A campaign to promote hunting days for newcomers around the country is to be launched as part of the drive to make hunting more accessible to the public.

The days between 4 and 11 October have been named as newcomers’ and free hunting week, and all packs — mounted and foot — are being urged to participate.

“People want to find out more about hunting, and we have got to provide them with an opportunity,” says Nicky Driver from the Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for Hunting (CfH), which is spearheading the initiative.

“There are, without doubt, more people coming hunting than ever, but we want to get hunts thinking about how to attract even more locals.”

The CfH, in conjunction with the hunting associations, has put together an “implementation pack”, which every hunt will receive this week. The pack contains templates of material to publicise the initiative, including letters and adverts for local press and leaflets to distribute at livery yards, riding schools, and feed merchants.

Leaflets and adverts will incorporate a voucher to be presented at the meet for a free day’s hunting.

Although many hunts already hold newcomers’ meets, this is the first time for around seven years that such a co-ordinated approach has been made.

In the mid-1990s, national newcomers’ days, targeting “opinion formers” such as lawyers and judges, attracted around 2,000 new people over two years. This time, the aim is to give all members of the public the chance to come hunting as foot or mounted followers.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for the hunts to run a newcomers’ day, and as easy as possible for people from all sectors to come along,” says Nicky.

The pack will be sent to a representative of every hunt; for more information contact Nicky Driver (tel: 01531 636685) or e-mail nicky-driver@countryside-alliance.org

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