Hunters Take To The Water

Sheffield Hunt Sabs on the Northern Counties Mink Hounds

With the fox and hare hunting now ending for the season, a hardcore of bloodsports enthusiasts are about to take to watercourses to follow their summer hunts, and hunt sabs are poised to stop them!

Sheffield Hunt Sabs on the Northern Counties Mink Hounds
Sheffield Hunt Sabs on the Northern Counties Mink Hounds

What is a mink hunt?

Hunting occurs during the summer months, with huntsman on foot with a pack of hounds. There are also hunt supporters, often the usual fox and hare hunting fanatics, who will follow along to watch.

Hunting takes places along streams, river banks and lakes, with hounds encouraged to search the undergrowth for a mink or otter, and terriermen present equipped with terriers, spades and poles to dislodge a hunted animal that takes refuge up a tree, in a drain or river bank.

With mink hunting made illegal by the Hunting Act in 2004, packs now laughably claim to be hunting rats or even carrying out ‘riverside surveys’ (that’s right, with packs of hounds, spades and terriers)!

Going equipped: Dove Valley Mink Hounds terriermen
Going equipped: Dove Valley Mink Hounds terriermen

Riverside vandals

Mink hunting has its roots in otter hunting, a particularly barbaric bloodsport popular last century. After a crash in the otter population in the 1970s, otter hunting was banned and the species got protected status. Many of these packs then switched to hunting mink, a move that was initially a tactic to preserve hunt infrastructure ‘pending a possible resumption of otter hunting.’

In recent years, with a rising otter population, many of these hunts have returned to hunting their original ‘quarry.’ In 2019, sabs filmed the Culmstock Mink Hounds chasing an otter in Devon and were attacked when they bravely intervened to save the animal.

As well as the cruelty involved in hunting mink and otter, these packs also damage the fragile waterside habitats and disturb the wildlife residing there.

A typical mink hunt meet. Peterborough Hunt Sabs
A typical mink hunt meet. Peterborough Hunt Sabs

Hunt sabs need you!

These hunts are extremely secretive, operating on an invite-only basis and with each ‘hunt country’ covering huge areas.

And that’s why we need you, our eyes and ears in the countryside, to help us locate them this summer!

Things to look and listen out for:

  • Horn or voice calls, hounds near a water course
  • Groups of hunt supporters, and terriermen, near a water course
  • Suspicious vehicles (including hound vans/trailers) parked up in a field next to a river, or at a country pub

If you have information on a mink/otter hunt, or see a pack when you’re out and about, then let hunt sabs know.

Call the confidential Hunt Sab tip-off line on 07443 148426

Get involved!

Find out how you can be part of our campaign to strengthen the Hunting Act

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