Where now? This undoubtedly is one of the most frequently asked questions, us Huntsmen have to consider during a hunting day. Where has our quarry species gone, where to go draw next, etc etc? However in this piece I am going to use it in a different context and this is probably the most important one of all, and that is, where is hunting going now?

Despite our opponents thinking they had won the most tremendous victory over us nearly eleven years ago, hunting is still here and in whatever form it takes, its popularity has never waned. What a pleasure it is to see people from every angle of society still coming together at a meet of their local pack of hounds and why shouldn't they? We will occasionally hear the comment, "well it's not like it used to be or look at that lot, they haven't a clue what they are doing"! However our record says a lot more than that and there is much to be proud of but there is one thing for certain and that is we cannot afford to relax for one moment. Pushing our activities under the carpet is not going to help us in the long term. Let us go out and stand up for our beliefs, be keen to share them with those who are interested enough to listen, and there are by the way, plenty out there, if we play it correctly, who want to do exactly that.

Although still banned in its original form, every opportunity to ensure hunting has a good name should be taken extremely seriously and this should not only be designated to just high days and holidays, but it should be in our thinking throughout each and every year that goes past. From it we can learn so much, firstly that it is not a job for one person, it should be a collective responsibility from all of us who hunt and enjoy our sport to play our part. New ideas bringing innovation, inspiration, and inclusivity to our activities will, we would hope, help considerably in overturning this ridiculous piece of legislation once and for all. If we don't manage to achieve something in the next three years, the time clock will be ticking against us as to whether we will ever be able to pull this one off.

It was with all this in mind, a group of Hunting Enthusiasts came together from all over the UK a few months ago to a meeting in Central England to form a committee which they proudly call ‘This is Hunting UK’. Not being in any competition whatsoever with the Countryside Alliance or the Hunting Associations, its objectives are clear and they are  in full support of the good work which is already going on. However of equal importance it is there to help implement new and positive thinking in the way we promote our activities, whilst ridiculing in a sensible and professional manner, the tactics of our opponents.

Hunting still has a very large number of plusses in its favour, even in 2015. We should never forget that and it is this belief which is the driving force behind, the ‘This is Hunting UK’ Committee. So, when asked "Where Now"? We can either use the old theory of the ostrich and bury our heads in the sand or we can stand tall and let the British public decide where the truth really does lie. We are already in a far better place than we ever thought we would be ten years ago but time will not sit and wait for us. We must go out and play our part in safeguarding the future for the next generation who will follow in our footsteps. It is they who deserve the opportunity to go out hunting and experience what we once did. We also owe it to our quarry species for whether it be the fox, deer, hare or mink, it is the true hunting man who really does have the greatest respect and understanding of them and far more so than he is ever given credit.

Anybody who has any ideas how they can support the work of ‘This is Hunting UK’ please feel free to contact either Fran Allman at the Bicester with Whaddon Kennels, Stratton Audley , Bicester Oxon OX27 9BT. Email francessca.allman@aol.com Tel 01869 277 209 / 07796 333321 or myself James Barclay at Abbey Farm, Stixwould, Woodhall Spa, Lincs LN105HR. Email james@fortheloveofhuntingengland.com Tel 01526 354177 / 07802 327463.We would be only too delighted to hear from you.


James Barclay