News Release by the League Against Cruel Sports

Cub hunting, also called ‘autumn hunting’, begins in August.

The purpose of it is to train young hunting hounds how to recognise a fox scent and, ultimately, to kill.

Both are illegal.

Information into the League’s Animal Crimewatch service helps us establish a picture of where cub hunting is taking place.

During the last cub hunting season, from August until October last year, the League received reports of 192 suspected illegal cub hunting incidents, which took place across 44 counties in England and Wales.

Three of these incidents resulted in a fox dying.

If the hunts follow pre-laid trails, as they claim, why do they hunt fox cubs under the guise of ‘autumn hunting’?

The National Trust believe that ‘trail’ hunting is a legitimate activity. Trail hunting is actually a cover for illegal hunting.

If autumn hunting or trail hunting are real, then why would hunts need to train hounds to kill?

During illegal cub hunting, hunt riders will surround woodlands and farming fields to trap fox cubs while the hounds are sent in to kill them. The riders stand stationary around the woodland or field to scare any cubs that try to escape back into the path of the waiting hounds.

In 2019 two members of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt were convicted of illegal cub hunting, thanks to footage gathered by the League. Despite clear evidence of illegal hunting, even after the conviction the hunt’s only regret was “that in this case some individuals were unable to show that they had fulfilled all the conditions of the relevant exemption…”

Cub hunting usually takes place early in the morning or late at night.

If you see anything that you suspect may be illegal cub hunting then please call the police on 101 (and get a reference number) and then report it to our Animal Crimewatch online or call us on 0300 4441234.