Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt murder or dig out foxes three times in one week

Earlier this year, the public was outraged when ITV News broadcast the Avon Vale Hunt digging out two foxes. On 21 September 2023, North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs caught the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt (BSV) doing the exact same thing. The sabs also caught the hunt trying to dig out another fox just days later, on 25 September. On 28 September, the hunt killed a fox, then went on to hunt another right in front of police officers.

The sabs have been constantly on the ground, trying to save foxes. They reported on the events of 28 September, saying:

“Having just killed a fox in a maize field, blatant by the hollers followed by the traditional horn call blown for a kill, they went on to hunt another immediately in front of 3 police officers!”

They continued:

“The sab caught a glimpse of the fox running the centre of the hedge. A whip was shouting ‘carry on, carry on’ and the huntsman was doubling his horn. All this with the police present! Eventually the huntsman lost his nerve, pulled the hounds up and took them away deep into Ashington Wood. Behaving as they did with police present shows the BSV have a complete disregard for the law. Fortunately that fox lives on.”

Digging out foxes

A week before this, the sabs posted a video of the 21 September incident on Facebook. It briefly shows a terrierman digging a hole, as the huntsman and others look on. The sabs wrote:

“This is what we arrived to at the BSV on Thursday evening. – The huntsman off his horse holding back the pack of hounds while a terrierman can be seen digging in front of them. With no time to stop and film this disturbing scene we quickly closed in on them, hoping to prevent them getting to the fox.”

The footage then shows the sabs trying to get to the men, but being stopped by riders using their horses to push them back. Someone, who the sabs identify as a “spare terrierboy”, also blocks the way.

Thrown to the hounds

The sabs continued:

“Then there came the high pitched “holloa’s” that indicate the direction a fox is running.

Bloodlust overcame our assailants, as they raced off to join the chase. We were too late, the fox had been bolted/extracted and thrown in front of the hounds. Hounds went into full cry heading for the farmyard. We cautiously moved closer, not wanting to scare the fleeing fox back towards hounds. By some miracle we saw a flash of red as the terrified fox managed to slip past and down into the nature reserve.

Not an isolated incident

When the similar Avon Vale scene was broadcast on ITV News, there was, rightly, outrage. The nationwide publicity forced the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA) – hunt’s governing body – to permanently expel the hunt. Two of the men pleaded guilty to illegal hunting, while another man opted to go to trial.

But as North Dorset Sabs have shown, digging out foxes happens all too often. The sabs wrote:

“We all remember the shocking video of the Avon Vale – “the brace” which led to the hunt being expelled from the BHSA. As all sabs know, Avon Vale wasn’t an isolated incident – THIS HAPPENS REGULARLY. And we’ve filmed the BSV doing it a number of times, and in fact had to stop them digging a fox out of a hay barn later that same day!”

Indeed, the sabs saved that fox, too. They wrote in their HIT report:

“Hounds were climbing all over the hay bales where the frightened fox was now hiding. With riders now hanging off us, we waded closer and the huntsman and terriermen had no choice but to leg it! Another fox saved!”

Foiling another dig-out

As we’ve seen, the BSV consistently breaks the law with very little consequences, even with police present to witness the crimes. Just a few days after this dig-out incident, on 25 September, the hunt was chasing foxes again, their hounds sending deer running towards the busy A30.

The hunt was about to dig out another fox once more. The sabs wrote in their HIT report:

“For some time the field held up a small cover where hounds were marking to ground, and terriermen operated inside. Sabs closed in on both sides in an attempt to stop another digout, one sab made it within meters of the dig and stood their ground despite being molested by a rider.
They continued:
“However, we believe a fox was eventually bolted out of the covert and hounds lifted and put back on the scent. This fox then immediately went to ground again and the huntsman was heard loudly praising hounds. Terriermen moved in again and before we could get there, the fox was flushed again and the hounds screamed after them in full cry into an un-named narrow cover off Park Lane. With a sab closing in from the northeast, another moving in from the southwest and Wildlife Crime Action completing the observation of the cover there was little scope for the hunt to conceal their activities.”


Evidently, the BSV has the audacity to think that it can act above the law, with total impunity. We need to see the police prosecuting this criminal hunt, because we can’t trust the BHSA to take any meaningful action. If the BHSA took its job seriously, it would expel the BSV, as it did the Avon Vale Hunt. But we can’t trust hunt’s governing body to discipline its own, and we’re likely to see no action at all. It takes a national outcry for the BHSA to be forced into whatever little action it thinks it can get away with.

  • And so it’s down to hard-working hunt sabs on the ground to try to save foxes. Support North Dorset Sabs, who are on the ground, facing abuse as they save foxes. Donate to the group here.



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