New to Hunting?
The Jedforest Hunt holds a newcomers evening and mounted meet every autumn. If you are curious about hunting and want to learn more about the subject, and/or take part in a relaxed manner then please come along. New faces are of course welcome at any time and the Secretary is the most suitable person to contact in the first instance. The hunting season takes place during the autumn and winter months. Appropriate dress is advised for the weather conditions, a good riding hat, and a fit and healthy horse.
People go hunting for a variety of reasons, whilst the primary purpose is to control foxes, the activity provides many bi-product’s, which is why it continues to sustain its popularity within rural communities.
The challenge of riding a horse across country after a pack of hounds in full cry is one of adrenaline, unpredictability, and comradeship. Some also follow on off road motorbikes, or pursue on their own two feet. A diverse range of people are found in a hunting field, and a common purpose knits them together.
A hunting day is determined by the elements, and despite moments of best pace, the process requires patience, and respect for the hounds at work and their quarry. Different weather conditions and the type of country all effect scenting conditions. On a bad scenting day it isn’t unusual to see a fox sit calmly watching the hounds attempting to follow a line. Conversely on a good scenting day a clever fit fox has many tricks in it’s arsenal to lose hounds by foiling its scent. This is what makes hunting such an enduring activity, as one really doesn’t know what will happen, it is embedded within a natural environment and its participants are absorbed by the intelligence utilised by the mammals involved.
Hunting does not leave foxes wounded, a conclusion is reached, or the quarry escapes unharmed. The Jedforest Hunt operates within the law of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, using a full pack of hounds to flush foxes to guns. A study led by the vet Dr Jeremy Naylor concluded that the Scottish legislation on hunting was far more humane and efficient than the law in England and Wales, which limits the number of hounds used to two. This was partly due to the fact that the time the fox was hunted with only two hounds was increased by 333%, compared to when a full pack was in use, as in Scotland.
There is a point to hunting, as beautiful an animal the fox is, it is also very adaptable and resourceful, being an extremely efficient predator of livestock and ground nesting birds, therefore the population needs to be controlled for both conservation and economic purposes. Paradoxically those involved with hunting have an immense amount of respect developed from profound knowledge of one of the most versatile and gifted mammals on earth.