The Countryside Alliance’s Hunting Newcomers’ Week has encouraged a large number of people to give the sport a try
Hundreds of people took to the field for the first time during Hunting Newcomers’ Week last month.
The annual event, organised by the Countryside Alliance (CA), ran from 21 to 28 October and was supported by hunts across the UK, which invited people to attend a range of newcomers’ meets or other activities such as hunting clinics and ditch-jumping sessions.
Reports from both organisers and attendees have been incredibly positive, according to the CA, with packs keen to host further events in future and newcomers wanting to give it another go soon.
“We had a brilliant weekend,” said Fizz Shearcroft, who organised the Royal Artillery Hunt’s two-day newcomers’ event, which included informative talks and practical demonstrations on horn blowing, etiquette and hunting history. “We were at maximum capacity and two new subscribers signed up straight away, which is fantastic.”
Polly Portwin, CA head of hunting, who co-ordinated the Hunting Newcomers’ Week, said: “We are grateful to all the packs that continue to host specific meets and other events.
“These dedicated days are the perfect introduction to hunting for those young or old, and they are also welcomed by those returning to hunting after a break who want to experience another day out with hounds,” she continued.
“The feedback has been very positive and despite increased urbanisation in some areas and pressure from animal rights activists, it is refreshing to know that there is a large number of people still wanting to find out more about their local pack and become involved.”
Hunting newcomers were also encouraged to take part in a competition, writing about their experiences by explaining what made them want to take part and what they enjoyed about their day.
The winners were Hannah Knowles with her account of her day with the Holcombe, Kelly Murray with the Royal Artillery, Jessica Weidmann with the New Forest, Judith Greenhalgh with the Wilton, Kat Brown with the Hursley Hambledon and Rowena Whitehouse with the Readyfield Bloodhounds.
They each won a personalised hunting tie donated by the Old Hunting Habit. Owner Amy Bryan-Dowell said: “It was great to read about the newcomers’ experiences and I hope they get an opportunity to wear their prizes out on the hunting field again this season.”