Boxing day is traditionally the day of the year when everyone and their granny go out into the countryside for a walk, trying to kid themselves that by doing that they can wholly justify the previous days calorie overload. Obviously Orgreave was over run when we arrived mid-morning, mostly with dog walkers going abut their own business. However, at the edge of the 'plains' I noticed a couple with an inordinate amount of dogs and moving in an all too familiar way. Clearly their business was hunting Hares! As they moved around the edges of the young plantations at least three Hares sprang free immediately pursued by two Lurchers whilst another two strained on the leash while their master broke into a trot. Too distant to photograph we moved to a position where I could get closer - the hunt was on. After scrambling to the top of the hill I came upon them less than a 100 yards away, sat the camera on the tripod and pointed it at them! Instantly they knew I was onto them as they gave me a friendly two-fingered wave.
Unperturbed we carried on pursuing them, keeping a good distance between us as they moved away their faces away turned from the camera.
Based on the fact that I had never seen them here before I guessed that they had probably come by car. We watched which direction they headed - they had now restrained the dogs and were just 'walking' them - and left for our car to get to where I suspected they had parked. When you've observed scum like this regularly you get a feel for how they behave and what kind of vehicles they use - always wrecks! Quickly taking the registrations of the likely vehicles just in time before they appeared at the exit. No surprises what vehicles they got into, as we drove innocently past them - RESULT. All details and photos have now been passed to the Police, I doubt there's enough evidence for a prosecution, but enough for a knock on the door from plod! A very exhilarating Boxing Day hunt, we also managed a Short-eared Owl, two Waxwings and an impressive 44 Whooper Swans heading low south east.
Rather worryingly if the law preventing hunting with dogs is repealed by the current Government this behaviour will become legally 'acceptable' though objectionable to the majority.
I took this photo back in November of a Hare that had clearly not been quick enough......