As we enter what may be the final season before the hunting ban is repealed, hunting has never been in better shape.

A successful Newcomers’ Week (10-17 October), in which hunts across the country held 92 “open to anyone” meets, attracted over 5,000 fresh faces to the sport. And now the Countryside Alliance (CA) has released new figures that demonstrate hunting’s resilience.

Ninety-three per cent of hunts in England and Wales that responded to a CA survey ahead of the new season have as many or more subscribers than they did before the Hunting Act came into force in February 2005. And 89% think they have more support from their communities than before.

The CA’s Jill Grieve told H&H: “These figures are testament to the hunting community’s grit and determination.

“Keeping hunting together, breeding hounds, continuing to have employees and keeping the infrastructure and number of days’ hunting has been a priority.

“There is a feeling that the holding pattern hunts have adopted over the past few years could soon be over and the pantomime of the Hunting Act could be behind us.”

Read this news story in full, including more figures from the CA survey, in the current issue of H&H (22 October, ’09)