They were first up Meon Hill. Now very often there are questions regarding how we tell the difference between fox hunting and trail hunting. Trail hunting simply does not exist. Drag hunting and clean boot hunting do. Drag is where hounds hunt a smelly thing dragged from a horse / quad / whatever / whoever. Clean boot is hunting a consenting human being with hounds, usually bloodhounds.
The North Cotswold Hunt do use this smokescreen for illegal fox hunting in the form of a man on a motorised bike with faux fox ears. Not believed for the following reasons :
- The hounds show no interest in where he has been at all.
- As can be seen from the picture he didn’t get a trail in that gorse or on that steep incline. Nor should he have done. The huntsman should not be encouraging them into gorse or any other thick covert.
- The NCH block badger setts, much less than they did but we are still finding them.
- They also hunt and kill foxes. They dig them out, bolt them from drains and artificial earths, chase them into badger setts and earths.
- Stalkers. If they were following a trail we would observe it a few times, do spot undercover checks and then leave them to it. So why have they got a rota of people to follow sabs and monitors wearing hi viz, making noise and in communication with hunt staff?
The “trail layer” did show the sab’ out today the substance used, but he did not know what it was… They went into Kiftsgate Court, back to Meon and then back to Kiftsgate. Last time we were this way they boxed up at Hidcote Manor owned by the National Trust but not today!