A welcome break from the 5am starts for cubbing today as we went to the Ross Harriers opening meet of the season, at Warren Farm, Lea, Herefordshire.
They left at around 11.30 with us following. We monitored their movements as they went from field to field trying to put up a hare to chase (most Harrier packs hunt both hare and fox), with little luck.
The day seemed pretty disjointed for them, obviously with limited areas they were allowed to hunt and a keenness to get away from us whenever we caught up with them.
Sabs were with the hunt as they were drawing a kale field, perfectly positioned to see a rather plump fox fleeing past.
As supporters were seen alerting the whipper-in as to the foxes whereabouts and a couple of hounds showed an interest in following its line, sabs were straight into action spraying citronella after it and ‘rating’ the hounds back (telling them not to follow).
We let the huntsman know that the fox had fled and he made the sensible decision to gather up the hounds and move away from the area.
We were following on in our vehicle when we drove past the bulk of hunt followers, some of who threw stones at us. A few bounced off the vehicle but one smashed the sunroof, showering glass on those inside.
Thankfully nobody was hurt and after a bit of a hold up clearing away the broken glass we were back in pursuit of the hunt.
We watched them drawing a few more fields around the meet, before catching up with the huntsman who was on foot and gathering up the hounds, before heading back to box up.
Throughout the day a number of hunt followers were seen displaying all the lowest levels of maturity, with a mounted follower swinging his riding crop at sabs when he went past and a group of drunken car followers threatening us with violence from the off, drink driving, blocking roads and then squaring up to and threatening members of the public who asked them to move!
We have to ask the Ross Harriers whether this is the kind of behaviour that they want to be associated with? They are surely by now well aware that we will expose any violence and vandalism aimed at us, that it is not a deterrent and in fact only makes us more determined and them more of a focus.