Foxes, fake trail layers, aggression and lies… all in a day’s visit to the North Cotswold Hunt.
We had a tip-off that the North Cotswold were meeting in the Kineton area and so we headed out this morning and caught up with them near to the Cotswold Farm Park. As a sab walked inland on a footpath, the fake trail layer telling her that there was no footpath despite the sign clearly visible, hounds began to pick up a scent in a nearby covert.
Hunt supporters, including Molly Rogers and a rider on point made loud noises to prevent any foxes from escaping towards the sab stationed on the road. As foot sab approached the covert, members of the field (mounted followers) rode around her to prevent her from being able to film or rate the hounds as a fox ran from a corner of the trees. The sab managed to rate the hounds from a distance, slowing them up somewhat, until Tim Pearce-May (ex-Ledbury whipper-in) encouraged them onwards.
Despite threatening behaviour from an angry male who wanted our sab to “p*ss off” and “f*ck off” and who called her a “f*cking c*nt” sab carried on behind the hunt as others got round ahead of where the hounds were heading. Having lost that scent, likely due to the strong wind conditions and the fox running through a field of sheep and across a road, thus ensued a long period of time where the hunt drew and re-drew the same area of land*.
*the shooting season limits the amount of land available to hunt, though it will end soon and free up more areas
At one point hounds streamed through an area in full cry, losing the line at times due to the strong wind conditions (the scent can get blown around in strong wind) and headed toward a covert which hunt riders stationed themselves at. A fox made his way down a wall, was headed by a number of hunt supporters standing at a barn, and fox turned and ran across an open field, filmed by a sab inland. Hounds followed the line on and off, but ended up briefly on his heal line (meaning they were on the line, but going in the wrong direction, so towards where the fox had come from) before hunt staff gathered them and moved on.
Sabs were told off again for trespassing… whilst on a public byway… and back on the road one female stalker tried to tell her male friend that the sab she was with was “really aggressive” – was the point to rile him up to get angry at the sab? Or to try to damage the reputation of the sab in her own footage? We have much of the day on film – we can prove that no aggression ever comes from us. Nice try, but it’s not going to fly.
We stayed with the hunt until they did a runner up towards Nayles Larch and Slatepits, large areas of land with lots of coverts, where we were able to get close, but due to the hunt being relayed our every location they constantly try to get away from us (like anyone with absolutely nothing to hide……). They packed up just before dusk.
We are currently reviewing our footage – we have three SD cards to go through, so no video tonight. Thanks as always to our amazing supporters – those who call in tip-offs and updates, those gathering intel silently on the ground, drivers, financial donors and everyone else who works with us. Until next time!