On Monday 29th April, the Quantock Staghounds met at Bagborough, just to the south of the Quantock Hills, Somerset. This was to be the last meet with Richard Downs as Huntsman before his retirement, a huntsman who became the first person in the country to be convicted twice under the Hunting Act. A large turnout of hunt support was expected, and hunt staff wore the traditional “hunting pink” jackets, presumably in his honour. 

Quantock Staghounds meeting at Bagborough

Bagborough is only five miles as the crow flies from the League’s Alfoxton sanctuary at Holford on the Quantocks. As we expected the hunt to be chasing stags on the hills, our sanctuaries officer Graham Floyd spent the day on the sanctuary to ensure that the hunt did not trespass or chase stags on League land, a job he has been doing two or three times a week since last summer.

True to form, a stag was chased down off the hill and was seen escaping towards the sanctuary. Some attempt was made by supporters to drive the stag off but in order to prevent the stag being pursued or driven from the sanctuary to be hunted, Graham made himself visible to hunt supporters who were obviously not happy; shouts of “the stag has gone down the bottom field where Graham Floyd is” were heard. This stag was saved and the hunt tried to find another but had to go home disappointed.

This past season, our investigators have witnessed numerous stags and deer being chased across the hills and on several occasions across National Trust land. The stag below ran within meters of our investigators in its attempt to evade the hunt.

Stag that was chased by the Quantock Staghounds

Footage released by Somerset Against Wildlife Crime and Hounds Off just confirms that it is business as usual for the stag hunts. We are currently reviewing all our video footage to decide our next course of action.