The 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:
Before 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 signs when observing any form of drag hunting.
Suspicious signs when observing stalking or 'flushing out'
Suspicious signs when observing use of terriers below ground
Dogs 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 www.badger.org.uk
Also see Sabbing a Cub Hunt