Badger cull supplementary zones (zones 1 – West Glos and 9 – North Cots) commenced at the beginning of June ’20. Other zones began in September with 3 new zones starting nearby including Oxfordshire (where we sometimes sab the Old Berks and Heythrop Hunts), a new Herefordshire zone, Warwickshire (including some North Cotswold Hunt country).
Cage trapping continued until 30th November ’20 although some illegally-set cages were found after this time. We suspect that ‘free shooting’ continued for much longer in the two supplementary zones, but this will finish by the latest on 31st January when they have to legally stop.
Several abandoned cages have been found with with foliage growing through them in the interceding months.
As for hunting, our first sab of the season was with the Old Berks on 25th August ’20, within the new Oxfordshire cull zone at Longworth and we walked into a baitpoint full of peanuts whilst out with the hunt. The last sab of this (very short) season was on 30th December ’20, in very icy conditions, with the North Cotswold Hunt.
In total 52 days were spent sabbing hunts (we would normally do double this in a ‘normal’ season) which included visiting meets for the NCH, Croome and West Warwickshire, CVFH, Worcestershire, Cotswold, Ledbury, Heythrop, one day sabbing the Beaufort and one day sabbing the Old Berks.
In a normal hunting season we would be looking at late March / early April before the end of the season, but, with it being exceptionally unlikely that lockdown will start to be lifted in the next few weeks, the season effectively ended on 4th January ’21… twelve weeks early.
Having said that there were many meets over the Christmas / New Year period where they did not seem to turn out, maybe due to the weather and maybe due to Covid.
Syndicate shooting is also affected and the pheasant shooting season finishes on 1st February. In addition to Covid having an effect on the hunts, the HSA also released an expose on hunting webinars which took place over the summer which had many more people questioning whether ‘trail hunting’ ever actually takes place…
We are preparing now for next season, which will start August / September, and the badger cull which will start again in June in supplementary zones 1 and 9. Free shooting has to end legally by 31st January.
This season has been hard for us in different ways to normal, although, despite the fewer days out, it has been a tiring season physically once again. In mid-October one of our sabs (who was also the partner of another sab) was involved in a hit-and-run while working and died in hospital after being in an induced coma for 3 weeks. He is greatly missed, not least by his partner, everyday and his loss is a huge one to the movement fighting against animal exploitation.
Many thanks to our followers who continue to support us, morally, financially, physically, with intel, post shares and so on. It all adds up and it all makes us stronger. With love, 3C