Drag Hunting vs Trail Hunting

Title banner - Drag vs Trail

Drag Hunting

Trail Hunting

Created : in the early 1800.

Follows a non-animal based artificial scent.

Created : in 2005 therefore not traditional.

Just a false name made up to disguise their real intent of hunting wild animals.

Considered a temporary name only undertaken while there is a hunting ban.

Claim to follow a fox based artificial scent although much evidence proves this is fake and a lie and trail hunts continue to illegally hunt foxes.

Objective :     is to follow hounds on horse back across country and over fences following a non animal based scent without the pursuit or killing of wild animals.

A variation of Drag Hunting is Clean Boot (chase hunting). Hounds follow a human runner.

Objective : is to make their activity look and feel as close to real fox hunting before the ban.

Trail hunts claim to just be following a trail but proven evidence and hundreds of prosecutions suggests this to be a fake claim.

The name trail hunting is just a disguise for actual real fox hunting which is against the law.

Type of hounds used : Drag hunts mainly use blood hounds but can also sometimes use fox hounds, which throws the excuse out the window that trail hunts can not retrain their hounds to follow a non animal scent.

Types of hounds used : Trail hunts continue to use fox hounds, which are bred and trained to follow a fox scent and kill.

Trail hunts have had 13 yrs to retrain their hounds to follow a non-fox scent but “choose not to” as they claim their hounds will only follow a fox based scent. Their stubborn defiance & determination only leads to illegal hunting.

Rules : Specific rules created by the MDBA

Rules : Trail hunting has no written rules or governing body, therefore can not be classed as a sport.

Many trail hunts are totally unregistered.

Trail scent : Non-animal based scents ie aniseed or chemical crystal mixed with water and oil. A human runner drags the scent cloth behind him.

If blood hounds are used they can normally just follow the human scent as have more acute sense of smell.

If fox hounds are used they normally follow the scent of the cloth.

Trail scent : Follows a trail of lies.

Fox (trail) hunts claim they lay a trail i.e. fox urine to follow.

Although this has to be questioned for a number of reasons :

* The UK does not manufacture fox urine.

* Hunts fail to produce evidence of where they are importing fox urine from or any scents, which once again questions if any of their scent claims are true.

* Considering there are over 250 fox (trail) hunts in the UK all hunting approx twice a week, thousands of gallons of fox urine would be needed, which dismisses their fake claims that they use fox urine or even lay a trail at all.

* Some have now changed their claim to say they now follow a non-fox based scent. If so why are their hounds still chasing foxes.

* If they have changed to a (non-fox) animal based scent, this contradicts their other false claim that they are unable to re-train their hounds to follow anything other than fox scents.

* Hunts claimed they have experimented with various fox based scents ie ground up liquidised foxes, until someone questioned where they are getting all their foxes from.

* For example if they really do lay a trail then why do they spend so much time on roads, on railway lines, in dense woods, riding through bogs and over ploughed fields, in peoples gardens, on private property, in areas totally unsuitable for riding.

The truth is fox (trail) hunts don’t actually lay and follow an artificial trail. They lie so much to cover up their illegal activity, once one excuse has been exposed as a lie they move onto another lie excuse.

Hound training : Hounds trained NOT to follow or kill live quarry

Hound training : Trained to seek out and follow live quarry with intention of killing.

A huge scandal has been following fox (trail) hunts for many years on their methods used to train their hounds to follow fox scents. Hunters have been arrested and prosecuted for rearing fox cubs, which are usually thrown alive to hounds to teach them to kill.

The activity of “cub hunting” or autumn hunting as the hunts have renamed it to make it sound more publicly pleasing.

Cub hunting involves : lots of riders surrounding a wood containing a fox den, sending a pack of hounds in to kill the fox cubs to teach the young hounds to kill, any cubs that try to escape the riders chase them back in forcing the cubs into the mouths of the hounds to be ripped apart.. which the hunts claim innocently they are only exercising the hounds.

Many hunts pre kill the adult fox which then allows a loop hole in the law to kill the cubs.

Any cubs which hide in the dens are either dug out and terriers are sent in underground to fight and drag the cubs out so they can be thrown alive to the hounds to rip apart. Some cubs are bagged to be reared to hunt at a later time.

This activity is usually done in complete secret and is totally un-policed or investigated.

Area : Do not use areas, meets and fields where pre-ban foxhunting took place

Area : Uses the same areas, meets and fields where pre-ban foxhunting took place, therefore increasing the risk of wild animals being hunted & killed.

Route taken :  Pre determined route to include the most enjoyable ride and safest going over terrain & fences in an area where the presence of live quarry is unlikely.

Huntsmen and whipper-in always know where the artificial scent was laid thus ensuring :

* Health & safety and risk assessments can be completed.

* Risk to horses reduced.

* Risk to hounds running on roads and railway line reduced.

* Risk to hounds & hunts trespassing on private land reduced.

Jumps are taken in lines, rest, then move onto next line. A line of fences maybe spread out over 2 miles. Its fast with jumps up to 4ft.

Generally not for kids or inexperienced riders.

Most city folk who come in to the country to hunt for the day haven’t got the riding experience or ability to drag hunt, therefore choose fox hunting where you can have more of a social chit chat

Route taken Hounds are taken to an area to search for scents where live quarry and animal presence is likely.

Trail hunts claim to deliberately not know where these myth trails are laid to simulate the real feeling of hunting foxes.

Although if the truth be known the reason they cant tell anyone where a trail has been laid is because a trail hasn’t actually been laid.

With this type of hunting you can spend most of the day either galloping on roads or just standing around waiting.

There is little planning and trails are certainly not laid. Hunts spend most of the day going from area to area trying to find a scent to chase (fox). Hounds often go missing.

All trail hunts are based around hunting live quarry although the hunters don’t want the public to know this.

Focus : is on the riders following the hounds, who are encouraged to find the artificial laid scent quickly (ie. human runner or rag trail for example).

Focus : tends to be the riders sitting around waiting for the hounds to find a fox trail scent moving from one known fox area to another.

Cost : Drag hunting is cheaper than fox hunting. On average the annual subscription would be around £360 plus cap on the day £5-£15

A days subscription is around £40

Cost : An annual subscription can cost up to £1000 plus cap on day £5-£15

Insurance : Yes as insurance companies are more willing to insure sports that are regulated, have rules and cause minimum risk and disturbances.

Insurance : Questionable. Any insurance company that would risk insuring a group of non regulated hunters with no rules, possible previous illegal convictions, hounds out of control all over main roads, invading peoples gardens etc runs a high risk.

Trail hunts rely on loop holes in the law to get away with prosecution & insurance claims.

Insurance of hunts are not a legal requirement only an advisable one.

Considering the amount of potential accidents that hounds could cause running riot over roads this certainly needs to be addressed.

Scent laid : Laid around 20 minutes before start to ensure hounds can clearly follow pre-laid trail.

Blood hounds tend to have more acute sense of smell than fox hounds.

Scent laid : Who knows ?. In 13 years never has it been witnessed a trail hunt laying a genuine trail with the hounds actually following it.

They did once attempt to recreate this myth for the camera but embarrassingly the hounds ran off in another direction completely ignoring their laid trail.

Many trail hunts claim to still be following a trail way into late afternoon long after the scent would have disappeared.

Scents usually last for approximately 3-4 hours depending on conditions.

Hounds on roads : very rare as hounds are actually following an artificial controlled trail

Hounds on roads : There has been a number of incidents of hounds running riot on roads & railway lines, being killed or dodging in between traffic.

Some hunts do not micro chip their hounds (especially un-registered) therefore it is hard for the police to identify which hunts the hounds belong to. If there has been a incident of a hound on the road, the hunt quickly hide or disappear, claiming it wasn’t their hound on the road, usually making up the excuse they were miles away. Checking if hounds are microchipped “as required by law” is rarely enforced.

Control of Hounds : Hounds kept under close control and kept on the line of their pre-laid trail.

Control of Hounds : Fox (trail) hounds can be reckless, uncontrolled and run riot all over the place as they are whipped up into a frenzy of blood lust.

Fox (trail) hunts seem to have little control over hounds although this tends to be selective control when it suits the hunts. They can easily call off hounds chasing a fox if they choose but allow them to kill and claim it was an accident.

Fox (trail) hunts encourage hounds to seek out and follow fox scents regardless of where this happens to be ie main roads, private property, in peoples back gardens, railway lines.

If they really where following a pre-laid trail they wouldn’t need to be anywhere near these dangerous places.

Terrier men present : No because they are not chasing animals so therefore do not need terrier men.

Terrier men present : If fox (trail) hunts where staying with-in the law and just following a trail (not killing) as they claim, then terrier men would not be needed.

Just the presence of terrier men on hunts indicates illegal activity.

Terrier men are employed to follow the hunts and pursue any foxes which go to ground. They dig them out, sending in a terrier dog below ground (dog fighting) to kill or drag foxes out of their dens.

They then throw live foxes to the hounds to be ripped apart.

Terrier work has to be the ultimate form of cruelty and takes a very cruel twisted person to under take this sort of work.

Hunts also use terrier men to prevent any filming by monitors which expose the hunts lies and illegal activities. Terrier men are basically employed hunt thugs.

Transparency : Because Drag Hunts are not illegally chasing wild animals they have nothing to hide, therefore are open and transparent about date of meets.

Transparency : Fox (trail) hunts go to great lengths to hide their activities. They do not want anyone filming them.

* If trail hunts are staying with-in the law and not illegally killing, then why do they have a problem with being filmed. ?

* Why do they hire thugs to attack monitors and try and steal their cameras. ?

* Why do they illegally block roads to prevent the public filming their actions. ?

* Why do they slash tyres of monitor vehicles to prevent them following and filming the hunt. ?

* Why do they refuse to supply evidence of trails actually being laid. ?

* Why can’t they supply any evidence of scents being used. ?

* Why do they have terrier men on so called legal hunts. ?

* Why cant they show more transparency. ?

Incidents of aggression : Unlikely as animal right protesters encourage and support the practice of non animal cruelty activities.

Incidents of aggression : aggression and violence seem to follow trail hunts.

Over 340 prosecutions and thousands and thousands of online evidence proving the fact of aggression towards the public and the lies they spout.

Cost to tax payer : Due to there being very few incidents, the police cost required is minimum

Cost to tax payer : Due to the aggression of fox (trail) hunts and their inability to control their hounds, remain with-in the law, police have to regularly be called.

This wastes millions of pounds of tax payers money and police time.

Reputation : In general drag hunts have a good reputation, although a few extreme fox hunting supporters with-in their membership could jeopardise this.

It’s a shame that these defiant foxhunters infiltrate drag hunting causing people to question their reputation.

Drag hunts have to continue to support foxhunts as many of their membership riders continue to ride in both drag & fox (trail) hunts.

Drag hunts would be best to completely disassociate themselves from fox (trail) hunts to keep their sport clean boot.

Reputation : Fox (trail) hunts have developed a self inflicted reputation of violence and illegal hunting for which is proven by the thousand and thousand of video evidence that is available online.

Many hunts have been prosecuted but not near the amount of hunts that should have been due to loop holes in the weak hunting act law which allow hunts to get away with it.

The future : While Drag hunts continue to not kill wild animals their future looks bright.

Although still need monitoring to ensure they stay with-in the law.

The future : With the public becoming more aware of trail hunts illegal activities, thuggery, blatant disregard for the law, cover ups, bias policing, cruelty etc, there is growing frustration at the failure of MPs, Police, PCC, CPS to ensure these hunts are brought to justice and do not make a mockery of our justice system.

example 1. : a recent Boxing Day hunt meet video showed a terrier mans quad bike illegally over loaded with men sitting on the rear mud guards, without a registration plate therefore not legal to be on road, untaxed, without insurance driving up the main high street past a police van with policeman watching and turning a blind eye.

This video has been shared across the internet to millions of people.

If a member of the public drove a bike in this manner they would be arrested immediately but hunts believe they are above the law.

example 2 : Police claim they haven’t got the funds to police illegal hunts but on 23rd December, Baronet Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland phoned police to falsely claim two members of the public where spraying acid around the area of a hunt he was organising. Clearly rattled after having his showpiece Christmas fox hunt ruined.

19 police cars turn up armed with pepper spray to threaten 2 members of the public (monitors).

These protestors were filming suspected illegal hunt activities and spraying citronella i.e. a herbal spray used to mask the smell of a fox (basically an air freshener).

What a complete disgrace and waste of tax payers money for police to over react in such an appalling way.

No arrests were made but clearly Baronet Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland should have been questioned for wasting police time and giving false information.

Do police think its their job to protect the over privileged but ignore calls from the public of illegal activities and assaults.


Hunting Act & loop holes


The “Hunting with Dogs Act 2004” came into force in February 2005.

although some people might say this is the worst written Act in UK history which is full of loop holes and basically allows hunts to carry on hunting.

Sadly this weak law is the only law that offers some protection to our wildlife.


Our current government support hunting and allow hunts to continue hunting due to failure to strengthen the hunting act.

Although …

what is actually needed is the Hunting Act to be amended & strengthened, loop holes closed and correctly policed.

A kill is a kill and should be without exceptions.


With 84% of the country against this barbaric hunting activity people have to question if our prime minister is totally out of touch with the pubic and is pandering to her hunting sponsors to secure votes.

In 2004 after public outrage regarding hunting, Tony Blair’s government brought this loop hole act in. Some people believe it was written to purposely include loop holes which allow hunts to carry on killing but also to pacify and con the public into believing that there was now a law to protect our wildlife.

Hunts claim they are not fox hunting … but … trail hunting.

Trail hunting is a false name made up by hunts to try and deceive people into thinking they are just following a trail.

The issue of hunting is toxic to any person who openly supports it.


Are MPs failing to protect our wildlife ?

The majority of MPs are against hunting and support the hunting ban not being scrapped (repelled).

although : Are they really just supporting an Act knowing it has so many loop holes thus allowing hunts to continue hunting.

Many people believe this loop hole weak Act was introduced just to pacify the public by Tony Blair’s government knowing full well it would not be policed, thus allowing hunts to continue to hunt while conning the public into believing hunting had been banned. There is growing concern that MP’s are sitting on the fence and failing to ensure our wildlife is protected by law.

Do MPs need to start listening to public opinion and finally vote to get the hunting ban strengthened and loop holes closed. Or are they just turning a blind eye pushing the cruelty that still continues to the back of their minds and ignoring 84% of the public who want a complete full ban.

The public spent years waited for a ban to be put into place and another 15 yrs being being mislead to believe hunting was banned.


The problem with the hunting act

There are a number of problems with the current Hunting Act which could be easy to resolve by strengthening of the Hunting Act.

· Lack of committed enforcement by some police forces.

· Exemptions & loop holes.

· Failing to Prosecution.

Despite video evidence showing hunts chasing foxes, the CPS & Judges now require evidence to prove a hunt was “intentionally” chasing an animal with dogs.

Can you imagine if all our other UK laws where based on intentional. example : Would murderers, rapists, thieves claim “oops” they didn’t mean to intentionally murder or steal something, it was an accident and get away with being prosecuted.

This to put it in simple terms is what has been happening with illegal hunting.


Intentional : Any hunt who sets out :

* With a pack of hounds trained to kill and follow a fox, deer, hare scent. (ie purposely setting out with killing tools (hounds) which have been trained to follow animal scent).

* In an area with known wildlife. (ie purposely seeking out victims).

* With little control over hounds. (ie knowingly that their hounds will chase an animal).

* with terrier men in tow. (ie with terriers ready to be put to ground seeking out hunted animals taking refuge.

* Illegally blocking roads to prevent themselves being filmed. (ie trying to cover up a crime).

We believe this shows intention enough to prosecute these hunts and they should not be allowed to use the excuse of an accident to avoid being prosecuted. The law should support this.


Hunts must clearly display they have control of their hounds and a reckless clause should be included into the Hunting Act to prevent accidents and lies.


Hunts have had 13yrs to retrain new hounds to follow a non fox based scent but have refused to do this.

Hunts must be held accountable by law for their hounds actions :-

  • Chasing and killing animals.
  • Trespassing on peoples private land.
  • Running riot on roads dodging between traffic.
  • On railway lines.
  • Recklessly out of control.
  • Killing domestic pets.
  • Spreading TB throughout the countryside.


So why aren’t more hunts being prosecuted ?

There have been hundreds of successful prosecutions proving many times that hunts continue to lie, flout and make a mockery of our laws.

But considering there are over 250 registered hunts in the UK (and many more unregistered hunts) who hunt on average twice a week, only a few hundred prosecutions have actually taken place.

In the 13 yrs of the (supposedly) hunting ban the number of prosecutions should be in the thousands but sadly hunts get away with it because the act is not enforced or policed.

There are thousands upon thousands of video evidence posted online of hunts doing their illegal activities which cannot be disputed.

But hunts claim “Oops” it was an accident and hounds will be hounds, we couldn’t call them off etc (i.e out of control) Hunts just laugh about it and say prove it in a court of law, because they know they will get away with it due to the failure of our government and legal system in protecting our wildlife.

This just proves one thing, hunts have no control over their hounds killing and running riot over roads, railway lines, trespassing on land and invading peoples gardens, killing domestic pets.


Hounds are basically dogs but strangely enough hunts are not expected to follow the UKs dog laws. They are allowed to drop their excrement all over the country spreading infections and diseases. Just recently a hunt had to have a large number of hounds destroyed which were infected with bTB.

Hunts are a huge biosecurity risk trampling around the countryside through farmers fields.

It also has to be questioned what classification do hounds now fall under. They can no longer be classed as a sporting dog as trail hunting is not a sport. It is highly questionable if the can be classed as a working dog as (so called) trail hunting is a leisure activity and part of a membership club.

Why are hunts getting away with it ?

In order to successfully prosecute a hunt, the C.P.S. (Crown Prosecution Services) requires “unrealistic obtainable evidence”.

i.e. the prosecution has to prove “Intent” all captured on video.

What the CPS requires : The C.P.S requires video evidence to show :-

  • An animal being chased by hounds
  • (plus) Being followed by hunt horses
  • (plus) With hounds being encouraged to actively chase
  • (plus) With proof of date
  • (plus) With proof of location
  • (plus) Showing identification of hunters.
  • (plus) All in one continuous stream of video with no breaks.

(which explains why hunts and their supporters get away with it and also go to great lengths to prevent themselves being filmed resorting to violence and attacks on any person trying to gain video evidence).

Now considering that police don’t actually get out in the fields to film, monitor or even investigate hunting, they expect the public to deliver this evidence to them … but … If the public try to do this they are arrested on some trumped up accusation usually trespass but later released.

The countryside has become lawless with police failing to uphold the law. Hunts have become “Above the Law” and more devious at hiding their illegal activity, locations of meets and dates, preventing their illegal activity being filmed. Also taking into consideration police failing to monitor hunts and the CPS ridiculous requirements.

I’m sure you can now understand why the number of successful prosecutions is low.

Enforcing the ban

The only people trying to ensure this (supposedly) hunting ban is being enforced are the public (sabs & monitors) doing the job the police are suppose to be doing.

Sabs and monitors are volunteer members of the public who are attacked on a regular basis, have threats and abuse thrown at them, families threatened if hunts discover who they are, vehicles damaged with no support from the law while they try to gain evidence of illegal hunting. All done for no personal gain except for the love of animals and to protect our wildlife.

Due to the threats from hunting thugs, the public (sabs & monitors) have to keep their faces covered to prevent being recognised which could result in their families being attacked by hunt supporters or their jobs being threatened.

(Please see the many video evidence in our gallery of the public (monitors) being attacked)


If hunts where hunting legally ?

If hunts where innocent and staying with in the law. Why do they have a problem being filmed ?. They like being filmed while parading around the town square but as soon as they get out in the country where they don’t like being filmed, then the illegal hunting & killing resumes. Why do they react so violently towards anyone trying to film them.


Hunts Lying

Some people might say : Hunts have become so use to lying, deceiving, conning the public, law, police etc, they now feel its their duty to do so.. and have made lying the normal because they feel they are protecting their right to kill regardless of it being against the law to massacre animals..

Hunts claim the fox population needs to be controlled. So why are hunts rearing foxes to hunt ?.



What is the public view on hunters ?

Some people might think : These hunting mafia bullies and their thug supporters are nothing more than over privileged, abusive tally ho yobs who feel it is their right to continue to massacre our wildlife just for the fun of killing because the law allows them to get away with it.

Hunts wrongly claim it is a class war.

We can clearly state, Its nothing to do with class, Its all about stopping our wildlife being massacred just for fun.


Fox, deer, hare hunting with dogs needs to be fully banned and the Hunting Act amended to strengthen and close all the loop holes.

There are alternative types of hunting to fox hunting :-

Drag Hunting (clean boot) : this follows a non fox based artificial trail ie a human runner will be used for the hounds to follow (no killing).

Trail scent : Non-animal based scents ie aniseed or chemical crystal mixed with water and oil.

Although some people think this still will leave loop holes for some hunts to abuse the law and carry on killing while no one was looking. It’s a shame that fox hunts have given drag hunts a bad name and there’s little trust left.

Mock hunting : This does not follow hounds and no killing. Allows hunts to still enjoy the freedom of galloping in the countryside over jumps but in a safer manner over a pre determined course that can be risk assessed. This would be less damaging to horses, allow the hunts to stay with-in health and safety regulations and encourage more people to get involved without any illegal implications.

Donation rides : This is an organised ride across country and over fences where the rides choose which fences they want to jump and at what pace they choose to finish course. Many hunts organise these to raise money. They do not involve hounds or following a scent. The course/ride is pre determined over the best safest riding country. Jumps can be checked for safety.

Strengthening the Ban

After 15 years in operation any law would benefit from a tightening and improvement, and the Hunting Act is not an exception. Although as a law the Hunting Act could be a very good law, the problem is that it has not been properly enforced, so we believe that amendments that improve enforcement are needed. In particular, we are calling for:

Strengthen Hunting Act

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