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Reports from the ever-popular Countryside Alliance Newcomers’ Week indicate large numbers of people are enjoying hunting for the first time. It looks as though the impact of Brexit may yet be felt in many aspects of our everyday lives, however thankfully hunting continues to be a wonderful distraction from that for all those who follow on horse, on foot or in a car.

Spectacular images from the first of the opening meets have already been coming through, but excitement builds ahead of the big day for the packs getting under way over the coming week. In our hunting special, Adrian Dangar reminds us that however well prepared meets may be, weather conditions on the day will usually determine the sport hounds can provide (see p38), so expectations must be managed.

The number of people riding to hounds continues to grow but the demographics have changed. Many packs now offer day-tickets and packages to make a hunting day more affordable — though this may not make the treasurer smile when frosty weather sees outgoings outweighing income.

Other pressures such as urban growth and rising costs are making it harder for some packs to make ends meet. Frank Houghton Brown considers the viability of hunts and tackles the delicate subject of how amalgamations could help hunting continue to thrive (p32) in certain areas.

For now, let’s celebrate the start of the season and kick on!

Ref Horse & Hound; 27 October 2016