.
Meanwhile hunt supporters tried to claim to a sab that they were following a trail:
“Fox hunting is banned, we’re legally following a trail hunt”
“Across the A38?”
“Why were hounds all over the A38?”
“For the same reason that you’re trespassing on this private land”
“Emm… well I’m here because this hunt are illegally hunting foxes”
While on the phone to the police regarding the frankly dangerous behaviour of the hunt around the A-road one of these woman decided to ride her horse into the back of the sab, luckily from standing and not at speed. We are reviewing our footage.
Back on the A38 a sab found a loose hound on the opposite side of the road, hunt and remainder of pack several fields inland the other side. Huntsman Matthew told sabs that he was aware of this hound at 13.50, an hour and a half after hounds had been on the A38! The hound had not been collected, a sab was the only one on the road ensuring that Dumpling was not hit by any cars, police officers attempting to contact hunt staff and two residents of a nearby house spending a long time trying to catch and contain the hound!
Hounds picked up and chased a fox to ground in an active badger sett – upon checking on the sett we also found an artificial earth, hound prints all over the entrances of both where they had marked and signs of old dig-outs. Our presence prevented any foxes from being dug or flushed out.
And so ensued absolute chaos. Hounds rioted on deer at least 3 times with hunt staff just managing to call them off. Another fox was chased to ground. As sunset drew close, hounds headed south towards Down Hatherley at speed. Hunt staff gathered them soon after and went back to the meet… but hounds went into full cry and ran off. At this point huntsman remained stationary, blowing his horn to gather the pack… and failing. He and the whipper-in finally caught up with the pack and just about gathered them, at which time the hounds picked up again and hunt staff completely lost control.
One sab got to the vehicle and drove south to Down Hatherley where a hunt member on a quad was clearly panicking, driving up and down on to and from the A38. Huntsman was around 8 fields behind the pack and pointlessly blowing the horn. Whipper-in was only marginally closer to the pack because she was trotting instead of walking. Hunt staff were noticeably worried… when they were close enough to actually see in the failing light. Loose hounds were running around Barrow in the dark. Whether huntsman actually had the whole pack when he got back to the meet 50 minutes after sunset we didn’t know. At 6pm we received a message saying that someone with a hunting horn was trying to round up loose hounds near The Leigh.
This hunt is dangerous. It is pure luck that no one had a serious car accident today and that no hounds were killed. A report has been sent to Gloucestershire Police this evening.