On Saturday 19th February the South Durham Hunt caused the death of a deer after hunting foxes in the area. In total there were three deer which ended up running across a busy road with one of the poor animals hit by a car and left to bleed out from horrific injuries. Witnessed by NE Hunt Monitors, the group explained how "To move the deer would have caused more pain and distress, a decision was made to call a fire arms unit to help end the deers suffering as her leg was badly broken and was bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. She lost a lot of blood which thankfully can’t be seen as the monitor flag we covered her eyes with was soaked.

A distressing time for us all and we know you will appreciate that in times like that it’s the people on the ground who have to make the decision on what’s best and we did try to call two emergency vets with no luck. Nobody what’s to have any animal shot but she was suffering and the decision we made we would make again to end any animals suffering. It’s hard on us too . We did our best to keep her comfortable for 30mins while awaiting the police and being targeted by passing hunt supporters."

You can read the full HIT report below - please show some love to this group by leaving a small donation to help them stay out on the frontline to protect wildlife paypal.me/huntmonitors & Ko-fi.com/huntmonitors

Image: NE Hunt Monitors

South Durham Hunt meet Dean Bridge, Chilton / Kirk Merrington.

After a tip of where the hunt were meeting we headed over to find horse boxes blocking an entrance to an HGV learning site on an industrial Estate much to the disgust of learner drivers returning to the compound.

The hound trailer could be seen in a field opposite the property the main hunt had parked in, hounds were left in the trailer as the field riders arrived, where they could have been let out to stretch their legs in the fenced area but NO, this hunt cares nothing for its hounds.

As the hunt and support were arriving Mark Baldwin A.K.A hunt lackey who was on foot the whole day (maybe due to his bad riding skills) and field master Rob Wilkinson approached a fence on the bottom of the field where they began to cut the barbwire along the fence line.

Not sure why there was a gate close by.  Did they have permission from the land owner to cause such damage? We think not.

Once mounted and the hounds were finally released from the packed trailer they proceeded to head for a derelict barn because we all know false trails are laid through derelict properties.

The monitor foot teams headed for a nearby wood through the fence gate which had been damaged and where many hunt support foot followers also headed. However the hounds were brought back to the road at the dismay of those on foot and taken across the road up through the industrial estate and into Durham County Council land.

Foot monitors followed behind but the large metal gate entrance into the wood was padlocked so they had to find a way of climbing to gain access.

With no speaking from the hounds the hunt then moved off in the direction of FerryHill and Kirk Merrington.

Both monitor vehicles got into a better position to watch them coming over the fields, Mark (no horse) Baldwin was watched as he took the hounds across the farmers field. Not sure how he had been given control of the pack but we all know he is useless at looking after hounds in the kennels let alone controlling them which he does with the over use of a whip as he doesn’t know how to use a horn, maybe a few lessons from the monitors is in order. This is the same cretin that whipped hounds in the face for no reason as he took them for a little walk along a track which was meant to be hound exercise. Such an angry little man who can’t control his expressions.

At this time the foot monitors who had entered a footpath at the back of houses spotted a fox heading toward the hounds. They watched and waited silently so the fox could make itself aware of the hounds ahead and once it did it turned and doubled back past them where its scent was covered as it ran back into woodland.

The hounds were then passed onto mounted huntsman John Brannen and taken to the woodland where they skirted around it before being called back to head toward the road at Kirk Merrington, they then crossed over into fox covert followed by the foot team.

One monitor vehicle stayed on the top road with support vehicles as the other headed for the bottom road to get a view of the hunt up on the hillside.

This is when hounds were sent into the cover and 3 deer were seen to flee, running across the field and up toward the top road.

Seconds later the driver of the 2nd vehicle reported via radio to say a deer had been hit, potentially by one of the hunt support who were leaving the area. They had left it in the road alone and struggling, our monitor needed assistance helping the deer. Our 1st car immediately took off and arrived to find our monitor driver sitting in the road with the badly injured deer, our main focus then became on the deer and making sure we would get help and police were called. A hit report of the incident will be posted later as we have quite a lot of footage and a lot to explain regarding this incident.  

The foot team following close behind Mark (whip as a weapon) Baldwin who had the hounds again on foot while the rest of the hunt were on point or surrounding the fox covert. Baldwin then got very irate at the monitors whilst filming us filming him, he was whipping a lot to get the attention of the hounds, literally every few seconds he whipped the ground and followed on with the whip behind him in the hope of hitting a monitor who was following close behind him.

As the monitors overtook him he then whipped the only female in the group on the legs from behind. Police have been notified and statements taken as her bruises are terrible.  The thing with “little man” Baldwin is that he targets a small female monitor and has to use a weapon to do it.

How pathetic, no wonder the hunt are looking to replace him at the end of the season.

Now with the deer sadly taken care of and free from suffering the 3 female monitors who had stayed with the poor thing were able to catch up with the rest of the team where all the emotions could be let and the tears flow after such an horrific experience.

Even so, we had a job to do and the hunt were still hunting foxes so we pulled ourselves together and went off to find them, which we did at Westerton. Although many of the field riders had packed up, probably with all the police presence in the area due to the deer, they were hunting in gorse bushes and disused mines, the foot team entered and followed as hounds were cast in the open area. The hunt not having much luck despite the weather conditions being perfect for hunting but not finding any scent called the hounds in to move off again.

They moved off toward Robbie Stephenson’s farm at Leasingthorne, the monitor cars moved off ahead of them to get into position as they always seem to get onto a fox in this area and today was no different.

All the hunt support cars and followed positioned on Windlestone Lane where the monitor foot team entered the small patch of boggy wood called the paddock. It was minutes later that the hounds picked up a scent, using the gizmo some of the hounds headed for the monitors while some remained in the wood. We knew there was a fox in there somewhere so the foot team stood still and waited for it to be flushed, it was then the hounds could be heard chasing in the bottom corner

by our drivers so the foot team was informed. Just as the foot team arrived at the corner, a fox jumped out of the cover right in front of 2 hounds, it flipped in the air and turned back into the cover where more of the pack were on its tail. We thought we were about to hear and witeness a kill but the two drivers seeing what happened then proceeded to blow the horn and use a gizmo on the one lane track in a desperate attempt to give the fox valuable time to get away. It got past the hounds and fled Into the lane and across the fields on the opposite side.

The foot team jumped in the vehicles and we took off round to the other side to hopefully help the fox which was still being chased, running down a track where allotments were located, the fox was seen looking exhausted but with no hounds following and with a sigh we knew they had lost it.

Letting the little one run past the area was sprayed and the the team exited as to not let the hunt know it had went that way.

It was now sundown and the hunt continued to pick up the scent for the terrified animal but with no luck, they eventually decided to end the day but not before Rob Wilkinson attempted to come through a gate the foot team had closed and instead of opening it he attempted to get his horse to jump the fence, same fence the barbwire had been cut from at the start of the meet. Galloping toward the fence his horse put the breaks on last minute and he was almost thrown over it’s head.

A little needed laugh at the end of a very long and upsetting but also positive day with 2 foxes saved and one being the closest to hounds we have ever witnessed in all the years we have been hitting this hunt.

It was now time to watch them pack the exhausted hounds up and time for the team to head home and let the days events sink in over a glass of wine.

As stated earlier we will be putting a post up on the horrible events involving the deer which is why we haven’t gone into detail on this HR.

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Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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