Trail Hunting: It’s A Pack Of Lies

On yer bike - nobody believes trail hunting is real. ©West Yorkshire Hunt Sabs

When the fox hunting old guard were scrambling to explain what they’d be doing after the Hunting Act came into force into 2005, they were keen to make sure everyone knew just how pointless “trail hunting” was, and how urgently they wanted to get back to the good old days of killing foxes legally.

In 2005 the Countryside Alliance even went to the trouble of publishing a handy ‘Hunting Handbook’ – still available on their website – which states that, “Trail hunting has no utilitarian value to farmers, nor does it contribute towards wildlife management or habitat conservation”.

A right helmet: this idiot isn’t fooling anyone.
A right helmet: this idiot isn’t fooling anyone.

They went on to remind everyone that “It is an interim measure forced upon us by the Hunting Act that is necessary to maintain the infrastructure of hunting” and somewhat conveniently “hounds will continue to hunt the scent of their normal quarry during the temporary ban so that they remain focused on their normal quarry”.

Imagine our surprise, then, when the governing body of hunting, the BHSA – the new name for the discredited Hunting Office – recently contradicted this trenchant rebuttal of the utility of trail hunting by claiming, via their Facebook page, that “when hounds follow a trail across the land, foxes in that area will naturally disperse, meaning that the farmer’s livestock is kept safe”!

Dispersed to death: this poor fox was killed by the Warwickshire Hunt © West Mids Hunt Sabs
Dispersed to death: this poor fox was killed by the Warwickshire Hunt © West Mids Hunt Sabs

Now, setting aside the obvious oversight that in this imaginary situation, foxes could simply return home after being disturbed, this is a remarkable U-turn by the occupants of Cirencester’s retirement home for elderly criminals, the BHSA. After two decades of claiming that trail hunting has absolutely zero benefit (which apparently would then justify a repeal of the Hunting Act…) the motley collection of hunt fetishists have stared down the barrel of the gun of an incoming Labour Government and are now all in favour of hunting ‘trails’. This is of course in an effort to stave off further attention and restrictions to their clique.

On yer bike - nobody believes trail hunting is real. ©West Yorkshire Hunt Sabs
On yer bike – nobody believes trail hunting is real. ©West Yorkshire Hunt Sabs

This is not the only confusion and misdirection to come from the hunting world recently, either. Just a couple of weeks ago we were treated to the unusual sight of the Countryside Alliance’s Tim Bonner appearing in public without a face covering as he made an appearance on a Channel 5 discussion show.

When a concerned caller from Portsmouth asked him what scent is used in trail hunting, Tim reeled off his local herbalist’s stock list, including “aniseed and sandalwood”. Quite a surprising contradiction to the clear definition given on his own Countryside Alliance website which states in black and white that a “quarry-based scent” is used. Perhaps the Puckeridge’s – Tim’s local hunt – quarry has been sandalwood and aniseed all along…

This is the reality of trail hunting ©Three Counties Hunt Sabs
This is the reality of trail hunting ©Three Counties Hunt Sabs

As the 2024 General Election looms, remember that for the last two decades, the hunting powers-that-be have claimed time and time again that “trail hunting” – whatever that actually is – should always have been considered as a temporary answer to their problem.

Let’s hold them to that, and see their pathetic, contradictory smokescreen blown away for good.

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