The Hunting Act

fox cub and police helment

The Hunting Act 2004 came into force in February 2005 which controlled the hunting of wild mammals with dogs and prohibited hare coursing. It was stated in the High Court Judgment of February 2009 that the statutory aim of the Hunting Act “is to prevent or reduce unnecessary suffering to wild mammals” and that “causing suffering to animal for sport is unethical and should, so far as practicable and proportionate, be stopped”. The Hunting Act is not an absolute ban on the hunting of wild mammals with dogs and some hunting is permitted under the Act. The High Court Judgment stated that it “recognised the need to …control wild mammals which farmers and others are entitled to regard as pests”. There are several classes of permitted or exempt hunting which are listed under Schedule 1. However, each type of exempt hunting has a number of conditions which must be adhered to if the hunting is to be lawful.

This section aims to explain what activities are illegal under the Hunting Act and what points need to be proved in order to substantiate claims that an offence took place. It also provides advice to investigators, including questions that will assist with an investigation. This section should be used in conjunction with the Hunting Act 2004.

Part 1: The Hunting Act

Section 1 – Hunting Wild Mammals with Dogs

S.1 – A person commits an offence if he hunts a wild mammal with a dog unless his hunting is exempt

In this Act a wild mammal includes:

– A wild mammal which has been bred or tamed for any purpose
– A wild mammal which is captivity or confinement
– A wild mammal which has escaped or been released from captivity or confinement
– Any mammal which is living wild

Under the Act a reference to a person hunting a wild mammal with a dog includes, in particular, any case where a person engages or participates in the pursuit of a wild mammal and one or more dogs are employed in that pursuit (whether or not by him and whether or not under his control or direction).

The offence of hunting a wild mammal with one or more dogs includes not only the person directing or in control of the dogs but can include others involved with the hunting who are not actually controlling or directing the dogs. This could include, for example, the whipper-in whose role is to assist the huntsman; and hunt supporters who signal the presence of a wild mammal to the huntsman, as they are also engaging and participating in the pursuit.

The term “hunting” should not be understood in its ordinary English meaning, which includes searching for a wild mammal, as well as chasing or pursuing it with the intention of catching or killing it. The High Court Judgment of February 2009 stated that mere searching is not hunting. However, once a wild mammal has been found the searching becomes hunting.

The High Court Judgment also stated that hunting is an intentional activity; the accidental or inadvertent hunting of a wild mammal with one or more dogs is not an offence under the Act. To prove an offence of illegal hunting it would be necessary to prove that the defendant engaged and participated in the hunting and that the hunting was intentional.

Points to Prove

The following elements are needed to prove an offence of illegal hunting:

– That a wild mammal was pursued by one or more dogs. In practice it will be necessary to show that a wild mammal was present to prove this, unless other compelling evidence is available such as an admission. Note that it is not necessary for the wild mammal to have been killed.

– That the defendant was engaging or participating in that pursuit and that the pursuit of the wild mammal was intentional.

Advice to investigators

As a defence hunters may claim that they were engaged in ‘trail hunting’ (see section on Trail Hunting). Trail hunting did not exist before the Hunting Act 2004 and is a new activity which involves a pack of hounds following an artificially laid, but animal based scent. Hunts claim that they are trying to replicate pre-ban hunting as closely as possible and so the scent is laid in such a way as to mimic live quarry hunting. Many did not want to convert to drag hunting as they wanted their dogs to retain the scenting ability for wild quarry in the hope that the Hunting Act would be repealed.

Those investigating alleged reports of illegal hunting need to consider whether genuine trail hunting is taking place or whether this activity is being used as a guise for illegal activities. The following points should be considered (though please note this list is not exhaustive):

Laying a trail – Was a trail seen to be laid? Was there any trail laying equipment at the scene? Did the hounds show any interest in the trail if one was seen being laid? Could a trail have been laid through the area where the alleged offence took place, for example, were the hounds following a scent through very dense undergrowth? Did the hounds follow a scent over an area where a trail would unlikely to have been laid, such as across a busy road, railway track or across land where the hunt was not permitted to be?

Pursuit of a wild mammal – Was a wild mammal pursued by hounds? If so, was there any evidence that the hounds were called off or evidence of serious attempts to call the hounds off? Was there evidence that the hounds were encouraged to pursue the wild mammal, namely by the use of horn and/or voice calls? Was there any evidence that anyone from the hunt signalled the presence of a wild mammal to the huntsman (this would be done via a shout or “holloa” and/or by raising an arm or cap in the air – See Voice Commands for more information)? Were the hounds subsequently taken to the area where the wild mammal was indicated?

Terrier men – In traditional fox hunting one or more terrier men were employed by the hunt to deal with foxes that had sought refuge underground (“gone to ground”). Terrier men are still permitted to use a dog below ground but only to prevent or reduce serious damage to game birds or wild birds kept for shooting (See the Use of a dog below ground to protect birds for shooting below). Terrier men have no role during a genuine trail hunt.

Was there evidence of terrier men following the hunt? Was there evidence of any terrier work taking place or a dig out during the progress of the hunt? Terrier men will have terriers with them as well as equipment such as spades and nets. They often follow the hunt on quad bikes.

Badger setts or fox earths blocked – Was there evidence of freshly blocked fox earths or badger setts in the area where the hunting took place? There is no reason for fox earths and badger setts to be blocked if a genuine trail hunt is taking place. In traditional fox hunting the fox earths and badger setts in the area to be hunted were blocked up to prevent the fox from going to ground. Before the Hunting Act came into force fox hunts were permitted under the Protection of Badger Act 1992 section 8 (4) to (9) to block badger setts, however this section has now been repealed since the passing of the Hunting Act and hunts are no longer permitted to block up badger setts.

Searching – Was there evidence of the hunt searching through areas where the hunt’s traditional live quarry is likely to be found, such as hedgerows, reed beds, gorse and woods?

‘Accidents’ – Hunts claim that any pursuits and kills of wild mammals which take place during the progress of the hunt are accidents. Does the hunt have a history of repeated accidents? Has the hunt switched to a non-animal based scent to avoid the likelihood of this happening? Has the hunt taken measures to avoid coming into contact with the type of wild mammal they used to hunt, such as ensuring they do not search through areas where their traditional quarry is likely to be found?

Section 2 – Exempt Hunting

S.2 – Hunting is exempt if it is within a class specified in Schedule 1

For points to prove and points to consider when carrying out an investigation in relation to cases where the defence claim their hunting is exempt see Part 2.

Section 3 – Hunting Assistance

S.3(1) -A person commits an offence if he knowingly permits land which belongs to him to be entered or used in the course of the commission of an offence under Section 1.

For the purposes of the Act land belongs to a person if he:

– Owns an interest in it
– Manages or controls it
– Occupies it

S.3(2) A person commits an offence if he knowingly permits a dog which belongs to him to be used in the course of the commission of an offence under section 1

S.3(2) – It is an offence for a person, knowingly, to permit a dog that belongs to him to be used for hunting unless the hunting is exempt

For the purposes of the Act a dog belongs to a person if he:

– Owns it
– Is in charge of it
– Has control of it

Section 4 – Hunting Defence

S.4 – It is an defence for a person charged with an offence under section 1 in respect of hunting to show that he reasonably believed that the hunting was exempt.

Any defendant who relies on the Section 4 “reasonable belief” defence and seeks to establish that he falls within one of the exemptions under schedule 1 should call evidence to substantiate that claim. The burden is then on the prosecution to prove that the hunting was not exempt. If the defendant did not mention in interview the matters on which he relies at trial, he will be at risk of an adverse inference (Criminal Justice and Public order Act 1994).

Section 5 – Hare Coursing

S.5(1) A person commits an offence if he:

Participates, attends, knowingly participates in a hare coursing event or permits land which belongs to him to be used for the purpose of a hare coursing event.

A hare coursing event is a competition in which dogs are, by use of live hares, assessed as to skill in hunting hares.

NB: Hare coursing is illegal regardless of whether the coursing is undertaken as part of a large organised event with the landowners permission or undertaken by groups of “lads with dogs” and involving trespass. ALL hare coursing is illegal under the Hunting Act.

S.5 (2) Each of the following persons commits an offence if a dog participates in a hare coursing event:

Any person who enters the dog for the event, permits the dog to be entered or who controls or handles the dog in the course of or for the purpose of the event.

Points to Prove

The following elements are needed to prove an offence of illegal hunting:

– That a competition took place in which dogs were assessed as to their hunting skills by the use of live hares
– That the defendant participated in, attended or knowingly facilitated the event, and/or
– Permitted land that belonged to him to be used for the event and/or

– The defendant entered a dog and/or permitted one be entered in a hare coursing event and/or controlled or handled the dog in the course of or for the purposes of the event.

Advice to Investigators

Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares by two dogs, predominantly greyhounds. The dogs are released from leads by a man called a ‘slipper’ to chase the hare, and judges assess their skill in making the hare ‘turn’ as it flees.

Those investigating alleged reports of organised hare coursing need to consider whether the activities resemble pre-ban hunting. The following points should be considered (though please note this list is not exhaustive):

Shy – Was a shy erected? A shy is a structure which hides the ‘slipper’ from the hare as it is urged forward into the field.

Beaters – Were there ‘beaters’ present? Beaters are people on foot carrying white flags on sticks or other objects designed to scare the hare, who form three sides of a box and drive wild hares towards the coursing field.

Greyhounds – Were there greyhounds present or a similar breed traditionally bred for the purpose of hare coursing?

Slipper – Was there a person stood in the shy with two dogs on a slip lead? Did he release the dogs after the hare had run past the shy?

Spectators – Were there spectators watching the event?

Judges – Was there one or more judges who were assessing the skill of the grey hounds in coursing the hare?

NB that hare coursing is not a field trialling activity. Please see the Stalking and flushing out exemption in Schedule 1 for further information on field trials.

Section 6 – Penalty

The penalty for committing an offence under this Act is a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

This is a summary offence and is therefore subject to a six month statutory period by when a decision must be made on whether to charge or summon the defendant.

Section 7 – Power of Arrest

S.7 – A constable, without warrant, may arrest a person whom he reasonably suspects to have committed, or be committing or about to commit an offence under S.1 or S.5(1)(a), (b) or (c)

Repealed by Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005. Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 applies.

Section 8 – Search & Seizure

S.8(1),(2), and (3) – Where a constable reasonably suspects that a person is committing or has committed an offence under Sections 1, 3 or 5 he may stop and search that person if he reasonably believes evidence of the offence is likely to be found on him. In addition, the constable may also stop and search any vehicle, animal or other thing which that person appears to be in possession or control of.

S.8(4) – A constable may seize and detain a vehicle, animal or other thing if he reasonably believes that it may be used as evidence in criminal proceedings for offences under Sections 1, 3 or 5, or may be made subject of an order under Section 9

S.8(5) – For the purposes of exercising a power under Section 8 a constable may enter land, premises other than a dwelling, or a vehicle without a warrant

Section 9 – Forfeiture

S.9(1) – A court which convicts a person under Part 1 may order the forfeiture of any dog or hunting article which was used in the commission of the offence, or was in the possession of the person at the time of his arrest

S.9(2) – A court which convicts a person under Part 1 may order the forfeiture of any vehicle which was used in the commission of the offence

S.9(3) – Hunting article means anything designed or adapted for use in connection with hunting a wild mammal or hare coursing

Section 10 – Offence by Body Corporate

S.10(1) and (2) – Where an offence is committed by a body corporate with the consent or connivance of an officer of the body the officer, as well as the body, shall be guilty of an offence

S.10(3) – An officer of a body corporate includes: a director, manager or secretary; or a person purporting to act as such, and, if the affairs of the body are managed by its members, a member.

Advice to investigators

It is advisable to check whether a hunt is a corporate body. One way this can be done is by looking at their constitution.

In order for a prosecution to succeed, it would be necessary to show that an officer of the company consented or connived in the commission of the offence. The knowledge would have to be proved in relation to a company, or a person acting on behalf of a company, in the same way as it would in relation to an individual.

Connivance requires an active knowledge and some other act to show that there was implicit consent to use the land or someone’s dogs. Connivance is about an offence for which knowledge plus something else is required.

Schedule 1: Exempt Hunting

Stalking and flushing out

Stalking and flushing to hounds is lawful provided ALL the following conditions apply:

Condition 1

The first condition is that the stalking and flushing out is undertaken for the purpose of:

a) Preventing or reducing serious damage to:

– Livestock,
– Game or wild birds (as defined by S.27 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981),
– Food for livestock,
– Crops,
– Growing timber,
– Fisheries,
– Other property, or
– The biological diversity of an area,

b) Obtaining meat to be used for human or animal consumption, or

c) Participation in a field trial.

A field trial is a competition other than hare coursing in which dogs:

– Flush animals out of cover or retrieve animals that have been shot(or both), and

– Are assessed as to their likely usefulness in connection with shooting.

Dogs traditionally used in field trials include pointers and retrievers.

Condition 2

The stalking or flushing out takes place on land that:

– Belongs to the hunter, or

– He has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

Condition 3

The stalking or flushing out does not involve the use of more than two dogs.

Condition 4

The stalking or flushing out does not involve the use of a dog below ground otherwise than in accordance with paragraph 2 below (see Use of a dog below ground to protect birds for shooting).

Condition 5

Reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that as soon as possible after being found or flushed out the wild mammal is shot dead by a competent person and, in particular, that each dog used is kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that it does not prevent or obstruct the achievement of this.

NB: The guns must be positioned so that the wild mammal can be shot dead as soon as possible after being found or flushed form cover. The dogs must not continue to pursue the wild mammal once it has left cover or has been found.

If any of these five conditions are not satisfied the exemption cannot be claimed so the hunting will be illegal.

Advice to Investigators

If hunters claim they are hunting under an exemption the following points should be considered (though please note this list is not exhaustive):

Pursuit – Was the animal pursued after it was flushed from cover or found? Was there a long pursuit? Was it possible for the animal to escape from cover? For example, traditional cub hunting activities includes preventing foxes from escaping from cover.

Dogs – Were more than two dogs being used? Was/were the dog/s under close control?

Guns – Were there sufficient/any guns present and positioned to ensure that the wild mammal was shot as soon as possible? Were suitable firearms deployed?

Purpose of the event – Is it possible to demonstrate that the purpose of the event was pest control? Was there evidence that the primary purpose of the hunting was for sport and recreation? Was the hunt advertised? If so, how far in advance was the hunt advertised? Generally hunt meets are arranged weeks or months in advance which would suggest that the primary purpose of the hunting was not pest control.

Use of dogs below ground to protect birds for shooting

This also known as the Gamekeepers’ exemption. A dog may be used below ground in the course of stalking or flushing out for this purpose provided all of the following conditions are satisfied:

Condition 1

The stalking or flushing out is carried for the purpose of preventing or reducing serious damage to game birds or wild birds (as defined by S.27 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) that are being kept or preserved for shooting.

NB: The use of a dog below ground is not permitted for general pest control purposes. In addition this exemption should only be used to prevent or reduce serious damage to game birds or wild birds kept for shooting.

Condition 2

The person doing the stalking or flushing out has with him written evidence:

– That the land belongs to him, or

– That he has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner, and

– He must make the evidence immediately available for inspection by a constable who asks to see it.

Condition 3

Only one dog is used underground at any one time.

Condition 4

– Reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the wild mammal is flushed out from below ground as soon as possible after being found,

– Reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the wild mammal is shot dead by a competent person as soon as possible after being flushed out from below ground,

– In particular, the dog is brought under sufficiently close control to ensure that it does not prevent or obstruct the mammal being shot as soon as possible,

– Reasonable steps are taken to prevent injury to the dog, and

– The manner in which the dog is used complies with any code of practice issued or approved by the Secretary of State (see the BASC Code of Conduct for the Use of a Dog Below Ground).

NB: The wild mammal must not be pursued once it has been flushed out from below ground either by the dog that flushed it out or any other dog(s).

If any of these four conditions are not satisfied the exemption cannot be claimed so the hunting will be illegal.

Advice to Investigators

Other hunting activity –Was the use of a dog below ground taking place in conjunction with an alleged trail hunt or any other exempt hunting activity?

Pursuit – Was the wild mammal pursued by the dog or any other dog(s) after it was flushed from below ground?

Dogs – Was there more than one dog being used below ground at any one time? Was the dog under close control? Was there evidence that the dog had fought the wild mammal, for example does the dog have fresh injuries or was the dog witnessed to have “ragged” the live mammal? Only a “soft” terrier (it is normally terriers that are used underground) which habitually stands back and barks at the wild mammal must be used. Terriers that are “hard”, that is those which habitually fight with the wild mammal must not be used. See the BASC Code of Practice for the Use of a Dog Below Ground.

Guns – Were any/sufficient firearms present and in readiness to shoot the wild mammal once it had be flushed out from below ground?

Badger sett – Was a badger sett in current use interfered with in any way during the course of the hunting activity?

Purpose of the event – Is it possible to demonstrate that the purpose of the hunting was to prevent or reduce serious damage to game birds or wild birds being kept/preserved for shooting? The use of a dog below ground is not permitted for general pest control purposes.

Rats

The hunting of rats is exempt provided it takes place on land that:

– Belongs to the hunter, or

– He has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

NB: There is no limitation on the number of dogs that can be used.

Advice to Investigators

If a hunter claims to be using this exemption then the following points should be considered:

Type of hunting activity – Was there evidence that the hunted wild mammal was a rat? Was there evidence that any other (non-exempt) wild mammal was hunted? Did the hunting resemble any pre-ban hunting activities?

Pursuit – If any other wild mammal, which is not exempt, was pursued was there any evidence that the dogs were called off? Was there evidence that the dogs were encouraged to hunt the wild mammal, for example with the use of horn and/or voice calls?

Rabbits

The hunting of rabbits is exempt provided it takes place on land that:

– Belongs to the hunter, or

– He has been given permission by the occupier, or in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

NB: There is no limitation on the number of dogs that can be used.

Advice to Investigators

If a hunter claims to be using this exemption then the following points should be considered:

Type of hunting activity – Was there evidence that the hunted wild mammal was a rabbit? Was there evidence that any other (non-exempt) wild mammal was hunted? Does the pattern of hunting resemble that of traditional live quarry hunting, for example hares run for extended in open fields whereas rabbits tend to make short dashes to their warrens?

Pursuit – If any other (non-exempt) wild mammal was pursued was there evidence that the dogs were called off? Were the dogs encouraged to hunt the wild mammal, for example by the use of horn and/or voice calls?

Retrieval of hares

The hunting of a hare that has been shot is exempt provided that it takes place on land that:

– Belongs to the hunter, or

– He has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

NB: There is no limitation on the number of dogs that can be used.

Advice to Investigators

If a hunter claims to be using this exemption then the following points should be considered:

Type of hunting activity – Was there evidence that the hunted hare had been shot or did the hare appear to have been uninjured? Was there evidence that any other (non-exempt) wild mammal was being hunted?

Pursuit – If an apparently uninjured hare was pursued was there evidence that the dogs were called off? Were they encouraged to hunt the uninjured hare? Were any other (non-exempt) wild mammals pursued by dogs and called off? Were they encouraged to hunt the wild mammal, for example by the use of horn and/or voice calls?

Falconry

The flushing of a wild mammal from cover is exempt hunting provided:

– It is undertaken for the purpose of enabling a bird of prey to hunt the wild mammal, and

– It takes place on land that belongs to the hunter or he has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

NB: There is no limitation on the number of dogs that can be used.

Advice to Investigators

If a hunter claims to be using this exemption then the following points should be considered:

Type of bird used – Was the type of bird used capable of hunting the target animal?

Use of the bird of prey – Was the bird positioned where it could hunt the wild mammal once it had been flushed? Was the bird in a state of readiness to fly once the wild mammal had been flushed, for example was the bird still in its box or on the handlers arm still wearing its hood? Was the bird released when the wild mammal had been flushed from cover?

Pursuit – Did the pursuit of the wild mammal by the dogs continue once it had left cover? If so, were the dogs called off? Were the dogs encouraged to the pursue the wild mammal?

NB: It is important to ensure that the bird is kept in conditions that are in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Recapture of a wild mammal

The hunting of a wild mammal that has escaped or been released from captivity or confinement is exempt if the following conditions are satisfied:

Condition 1

The hunting takes place:

– On land that belongs to the hunter,

– On land which the hunter has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner, or

– With the authority of a constable.

Condition 2

Reasonable steps are taken for the purpose of ensuring that as soon as possible after being found the wild mammal is recaptured or shot dead by a competent person, and in particular, each dog used is kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that it does not prevent or obstruct this.

Condition 3

The wild mammal:

– Was not released for the purpose of being hunted, and
– Was not permitted to escape for this purpose.

NB: There is no limitation to the number of dogs that may be used.

If any of these three conditions were not satisfied the exemption cannot be claimed and the hunting will be illegal.

Advice to Investigators

If a hunter claims to be using this exemption the following points should be considered:

Pursuit – Was the animal pursued after it was found? Was there a long pursuit?

Dogs – Were the dogs under close control?

Guns – Were there sufficient/any guns present and positioned to ensure that the wild mammal could be shot as soon as possible after being found? Were suitable firearms used?

Purpose of the event – Was there any evidence that the wild mammal had escaped? Was there evidence that the wild mammal was captured? Was there evidence that the primary purpose of the hunting was for sport and recreation? was the hunt advertised? If so, how far in advance was the hunt advertised? If the hunt was advertised some time in advance it would unlikely that the purpose of the hunting was to recapture the wild mammal?

Terrier men – Were there terrier men present? Was any terrier work carried out? Terrier work is only permitted to prevent or reduce serious damage to birds kept for shooting and has no role in the recapturing of a wild mammal. The presence of terrier would suggest that traditional hunting was taking place.

Rescue of a wild mammal

Hunting for the purpose of rescuing a wild mammal is exempt if the following conditions are satisfied:

Condition 1

The hunter reasonably believes that the wild mammal is or may be injured.

Condition 2

The hunting is carried out for the purpose of relieving the wild mammal’s suffering.

Condition 3

The hunting does not involve the use of more than two dogs.

Condition 4

The hunting does not involve the use of a dog below ground.

Condition 5

The hunting takes place on land that:

– Belongs to the hunter, or

– He has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

Condition 6

Reasonable steps are taken for the purpose of ensuring that as soon as possible after the wild mammal is found appropriate action (if any) is taken to relieve its suffering, and in particular, each dog used is kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that it does not prevent or obstruct this.

Condition 7

The wild mammal was not harmed for the purpose of enabling it to be hunted under this paragraph.

If any of these seven conditions are not satisfied the exemption cannot be claimed so the hunting will be illegal.

Advice to Investigators

If a hunter claims to be hunting under this exemption the following points should be considered:

Pursuit – Was the animal pursued after it was found? Was there a long pursuit?

Dogs – Were more than two dogs used? Was/were the dog/s under close control?

Guns – Were there sufficient/any guns present and positioned to ensure that the wild mammal could be shot as soon as possible after being found? Was a suitable firearm used?

Purpose of the event – Was there evidence that the wild mammal was injured? Was there evidence that the primary purpose of the hunting was for sport and recreation? Was the hunt advertised and if so how far in advance? If the hunt was advertised some time in advance of the hunting it is unlikely that the purpose was to rescue a wild mammal and relieve it’s suffering.

Terrier men – Were there terrier men present? Was any terrier work witnessed? The use of a dog below ground is not permitted. The presence of terrier men would suggest that traditional hunting was taking place.

Research and observation

The hunting of a wild mammal for research or observation is exempt if the following conditions are satisfied:

Condition 1

The hunting is undertaken for the purpose of or in connection with the observation or study of the wild mammal.

Condition 2

The hunting does not involve the use of more than two dogs.

Condition 3

The hunting does not involve the use of a dog below ground.

Condition 4

The hunting takes place on land that:

– Belongs to the hunter, or

– He has been given permission by the occupier or, in the case of unoccupied land, by the landowner.

Condition 5

Each dog used is kept under sufficiently close control to ensure it does not injure the wild mammal.

If any of these four conditions are not satisfied the exemption cannot be claimed so the hunting will be illegal.

Advice to Investigators

If hunter claims they are hunting under an exemption the following points should be considered:

Dogs – Were more than two dogs used? Was/were the dog/s under close control?

Purpose of the event – Was there evidence of a research project being carried out at the time? Was there evidence that the primary purpose of the event for sport and recreation? Were traditional hunting practices carried out?

Terrier men – Were there terrier men present? Was any terrier work witnessed? The use of a dog below below ground is not permitted under this exemption. The presence of terrier men would suggest that traditional hunting was taking place.

Consequential amendments

The following amendments to other enactments have been made:

Game Act 1831

In S. 35 of the Game Act 1831 the provision allowing trespass has been amended such that the words “to any person hunting or coursing upon any lands with hounds or greyhounds, and being in fresh pursuit of any deer, hare or fox already started upon any other land, nor” cease to have effect.

Game Licences Act 1860

S. 5 exceptions 3 and 4 (hares and deer) cease to have effect.

Protection of Animals Act 1911

In S. 1(3)(b) (offences of cruelty) a reference to hare coursing or hunting does not now include reference to

• Participation in a hare coursing event, or
• The coursing or hunting of a wild mammal with a dog.

Protection of Badgers Act 1992

S. 8(4) to (9), the exemption allowing badger setts to be blocked in the course of fox hunting, ceases to have effect.

Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996

S.2 the hunting of a wild mammal with a dog is now only lawful if and only if it is exempt hunting.