12th February ’22 – North Cotswold Hunt

*** Two packs hunting in the same area ***

We went out looking for a hunt in the morning and came across NCH horse boxes near to Springhill, having the Heythrop called in around the same time. As we know of setts which are normally blocked around Springhill one foot sab decided that she would run in and check a sett and then we could make a plan from there as to which hunt to go to and so on.

Stalkers were immediately out of their car, but were unable to keep up with foot sab. Not long after checking the badger sett, sabs could hear hounds speaking nearby. With 3 of us splitting up stalkers were unsure who to follow and this meant that we were not badly positioned when hounds went into full cry to the south, near to Bourne’s Folly when a brace of foxes ran from the hounds.

Independent Hunt Monitors were out at the Heythrop meet nearby and it did not take long before the 2 packs ended up hunting in the same area, the red coated rider pictured being the whip for the NCH, the green coated rider a whip for the Heythrop trying to gather his hounds. This happens more often than you’d realise at the borders of hunt countries, as well as hunts often ending up in the same area on different days to each other, wildlife getting very little in the way of a break.

Having got a little tantrum out of the way by throwing an apple at the sab car, and one of our foot sabs finally getting to meet Gary the stalker (who seems rather angry and upset at the world in general) we ended up with Independent Monitors looking for the NCH pack and us sabs being stalked by the Heythrop stalkers. A bit of sab and hunt relay going on, we soon got back on track and one of our foot sabs ran inland to where she thought the NCH would be, quickly outrunning Gary who had followed her on foot.

With stalkers all over them and the hunt well inland, we decided that the other sabs should go to back up the nearby monitors as the Heythrop were only about a mile away. Our foot sab remaining with the NCH caught up with them at Nayle’s Larch where hounds rioted on the scent of a muntjac and the hunt packed up after sab popped up to surprise them and rate the pack. Hunt staff didn’t seem too pleased that stalkers had not kept up with her. The Heythrop packed up not long after.

With the Ledbury Hunt being out in Upton on Friday and upsetting local residents we have received a lot of messages and tip-offs. We were tipped off to some blocked setts by a dog walker, so having finished with the NCH and Heythrop a couple of us headed over to Longdon to check setts. It was a long day but it is the legwork we’ve put into checking setts and reporting any that have bene tampered with which has made a number of positive changes locally and so we will continue.

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