Basset Pack ‘Merger’ Can’t Mask Miserable Reality

The silly-trouser brigade update their files.

Over the weekend hunt sabs got the latest glimpse into the dying world of the hare-hunting basset and beagle packs.

The silly-trouser brigade update their files.
The silly-trouser brigade update their files.

Back in June we reported that the Leadon Vale Bassets Hounds were disbanding due to increasing sab pressure, no available huntsman, and a lack of support. Fast forward a couple of months, it was announced in the hunting press that rather than disappearing completely they were amalgamating with their neighbouring pack, the Woolaston Bassets. While this was more of an after-the-fact land grab, with the Woolaston inheriting the Leadon Vale’s country, it does point to a growing trend amongst hunts.

On Saturday hunt sabs responded to a tip-off and ventured to a waterlogged country estate, Madresfield in Worcestershire, to find a basset pack hunting and hares fleeing. This pack was the Woolaston Bassets hunting an old Leadon Vale Bassets meet, in what was the inaugural sab of this newly merged hunt.

A hare flees from the hunt.

With two hunts in one, a fresh pack of hounds for one set of followers to watch, and a new meet for the other set, you would expect a decent turn out, right? Wrong! The meet was attended by no more than 10 people, the majority of whom were Woolaston Bassets hunt staff, who looked far from impressed about being sabbed after driving over an hour from their kennels near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.

An impressive turnout for the newly amalgamated pack.
An impressive turnout for the newly amalgamated pack.

To add to their miserable day, the Madresfield Estate (where the hunt took place) has since put out a statement claiming that they only gave access for ‘hound exercise,’ not hunting. As a result, neither this nor any other pack will be able to use the land going forward.

A spokesperson for Severn Vale Hunt Sabs said:

“Hunt sabs will be well aware that hunting is a dying sport – and nowhere is that more evident than in the beagle and basset hunts, a fringe element by even their standards. Our focus has solely been on our local hare-hunting foot packs for a number of years, and we’ve really started to see this work pay off, as the disbanding of the Leadon Vale Bassets and the poor turnout on Saturday shows. If the Woolaston think that taking on this new country means they can hunt hares with impunity, they can think again.”

Severn Vale Hunt Sabs are currently fundraising to help with vehicle outgoings. Please help keep them on the roads and in the fields, standing in the way of hunters and hares. You can donate at gofund.me

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