Hunts attracted just short of 3,000 newcomers to hunting in National Newcomers Week (4-11 October).
Efforts by 101 packs drew between 10 and 60 newcomers on each day, with record turnouts reported at the Heythrop, Warwickshire, Badsworth & Bramham Moor, VWH, Fitzwilliam, Old Berks and Croome & West Warwickshire.
A dozen hunts rose to the challenge and made every meet that week a newcomers’ meet, and the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent attracted 70 new people. The newcomers’ meets were supplemented by seminars, tours of hunt kennels, breakfasts and barbecues.
Nicky Driver from the Campaign for Hunting says: “This week has helped to get hunts thinking about how they promote their activities — whether by advertising in the local paper, sticking a poster up in the pub, leafleting a village or sending an invite with their hunter trial schedules.
“I hope it has made hunts realise how much support there is for hunting — but it’s up to hunts to get out there and find it, not wait for it to come to them.”
Nine further newcomers meets are planned over the next few weeks and many hunts, having found the day so rewarding and enjoyable, have indicated that they will be putting on another newcomers day this season.