A Hunt Sab : My Saturday

Sabs keep up with the hunt. Image © Wiltshire Hunt Sabs

Inspired by Gregg Wallace’s recent article, a Hunt Sab talks us through their typical Saturday.


I wake up, get a coffee and breakfast and check messages relating to the day’s sabbing plans.

I charged my equipment the night before: camcorder, radio, phone, body camera, so I pack it all away in a bag with my pre-filled citronella bottle. I shower, make some sandwiches and fill my flask ready to take with me.


I head out the door to meet up with the rest of my group at our arranged meeting point. We pile into the landy, finding room for our legs and bags and settling in for a long day ahead. I feel pretty nervous as we never know what to expect on a sabbing day. Our priority is to save the lives of hunted animals but there’s always the risk of experiencing violence against us.

Lunch on the go. Image © Aggravated Trespass
Lunch on the go. Image © Aggravated Trespass

We arrive at the hunt meet early. I’ll have some of my lunch while we’re waiting in the landy for the hunt to leave the meet. Sadly there’s no time to visit the local Harvester but if I’m lucky someone will have brought some vegan snacks to share. I’ve regularly been disappointed in three star Michelin restaurants around Europe, but never by a Linda McCartney sausage roll.

I can easily walk or run in excess of 20,000 steps on a sabbing day, so I try to get enough food in me to keep me going, while still being able to run around and saving enough food to last the whole day. It’s a balancing act. Too much food too soon is an error most of us sabs make at some point.

The hunt finish their port and speeches and leave the meet. Sabs quickly follow on foot.

Sabs keep up with the hunt. Image © Wiltshire Hunt Sabs
Sabs keep up with the hunt. Image © Wiltshire Hunt Sabs
11am – 5.30pm

The hunt are moving fast so sabs split into different foot teams to keep up, trying to pre-empt their next move.

Sabs cover the fox’s scent to prevent hounds from following. Image © Wiltshire Hunt Sabs
Sabs cover the fox’s scent to prevent hounds from following. Image © Wiltshire Hunt Sabs

We see wildlife fleeing, then a fox crosses our path. We quickly cover their scent with our citronella spray and get ready to rate the hounds back (effectively telling them off). The anxiety of an animal being killed stays with me all day but I try to push it to the back of my mind, to enable me to think clearly.

It’s a tough day with hunt support trying to block us in, telling us we’re not on footpaths when we are, riding their horses at us. Despite this we manage to keep up with the hunt all day.

A quick brew. Image © Aggravated Trespass
A quick brew. Image © Aggravated Trespass

I’m in and out of the landy, lunch involves grabbing bites to eat as best I can. I gaze enviously at a fellow sab who always has fancy lunches; today they have savoury pancakes. I take another bite of my sandwich and head out of the landy again.


It’s almost dark now and the hunt have finally packed up. Back in the landy someone brings out vegan cakes to share, this is very welcome.

We head back to the meeting point, wet and muddy. I volunteer to do the hit report, which is a write up of the day’s events.


I arrive home and take my muddy clothes and boots off inside the front door. My dog takes great interest in the different smells from the day I bring into the house. Taking as few muddy steps as possible, I throw the clothes into the washing machine.

I have a quick shower and some dinner, as I begin to trawl through hours of footage and photos from the day.


Hit report finished and shared on our group socials, I grab a beer and finally relax in front of the TV or watch a film with my dog sprawled across my lap.


Feeling shattered I head to bed. Thoughts of the day’s events are still in my head. As sabs we have to think on our feet a lot and it’s easy to wonder afterwards if you could have done things differently.

I’ll be ready to do it all again next week.

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