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Facebook attracts new hunting recruits

Hunt are increasingly recruiting new supporters — and staying in touch with old ones — through the use of social media.

The Surrey Union and the Woodland Pytchley say interest in their recent newcomers’ meets doubled, thanks to their respective Facebook pages.

We had a field of 100 — last year it was 56,” said Surrey Union joint secretary Catherine Heilbron.

Carol Lees, who runs the Woodland Pytchley’s Facebook page, saw a similar take-up after taking the plunge with social media.

“Last year, we didn’t have a Facebook page and it was a bit of a damp squib. This year we had 25 new people,” she told H&H. “As an advertising medium for our events, it beats the hell out of anything else.”

Also in the Midlands, new Pytchley supporter Jenny Grace contacted the hunt via their popular Facebook page.

The pack, which has a presence on both Facebook and Twitter, had seemed “a closed community” before, said Ms Grace.

“But I could chat through what to wear — I asked if I could wear a body protector — and whether we had to jump. We had a brilliant time. I can’t wait to go out again,” she added.

South of Edinburgh, the Lauderdale use their Facebook page (1,000+ “likes”) to advertise meets.

Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance advised that, in certain parts of the country, the presence of antis meant it was “not advisable to make such information public”.

But he added: “Social media is proving a great tool for hunts, [which helps to] shed the inaccurate image the antis like to portray.”

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