15th February ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

*** 4 blocked badger setts, huntsman blatantly encouraging hounds onto a fox, threats and vandalism ***

The day started pleasantly enough with the gentleman who usually collects the car cap trying his luck with us again… alas he did not suceed in his quest. A less polite, in fact a somewhat strange individual, came up to the car and threatened us a bit later…

At Hill End the hounds did start to pick up in front of us. To our suprise the huntsman Mark Melladay suddenly rode off leaving some bewildered hounds behind!

They then went into their favourite haunt… the Stanks and later crossed over to the Queenshill area where they repeatedly trespassed just a few weeks ago. We had found 4 blocked setts by the time they started drawing Long Covert.

Hounds were clearly being encouraged on and a fox broke covert, running through Heath Hill Farm. Mark nearly rode into one sab’ and the barbed wire fence behind them. We sadly did not get there in time to stop them and could not call them back and Mark continued to encourage them on…

Thankyou to the lovely sab from Bristol Hunt Saboteurs who joined us today.

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30th January ’19 – North Cotswold Hunt

It seems the North Cotswold Hunt have invited the Bicester down to hunt their country and learn the ways of hunting until way after dark and riding overloaded quads down public roads with no tax, insurance, MOT…

Two of us have been out all day with the hunt and a third was well-placed when driving home from work to witness a hunt supporter yell ‘Tally Ho!’ and inform a rider on point that he had seen a fox crossing from Welshman’s Hedge Wood (where we filmed a fox chase earlier in the season at the NCH).

Bicester pack and whipper-in were in control for most of the day with some supporters and riders from the NCH so it was a joint meet of some sort… wonder what’s going on there though. They spent most of the day hunting Lidcombe Wood and Shenberrow Hill. Round and round.
Video to follow. Sabs have just come out from inland as the hunt were out way after darkness fell. On these icy roads, which are likely to get worse as it gets colder, we’d have thought an earlier pack up would be sensible to ensure horse boxes could get back safely…

Idiots.

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26th January ’19 – CVFH

*** Sabs prevent dig-out at badger sett ***

With Bristol Sabs and other groups out we decided to walk inland and check that setts had not been disturbed or baited. As this is (possibly) the last few days now of free shooting in the longest cull ever and suspected bait points had been found the day before we sett checked and were also in prime position to view where hounds were.

Between us all we had them under control most of the day. They did hunt a fox for quite a while in the rough area of Tibberton/Taynton with us trying to catch up.

The fox went to ground in a badger sett and as we aproached one of us was nearly run over by huntsman Gary Williams riding very dangerously close. For a second it was thought they had killed, but then it became clear that they were marking to ground with a couple of hounds doing their best to dig the fox out themselves. Wishful thinking on the hounds part, setts are very deep and a safe sanctuary…
… until that is terriers and spades arrive. Which they most certainly did with chief terrierman Nick Hodges on the scene already saying that badgers don’t have setts in the middle of fields. Ahem…

Anyway, despite this being the 6th year and 7th month of culling the sett was clearly active. Hounds had been rated (told off) and had left the entrances of the sett. Why they do this and then whinge about badgers being highly infectious re btb we cannot quite work out.
So Gary had thrown his teddies and then Nick’s underlings threw theirs when they arived a few minutes later. As the mounted field milled around expectantly and some more teddies were thrown it became apparent that we may have foiled their evil plans. After a bit of chest beating from one of those masked up they all went off to pastures new and were stopped hunting foxes by the oter groups.

As dusk came we went to Gadfield, also in the cull zone, to hold a vigil for our friend Tracey Crawford who died 2 years ago. She had protected setts in Tibberton and Taynton and then in the Gadfield area at a later date. We were also keeping a watchful eye out for any shooting activity. We dedicate the day’s sabbing to her memory.

21st January ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

*** Ledbury Hunt trespass on to Malvern Hills Trust land * Hunt supporter attempts to alert huntsman to presence of fox running for their life ***

Copied from Fox Hunt off Malvern Hills

‘Fun facts’ of today’s hunting on Castlemorton Common:

– No proper permission as event not registered/applied for with MHT
– No trail was laid, hunt told MHT as no planned ‘trail hunt’ event like other meets
– Sheep farmer with scared, running pregnant ewes on common was not told hunt were coming, by MHT or hunt
– Hounds flush fox out of cover on MHT land and supporter raises arm and waves hat to advertise their where-abouts
– Hunt supporter in Landrover Discovery V283 GCY driving through common aggressively threatens to attack hunt monitor/saboteur if camera points at him – turns out that the plates are copied from his car!

12th January ’19 – North Cotswold Hunt

The hunt began by drawing Buckland wood before crossing to Mocho Farm, drawing blank there. A sab who was staking out a nearby artificial earth that had been recently visited by humans saw a leash (3 foxes) run past. They were subjected to a very aggressive rant and ridden into by a man who can be seen on the film – he claims to own the land so might be able to explain the artificial earth…

Hounds picked up on the line of the foxes and crossed the railway and the B4632 in pursuit of one of them. The driver drove around quickly to see hounds pile into a hedge, fearing the worst as they were also being blocked but it was a relief to see it was just wire hounds were trying to get through. With quads, horses and others around the hounds were rated as best as possible and they did not pick up on that scent again.

They went back over to Ryefield farm and drew blank at a few coverts there then went on to Stanway and hunted a fox onto the Gloucestershire / Warwickshire railway where they were for 5 minutes!

Then through Stanton and onto the hill. Sabs got up and found 2 couple of hounds doing their own thing and hunting a fox or a deer. They were stopped with a bit of rating. The hunt continued until dark, including rioting on deer. Car sab sprayed out the lines of several terrified animals with citronella. Eventually Ollie Dale the huntsman decided to finish up. As he called hounds a very odd squeak was heard which attracted hounds away from him. Sabs realised that it sounded like a deer, as did the terriermen and sure enough a terrified muntjac was caught up in wire. A quad bike got there before we did and released them from the wire.

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11th January ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

*** heavily pregnant vixen escapes from Ledbury hounds while hunt were trespassing ***

* blocked setts at Ledbury Hunt meet * terriermen caught trying to flush fox from log pile * hunt trespass on local landowners’ land… twice *

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A fairly fast-paced day today with sabs in the field an hour before the hunt set off. Three setts were found blocked around an area called The Stanks and were unblocked by a sab. Three more were checked by another sab and were not blocked – one is very well known to us so tends not to be blocked so often anymore and the others are on land owned by someone who recently had a telling off for allowing sett-blocking to happen on his land.

Whilst checking a sett by the meet at Manor Farm, a sab noticed suspicious behaviour in a nearby field… terriermen had put a terrier into a log pile in order to flush out a fox. Confronted, they hung around for some time then left as the rest of the hunt arrived. Hounds picked up on a scent and marked in a nearby badger sett – sab presence meant that this fox was left and huntsman Mark took the hounds on. A well-known hunt supporter received a call which sounded like a warning that sabs were out and watching!

Hounds picked up again but lost the scent temporarily before spending a lot of time at the log pile. As they moved off a shout was heard and there was pointing and much excitement. But the clever fox had run across a field recently sprayed with slurry and hounds couldn’t find his scent. While one sab stayed inland others drove round to intercept the hunt as they headed towards Hillend. As hounds showed interest in and picked up a scent at another log pile and hedge huntsman was heard asking other hunt staff where the sab was – she was spotted and he took the hounds away from her once again.

A few fields on and hounds went into full cry near Hillend, sabs at three good locations to intervene. Then we heard rating and saw hounds being told off by some unknown people… odd, but fantastic. Hounds soon lost the scent in a covert – nearby badger sett was checked and was not blocked but a local artificial earth was definitely being used and had boot prints heading towards it.

The hunt, now minus well-known ex-South Herefordshire Hunt Master Patrick Darling who went home looking bored, made a swift exit towards The Stanks and hounds soon picked up and chased a fox who ran towards sabs. As the fox crossed a main road a horn was heard being beeped, evidently in place of a holloa to alert huntsman to the sighting of the fox. We covered the scent and a sab remained nearby while others headed towards the hunt. Two holloas came from the road indicating another fox sighting until sab was spotted and ‘there’s an anti here!’ was heard. It turns out the guys who rated the hounds earlier are agents of a local landowner and the hunt had been trespassing on their land. Again. Having been told off (again) the hunt made a dash for it through The Stanks (where they’d been informed we had found the blocked setts) and hardly bothered even trying to hunt there.

Looking at the footage we have, and double-checking with experts, this fox is a heavily pregnant vixen!

The frustration was evident, especially when hunt supporters started to call us names (ranging from ‘riff raff’ to much worse) and sticking their fingers up at us while driving past. It only serves to show us that we’re having an effect on them.

We soon found them hunting near Upton-upon-Severn and checked on a badger sett that we have caught terriermen digging out at on previous occasions. Sure enough we could hear voices as we approached and the terriermen’s quad bike exited the land in haste not long after. Then on to Holdfast Hall where supporters showed their obvious disappointment (‘oh, false alarm’) when someone accidentally beeped their horn and they had thought that a fox had been sighted… a real fox was then picked up on and chased towards a covert near Queenshill. Near another blocked sett. He was lost for some time but hounds were back on his scent soon after, between a main road and a motorway, the exhausted fox passing sabs on the road. He was flagging, confused and unsure about where to go, but cleverly covered his scent by circling around a steaming pile of manure.

Some more hunting close to the M50 followed by a pack up at dusk at Manor Farm…

8th January ’19 – Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt

*** Dig-out stopped by sab presence ***

The hunt met in Longhope today. One fox went past a sab’ in Sculchurch wood and hounds were rated back… then another fox followed. This brace ran off as most of the pack were rated back (stopped from chasing them by telling them off) and massive amounts of citronella sprayed on the line of the foxes. Gary Williams abandoned any attempt to hunt them and went off to Huntley Hill after the inevitable “slagbag” and “old cow” comments were spewed out at us.

In that rough area they marked another fox to ground in a badger sett and the terriermen were on the entrance where the fox had gone in, the mounted field (all complicit in illegal hunting as it was obvious what was about to happen) and the hounds waiting nearby with Gary holding them back. Field Master Jason Warner saw a sab’ approach, Gary legged it with the pack in tow and the terriermen ran back to their quads with Ben Hughes reaching for the flask of coffee as quick as possible for an impromptu tea party… before also heading, literally, to the hills.

A close examination of the sett revealed some recently disturbed earthworms and soil. Gloucestershire police wildlife officers were soon present and the hunt was soon back at Longhope all packed up. It was noted that Gary had taken another tumble.

4th January ’19 – Ledbury Hunt

*** Blocked badger setts in a cull zone where the cull continues * Hounds hunting a fox through gardens * fox hunted into small hole, sabs pull hounds out ***

First Port of call was a blocked sett which was dealt with and reported. The hounds were up Limbury Hill and then found a fox at Blackwell’s End farm and a holloa was heard from a hunt follower on the road as sabs from up the hill used voice calls lifting their heads.

After second horsing at Tweenhills, they crossed the A417 and hunted a fox through gardens at Broad Street, Hartpury. One quick thinking householder after seeing the fox flee for his life through his garden ran out and rated the pack of hounds away from the hunted animal. Quite a few people not very happy and asking lots of questions!

Then a repeat performance as they approached Ashleworth… Onwards then to Ashleworth meadows where they hunted a fox towards Haw Bridge. A sab’ filmed the hunted fox from near the pub but regrettably he ran back the way he had come. He went to ground in a small hole and hounds trying to dig him out again as they marked were pulled out physically by sabs. Wisely the hunt retreated, not so wisely they then crossed the main road and hunted another fox in the dusk up to Cumberwood farm and back down to the outskirts of Tirley. In the dark they did stop the pack in the end.

Another blocked badger sett was found at the end of the day, looked recent but not today. This sett had been very active. The cull continues in this area with free-shooting but those who hate badgers are not content with a cull that goes on for 7 months. The illegal killing and damage to setts also continues.

Very busy day in which it was ,yet again, really obvious that the Ledbury are hunting foxes. Bearing in mind that they are enjoying the South Herefordshire Hunt country (whilst whatever is left of that hunt join in with them) it does make you wonder what sort of echo chamber the MFHA (Masters of Fox Hounds Association) exist in. No one is buying the trail hunting theatrics, certainly not in this part of the world.

New Year message from 3C

As the new year rolls in and we think up new projects for the rest of the season we’d like to send out a huge thank you to all of our supporters who have kept us going with moral support, financial assistance, sett-checking, random pick-ups when we’re miles from the car, sending in hunt meet cards (another arrived today, second in just over a week – game-changer!) and monitoring hunts themselves.

Just today the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt was discreetly watched by a couple who are visiting the area over New Year and just happened upon the hunt. Locals were out over Christmas at various hunt meets keeping an eye on badger setts and on the hounds themselves.

As well as regular donations, we’ve been sent cameras and walkie-talkies, even a car at the start of the season(!) and our friends have run stalls at fayres to raise money for the group. Because of all the likes and shares of our posts and the giving out of leaflets and other info at stalls and demonstrations our page likes have gone up so quickly! We also have some of our favourite pro-hunt trolls to thank as they comment on nearly all of our posts, often repeating their comments time and time again… but in doing so they’ve made our posts even more popular and we’ve been seen by people who have never liked a post or followed our page before. They also occasionally slip up and give away info.

A special thank you goes to the pro-hunt person who decided to waste their own time signing us up to random (useful) websites, especially as we were the 100th ‘sign-up’ that day to one of them and got a massive discount from the site plus free delivery… and we had to do no work towards it. In addition they decided the best way to annoy us would be to send stupid messages to pro-hunt websites using the enquiry forms on their pages meaning that they’ve also wasted the time of those pro-hunt people as they have to sift through fake messages looking for genuine enquiries. And we get emailed copies of all the silly stuff sent for our own amusement.

Reports to come from the day’s events still, so watch this space. May 2019 bring more successes and more information. Thank you, 3C x

21st December ’18 – Ledbury Hunt

On this solstice day the Ledbury met in the Gloucestershire badger cull zone where the cull this year has been in full swing for the last 6 months (the longest ever).

We began pre meet checking setts for signs of both blocking and cull activity. Despite this being the 6th year and the 6th month of culling lots of paw prints and latrines found at some setts. Alas others not looking so active. None that we checked pre- or post-hunt (checking under a full moon is always magical) were found to be blocked.

They tried to draw Catsbury Hill first but as we were already ahead of them and had pre-sprayed, huntsman Mark Melladay took them away to try his luck up Limbury Hill.

We then encountered our wannabe nemesis David Mansell who tried to round up one sab’ with his horse, despite the fact that he has got into trouble for similar behaviour before. Holding us up for 5 minutes we managed to continue without too much trouble.

They did hunt a fox north towards Carter’s Grove but seemed to lose him.

They then popped over to Woolridge and then the meadows at Ashleworth where they had a long hunt. As we drew close they had finished and were on their way home. We do not know what happened to that fox.

Tonight, winter Solstice, fantastic people are out protecting badgers from a regular shooter as we returned home exhausted and we had a call about a duck shoot in the zone in the early evening. It just never seems to end sometimes and they are all out tomorrow again…