HUNTING: Dog’s instinct to follow scent

Glanton Show 2014'West Percy Hunt paraded in the ring.
Glanton Show 2014'West Percy Hunt paraded in the ring.

A couple of weeks ago a Northumberland hunt found themselves in court and fined for breaking the law.

The people in court must be unaware of the normal behaviour of dogs hunting.

I am not a hunt follower and although I don’t actually regard the sport as in need of the ban, I do at times get annoyed at the arrogance of some people when they are on their horses, and often feel that this is the thing that antagonises so many against them.

However, if the court had witnessed the habits of the hounds on my ground they would see that with a large hill covered in rhododendron, which many a fox uses to evade the hounds, they would know that any amount of blowing of the horns would never bring the hounds out to the huntsman.

Indeed once hounds are on a scent, one doesn’t need to egg them on with any encouragement.

It is the same in the shooting field where once the dog is set, the less noise made the better as the dog gets on with its work.

It was very wrong to use the ‘vain attempts’ to call the dogs off as a criminal act by the humans present.

They were legally following a trailed scent when the fox got up, an accident that can always happen when off in the country.

I remember while the Hunting Act was before Parliament an off-duty policeman found his group of working dogs taking off after a fox which came out of the hedgerow.

He said afterwards that he was hunting both a pack, and chasing after them but that was a few years ago.

The chief trouble with our countryside is that with so many people living in towns they have lost touch with the country ways and no longer understand how nature works, they like to lay down their views as correct.

They make laws without consideration of the consequences and leave us to get the correct balances from overgrowth of species that are a great problem with the production of their food.

Foxes have to be controlled, and since the Hunting Act they have to be shot when attacking the poultry farms or killing our lambing ewes.

Anne Wrangham,

by email