fox hunting

Sinnington huntsman filmed dumping dead animals to attract foxes

Covert footage, captured in August 2023 and passed onto the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), has shown Sinnington huntsman, Tom Cranage, throwing dead rabbits into woods to provide food for foxes.

Remains of deer, rabbits, and pigeons were found in the Habton Whin covert in North Yorkshire. The Sinnington huntsman’s intention seems clear: to attract and maintain a fox population in the area. The hunt can then train hounds to illegally hunt fox cubs during cubbing season. The HSA stated that the woods are owned by former master of the hunt, Tim Easterby.

The HSA wrote on its website:

“Clearly, the Sinnington intends to continue hunting fox cubs. It’s just a shame that their ‘low country’ was unable to hide them from covert cameras. Cameras captured the hunt surrounding the covert on the 13th September at 6:39am on the hunt’s opening cubbing meet of the season.”

Hunt saboteurs responded to the footage. Peak District Hunt Sabs made the point:

“A common argument you hear from hunt supporters is that “foxes killed my chickens/lambs/sister”, and that the fox population needs “controlling”. Which is clearly nonsense.
When you see how pervasive it is that hunts regularly maintain artificial fox habitats to actually *increase* numbers, it’s very telling. These people clearly love the violence of the so-called sport, and nothing more.”

Trail laying smokescreen

Prior to this footage emerging, Hunting Leaks published a damning leaked document from the hunt itself from the 2021/21 hunting season. A member of the Sinnington wrote:

“I have spent sometime this summer trying to understand where we stand with illegal hunting and what we need to do to be compliant. Last season I believe we were remarkably lucky not to receive any visits from the saboteurs or police but we would be complacent to believe this will continue. As part of this process I attended the MFHA’s AGM, an evening seminar on dealing with saboteurs and a day’s training on trail laying with Libby…”

The member went on to say:

“We have been remarkable [sic] fortunate in recent years at the Sinnington which has lured us into a false sense of security and if we ignore what we need to do it will be at our own peril.”

There are a number of other sentences in the document that clearly show that this hunt has no regard for the Hunting Act. The hunt even stated that the law itself was an opponent of the hunt. The document went on to name hunts that have successfully switched “between the use of an artificial scent” when hunt saboteurs turn up, to switching back to “hunting the real thing” when they think they’re not being monitored.

Owning land

The Sinnington was already known by sabs for the way it purchases woods, or coverts, in order to keep the fox population high for hunting. Back in 2021, York Anti-Hunt League wrote on Facebook that the hunt was buying up land to attract foxes. The group said:

“Muscoates Fox Covert is owned and managed by the Sinnington Hunt to attract foxes so that the hunt have a supply of young foxes to train their “new entry” hounds to the brutal world of killing foxes in the autumn. The Sinnington Hunt own over a dozen such woods or ” coverts” (pronounced ‘covers’) in the Harome/Wombleton/Welburn area). They believe, mistakenly, that because they own the land, that they can get away with killing our native wildlife undisturbed. However, contrary to what they said on “Huntleaks”- they can’t!”

Protect the Wild created a map showing how a council ban would impact hunts in North Yorkshire


North Yorkshire: wildlife crime hotspot

The Sinnington is just one of numerous hunts based in North Yorkshire, a county notoriously plagued by illegal raptor persecution and illegal hunting. League Against Cruel Sports figures have shown that there were “29 witness reports of suspected illegal hunting, including eight incidents of cub hunting in the county”, although this figure is likely higher. Protect the Wild also reported on a number of illegal and anti-social actions carried out by hunts in North Yorkshire.

Despite this, an oversight committee for North Yorkshire Council discussed a ban on trail hunting in September 2023, and argued that a ban would mirror “how Germany ended up in the 1930s”. The entire council will make a decision on the ban in November, and we can only hope that it takes notice of this new footage that has emerged.


No Boxing Day Parade

The Sinnington Hunt is expected to hold its annual parade in Kirkbymoorside this Boxing Day. However, hunt saboteurs and monitors have repeatedly exposed the hunt as perpetrators of anti-social and criminal acts. Does Kirkbymoorside Town Council really want local residents and the wider public to view it as a supporter of such behaviour?

  • Please sign our petition to Kirkbymoorside Town Council, encouraging it to put an end to the Sinnington Hunt’s Boxing Day PR event.