By Harry Mottram: Further to a recent post on the Axbridge Community Facebook site about hunting – this may be of interest to some.
When cycling to Wedmore this afternoon (Saturday 4th Feb, 2023) a hare ran out in front of me on the B3251 from the left field and ran along in front of me before entering the field to my right and ran at speed up the field and disappeared. At that point I heard hounds down on the moor to my left – about three fields away – perhaps 400 yards or more. They were following a scent which I realised was likely to be that of the hare – although I cannot prove this but it did look likely. Nobody was with them. They came up the field towards the road and spilled out onto the road in front of me – clearly struggling to find the hare’s scent. They were out of control for several minutes forcing cars to stop and generally causing a road traffic danger. A huntsman came up the field and eventually got them under control – they then set off into the field where the hare had gone.
Two main issues: one is hare hunting with dogs is illegal under the 2004 Hunting Act; two is that if a dog walker let their dogs run off the lead out of sight on a road busy with traffic they would be rightfully criticised.
I am not opposed to hunting in principal but I do believe hunters should remain within the law – and having covered the illegal practice of hare hunting for the newspapers in Wiltshire I can say this is an abhorrent practice – and above all hares are increasingly rare and need protection.
My photos show the hounds down on the moor and then on the road. The nearest gate way is to the field where the hare ran off followed by the hunt. The third photo shows the huntsman with the hounds – now under control.