25th February ’22 – Ledbury Hunt

*** hound rescued from shaft by sab and hunt terriermen ***

From knowledge of previous seasons we had originally expected the Ledbury Hunt to meet in the Forthampton area. However the recent rain and the rising rivers in the area has meant that much of the local hunt country is either under water or is waterlogged (and even pro-hunt farmers generally don’t want their fields torn up by horses and quads). And so we went looking in some other potential areas…

We found the hunt in Berrow, near to hunt master Edward Phillipson-Stowe’s land. Hounds picked up on and off in the area, at one point having to be called off a scent as the line went on to land that they did not have permission to be on. They moved off towards Longdon and Castlemorton at around 12.30 and stayed out until a relatively early pack up at 15.45. Towards the end of the day it looked like huntsman Mark was riding at great speed to catch up with the pack and a sab asked if he had lost them – he said he hadn’t, but told us that he was “one hound down”. We didn’t realise that he meant the hound had been missing for several hours!

We headed back to Berrow to check on badger setts we had not had a chance to look at earlier in the day. As a sab was walking through a wood she heard a hound nearby and soon found the hound trapped in some abandoned building structure. She radio’d to our other sab who was able to run to the nearby houses and ask if anyone had a phone number for Edward, managing to get through to inform him of the situation. Hunt staff were on the scene not long after – a joint effort between them and sabs got the hound to safety.

Our thoughts on the situation are this: the hunt should not have moved off away from the area without the hound (the job of whippers-in is to keep count of hounds and keep the pack together and she would have been more vocal and easy to find while her mates were in the area and if she could hear the hunt horn). Edward should have had this abandoned structure covered a long time ago. To be fair to Vicky and Tom the terrierman (and his mate) however, they arrived quickly once informed by Edward, Vicky running through the woods and wasting no time in getting down into the mud to check on the hound herself. Regardless of our views on hunting, etc. we always have, and always will, jump into a situation if needed to save lives or give assistance to any animal, human or non-human. And working together with the hunt to help this hound was no different. We hope she is recovering well at the moment and got the warm bath she was promised.

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