07 February 2012

Hunting News

Foxes are thriving in the East Midlands, and so are hunting folk. Insiders say that hunt meets are better attended than ever, and last week I found myself at one such gathering in a field near Uppingham.  I was going past and decided to stop and I was astonished to see a HUGE eagle-owl in attendance, surrounded by admirers.

Since then I've been wondering, how does it work, hunting with a bird of prey? According to a Source, the eagle-owl is there only as a symbol. It would be very difficult to prove to anybody that it is the owl which kills the fox and not the pack, especially when the owl is following behind in a van. The hunt is employing a bird of prey, and that is what matters.

The fox is the symbol of Leicestershire, proof that people don't hate foxes around here: they love them. 'I used to hunt and it was nothing to do with killing a fox,' says my Source. 'It was the thrill of the chase. I used to love riding hard over open country on a horse... you never knew where the fox was going to take you.'

It is only the weak (old, young and ill) foxes that are killed by the hunt, continues the Source. The crowd on horseback, enjoying their day out, do not stand a chance with a fit fox. They would hunt with greyhounds and shot guns if pest control was the aim, or they would put down poison. As another village dweller says, 'If they really wanted to kill foxes they'd be wearing boiler suits and they certainly wouldn't be on a horse.' People with livestock to protect ignore the old rituals and go out at night themselves, looking for a pair of eyes reflected by a torch.

'The hunting law is so precise and badly framed that prosecutions are not successful. It's much more fun now,' declares the Source, 'having a law that doesn't work.'


  1. Nothing to do with killing a fox? Personally I'm glad that they've outlawed toffs trampling through other people's fields and gardens for "the thrill of the chase". I'm with Oscar Wilde when he said that fox hunters are "the unspeakable chasing the uneatable".

    I suspect fox hunting will die out more through lack of interest than through any laws made to stop it.

    1. Except the slight flaw is that more and more people are joining the hunts than have been for years ...I suspect that it isn't just cocking a snook ....no doubt you'd rather have prairie fields then than the beautiful patchwork of fields ,hedges ,copses and stands that would not still be about in the Shires were it not be for the hunting traditions..

    2. Thanks sgk, I want to do something on the glorious hedges of Northamptonshire. And stands, though I'm not sure what they are...