UK Hunting Rules

Excerpt from the  Code of Good HuntingThe Masters of Foxhounds Association.
www.mfha.co.uk

The stated objects of ISAH (the Independent Supervisory Authority of Hunting) in the UK include:

* To supervise and regulate the rules, codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures to which those engaged in hunting, coursing and terrier work should adhere;

* to supervise the organisations which govern the activities of those engaged in hunting, coursing and terrier work in the United Kingdom so as to ensure that such organisations enforce compliance with such rules and codes of conduct;

* to refer to the relevant organisation any complaints made to the Authority of breaches of such rules and codes or, if thought appropriate, to enquire into and report upon any such complaints; to review the findings of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by such organisations (whether or not resulting from a complaint referred by the Authority); and to recommend or direct such organisations as to the sanctions to be imposed for breaches of such rules or codes;

* to review and, if necessary, oversee the revision of such rules and codes of conduct having regard to any advances in scientific or other knowledge or as a result of any study referred to into the practices and activities of hunting, coursing and terrier work and their effects on animal welfare and the control, conservation and management of quarry species.


The code is written for everyone who goes hunting, be they Masters, huntsmen, officials of long standing or newcomers to hunting. It should be read regularly.For several hundred years hunting has been an integral and important part of the social and rural life in Great Britain. We are all aware of the political threats that now face it. In recent years propaganda by those opposed to hunting has led to misunderstanding and criticism. It is therefore the responsibility of all those who participate to promote our activities and explain and inform others about what we do and why we do it. 

Hunting is the natural and most humane method of managing and controlling foxes, hares, deer and mink in the countryside and as independent research shows it is often the method most favoured by farmers. The beneficial part it plays in the conservation of the countryside and in the rural economy is beyond doubt, which is also substantiated by independent research.

Everyone must be prepared to be held accountable for everything that they do throughout each hunting day. We need to be both aware of, and sensitive to, the fact that our activities are liable to be observed and judged by the public. Those who run and manage hunting are fully conscious that if it is to thrive, then the highest standards of best practice need to be understood and maintained by all followers.

The Hunts and Clubs of the Hunting Associations are regulated by strict and detailed rules, which their hunt officials must obey. The standard of behaviour of followers, whether on foot, in a car or on a horse has long been governed by an informal code. However, we must constantly strive to raise and implement standards of best practice. Therefore it is essential that we provide all hunt followers with a formal code, thereby satisfying the objectives of ISAH and improving public confidence in our activities. Follow it and hunting will be available for future generations.  


THREE GOLDEN RULES FOR ANYONE WHO GOES HUNTING

There are three golden rules at the heart of hunting's regulatory code:

* Hunting as a practice is the hunting of a wild animal in its wild and natural state with a pack of hounds. Nothing must be done which in any way compromises this concept.

* Hunting depends primarily on the goodwill of landholders and farmers. No one who goes hunting should do anything that might jeopardise this goodwill. It must be remembered that for most of a day's hunting you are a guest on someone else's land.

* Masters of Hounds (i.e. those in charge of the hunt), or their appointeddeputies, are solely responsible for the conduct of each day's hunting and are bound by the strict rules and

RESPONSIBILITIES FOR HUNT FOLLOWERS

All followers of hunting enjoy access to large areas of countryside not always available to others. This and hunting's high visibility make it crucial that followers conform with accepted standards of good behaviour.

This means that:
* they must appreciate that they are guests of those on whose land they ride or walk;* they are punctual at the meet (the gathering at the start of a hunting day) and their turnout is clean, tidy and most importantly safe. It is necessary that followers attend the meet as special instructions may be given about the conduct of the day's hunting 

INSTRUCTIONS TO HUNT FOLLOWERS

Hunt followers should ensure that:
* they make every effort to avoid causing damage to land, fences or crops. However, if there is damage it must be reported to an appropriate hunt official;

* they close all gates and avoid disturbance to livestock. Sometimes gates appear to be permanently open, but if in doubt close them;

* they do not ride or drive on mown verges, or ride several abreast through villages and along busy roads;

* they do not cause obstruction when parking vehicles, horseboxes or trailers at any time;

* they do not park on both sides of roads and so interrupt the flow of other traffic. Help and acknowledgement must be afforded to passing traffic. Remember every delayed motorist or lorry driver becomes a potential enemy of hunting;

* they do not park or drive on private land without the express permission of the landholder. 


The Hunts and Clubs of the Hunting Associations are regulated by strict and detailed rules, which their hunt officials must obey. The standard of behaviour of followers, whether on foot, in a car or on a horse has long been governed by an informal code. However, we must constantly strive to raise and implement standards of best practice therefore it is essential that we provide all hunt followers with a formal code, thereby satisfying the objectives of ISAH and improving public confidence in our activities. Follow it and hunting will be available for future generations 

In addition, hunt followers' behaviour may affect the management of the hunting day. Mounted followers will be managed and guided by the Field Master - mounted followers should remain in touch with him or her. Further, care must be taken not to impede the progress of the hunted animal. If it should come towards you remain quiet and still until it has passed by. Then you may holloa, or signal to the huntsman with your cap or handkerchief in the air, but appreciate that he and his hounds may be hunting another individual. 


Conditions specific to deer hunting 

Dispatching the Deer At the end of a hunt the deer will normally stand at bay - frequently this will be in water. It is the job of the hounds to keep the deer at bay until one of the official marksmen arrives and dispatches it humanely at close quarters. Due to the use of a firearm hunt followers must keep at a safe distance away.  


IN GENERAL

* All who follow hunting must be aware of other countryside users. People workat a wide variety of businesses in rural areas, and there is an increasing number of recreational and leisure users of the countryside. Other people's views must be taken into account and respected. Every effort must be made to avoid giving offence. Common courtesy is essential and must be granted to everyone - a simple "please" or "thank you" costs nothing.

* Every effort must be made to prevent hounds and followers from straying intoplaces where they are not welcome, or onto roads and railways.

* The wishes of all landholders, no matter how small, must be respected. Never do anything that would be detrimental to agricultural interests.

The aims of saboteurs are to disrupt hunting and provoke hunt followers. Confrontation with saboteurs must be avoided whenever possible and, in any event, followers must not retaliate whatever the provocation. Frequently saboteurs are breaking the law. You can help by recording details of vehicle registration numbers, taking photographic evidence, making identifications and listing times and places of incidents. Be prepared to make written notes and report incidents to an appropriate hunt official.

Finally there is only one organisation that promotes and defends all country pursuits and that is the Countryside Alliance. Everyone who wishes to continue to go hunting is duty bound to be a member
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