Hunts plan for a respectful Covid-secure season *H&H Plus*

  • Plans have been outlined to enable autumn hunting to begin under Covid-19 guidance. H&H reports back from the recent Masters of Foxhounds Association’s online AGM...

    The need for autumn hunting to start in a “responsible, respectful and Covid-secure manner” was emphasised by Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) chairman Lord Mancroft at the association’s recent online AGM.

    Lord Mancroft said there was “no one template”, and that masters will have to decide for themselves when and exactly how to start. He added that hunts should “start hunting with great caution, and do not hesitate to change or even stop if you are not entirely comfortable with the way things are going.”

    Kimblewick joint-master and huntsman, and H&H columnist, Andrew Sallis, who virtually attended the meeting, said should the easing of lockdown continue, the hunting community sees no reason hunting cannot resume, adhering to all guidance, as an outdoor activity that is socially distant in nature.

    “If you can go bowling or to the cinema, or a pub, 30-odd people in open countryside, with permission and on horses, should be fine,” he told H&H. “The social side may have to be put on hold, but we generally feel there’s no good reason why not and many good reasons why we can; hunts are very much back in business.”

    There is a new team at the Hunting Office this season; Mark Hankinson, Alice Bowden and Richard Tyacke replace Tim Easby and Lizzie Pinney.

    Lord Mancroft highlighted that one of the focuses of the Hunting Office is to define clearly and communicate the roles of the hunting associations – the governing bodies for hunting, such as the MFHA, the Hunting Office, which is the administrative and supervisory arm, and the work they do with the Countryside Alliance, the political and campaigning organisation.

    “While the Hunting Office will take over full responsibility for all our own communications, those of the MFHA and the Hunting Office, it will not engage in promotion or political defence of hunting, which the Countryside Alliance undertakes on our behalf,” said Lord Mancroft.

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