07960 038230
Be our eyes and ears

Be our eyes and ears

Fox cubThe Hunting Act makes it illegal to chase and kill foxes, deer, hares and mink with a pack of dogs. There are several exemptions, however, but these are clearly and narrowly defined.

For instance, it can be legal to flush out wild animals using one or two dogs, or to use dogs below ground in some circumstances. Birds of prey can be used to catch wild animals but their presence at a hunt does not signify otherwise illegal activities.

Look out for the suspicious activities detailed below, but remember that they do not count as proof that someone is breaking the law.

However, these signs indicate real grounds for concern and should be reported to the police or the NWHSA. If you send your concerns to us, we can advise you on whether your suspicions are justified or not.

Cubbing, Cub Hunting or "Autumn Hunting" as they call it!!!

Cubbing was a part of the hunting calendar, taking place through out August and early September. It involved training young dogs to kill fox cubs so they developed a taste for blood.

The Hunting Act 2004 outlawed this inhumane practice but we remain concerned some hunts continue this activity, in an attempt to keep the so called "sport" alive.

If you see any of the following suspicious activities, which resemble pre-ban cubbing, please report it to the police:

  • Hunt staff or supporters surrounding fox habitat, usually a wood.
  • Hunters being active early in the morning or late in the afternoon, these were traditional cubbing times as this is when the fox scent is strongest.
  • Hunt staff or supporters making loud 'whooping' noises, or hunt staff cracking whips and using the horn.

Fox cubsBefore the ban such activity would encourage the young dogs to hunt their prey.

People giving verbal commands or pointing to a fox that is escaping for a ring of hunters. An adult fox or a cub being pursued by a dog in view of people without them intervening to stop the chase or even actively encouraging the chase.

For more information about what is illegal under the Hunting Act and how to spot an illegal hunt see below.

Things to watch out for

  • Suspicious things when observing a hunt exercising its hounds.
  • 'Casting'(dispersing) of the hounds across a wide area of land or through woodland, gorse or thick cover, as if to allow them a chance to pick up a scent.
  • The hounds running ahead of the riders, and baying (howling/barking) - a sign that a scent may have been found, and that the hounds are in pursuit.
  • Baying hounds not being called off immediately, by use of a horn, physical contact (e.g. a whip) or verbal command.
  • Riders posted at various points around a wood where more than two hounds are within the woods.

Suspicious signs when observing any form of drag hunting.

  • Hounds following a scent across areas where the scent was unlikely to have been laid.  e.g. through crops, and across main roads, railway lines, thick hedgerows or domestic property.
  • Hounds deviating from the drag trail, and not being immediately called back, by use of a horn, or physical or verbal commands.
  • Blocked badger setts (it is now illegal for fox hunt to 'stop' badger setts to prevent foxes seeking refuge in them).
  • Riders posted at various points around a wood where more than two hounds are within the woods.

Suspicious signs when observing stalking or 'flushing out'

  • More than two dogs used in the stalking and flushing of wild mammals to guns.  Legally, only two dogs may be used.
  • The dogs chasing or killing a wild mammal.
  • The dogs not being called off by use of a horn, or physical or verbal commands if any flushed animal is not shot.
  • No reasonable steps being taken to ensure that any flushed animal is shot.

Suspicious signs when observing use of terriers below ground

  • More than one dog being used underground at a time. This is not permitted under DEFRA guidelines.
  • Any fighting between the dogs and fox.
  • Use of terriers by people unlikely to hold written permission from the landowner.
  • Killing a fox by use of a spade.

Fox and cubsDogs in a badger sett (it is illegal to enter dogs into a badger sett without a license and then only then in certain situations). In relation to badger setts, you can also contact the Badger Trust for advice - see

Also see Sabbing a Cub Hunt

Contact Info
Mobile :
07960 038230
Address :
North West HSA c/o BM HSA, London, WC1N 3XX

Information on hunts, shoots, gamekeepers, where hunts are meeting, places, dates etc., people you suspect of being involved in bloodsports, anybody seen digging for badgers or foxes. Any information no matter how small could be of great use to us. If you can help pleaseĀ contact us.

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