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11th January 2017

The £5 Money Shot – Making Evidence Of Illegal Hunting Count

Cheshire Forest Huntsman being questioned by police, 2nd January 2017. Photo credit: Cheshire Monitors

Did you hear about the bang-to-rights evidence of illegal hunting which the police and/or CPS weren’t interested in? Apparently it happens all the time…

It’s beyond doubt that there’s an institutional disinterest in Hunting Act cases and the authorities seek any excuse not to proceed with matters. In court, experience shows Defence teams seizing any opportunity to subvert evidence or witnesses against them. If you want your evidence to withstand close and vindictive scrutiny you need The Money Shot and, for fox sake, make it a £5er;

£1; The fox (hare, deer or mink) fleeing….

With no quarry in the frame, the Defense will argue that there is no chasing of a live animal. Establish the identity of the quarry species with your camera. You’ll need much more than film of fleeing quarry to get the offenders into court but without this you have nothing.

£2; …being chased by a pack of hounds….

A kill is not essential for an offence to be committed under the Hunting Act (2004). Chasing with dogs is illegal. Once evidence of the quarry has been secured, pan back to the hounds to show what they’re doing and how many are involved.

£3; …in view of the Huntsman or Whipper-In….

These days hounds are often allowed to range way ahead of the Huntsman. If quarry is found and chased then those responsible can claim to either not know or that it was an “accident”. Evidence which shows somebody in charge of the hounds was well able to view events makes it harder to cry “accident”.

£4; …who is not trying to stop them….

Film the behaviour of anyone at the scene including body gestures (such as pointing) and any use of horn and voice. “Accident” is far less plausible if hunt staff can be shown to have done nothing to stop the hounds. If hunt staff are filmed actively encouraging the chase (such as by cheering hounds on or doubling the horn), or by taking and acting upon information communicated to them by others then even better. This will show an intent to break the law which is hard to deny.

£5; …for a considerable time or distance.

It’s not possible to state what constitutes “considerable” but obviously the longer the chase goes on with nothing being done to stop it, the stronger the evidence of illegal hunting being an intentional thing.


When filming either Huntsman or Whipper-In take the earliest opportunity to zoom in as close as possible because identification is absolutely essential for proving who did what. Hunting Act cases will fail due to weak ident even if the actual illegal hunting is obvious. These days hunt staff often wear anonymous matching jackets and ride horses with similar colouring and features; tactics which conspire to make evidence gathering even more difficult. The smallest detail could be a clincher so be alert to capturing on film anything, anything, which could help with positive identification.

Other things: keep cameras running as long as possible; use GPS readings to verify time, date, location; don’t commentate or remonstrate whilst filming (bite your tongue if you have to – let your film do the talking); guard good evidence with your life until instructed otherwise by a professional person you trust.

The £5 Money Shot is intended to provide helpful guidance for property owners and individuals involved with law enforcement. It’s one of many wider conversations around the Hunting Act (2004). If  further debate and discussion about evidence gathering of illegal hunting is prompted then good. If anyone finds it useful, applies it in the field and succeeds in court then even better!

Recommended further research:

The Hunting Act, a website for enforcement professionals
Trail Of Lies Report by IFAW and explanation of the false alibi of ‘trail hunting’

© Joe Hashman
Founder, Hounds Off

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16 Comments | Leave a comment

  • J. Walker says:
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Whilst being familiar with what you write concerning gathering evidence, it is useful to get these points refreshed.
    I frequently meet with the comment, “I live in the countryside, so I have to remain neutral.” This translates as, I am afraid of the hunt, and dare not confront them.
    Thank you for your work. It is more valuable than you can realise.

    Reply to this comment >
    • Pam Thompson says:
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      I live in the countryside, keep fowl am a gobshite and I hate hunting which makes me unpopular with the local farmers but hey, a I bothered lol.
      The more arsey the farmers get, the more I react.

      Reply to this comment >
  • David Steed says:
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Hunting with dogs is supposedly illegal and what does our Police do about it? Drunk driving is illegal do the Police turn a blind eye to this practice?

    Reply to this comment >
  • Andy says:
    Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Has anybody ever tried to secure a conviction for hunting under joint enterprise, perhaps going after the whole hunt rather than one or two named individuals?

    Reply to this comment >
  • GF Pearson says:
    Posted January 15, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Yet, you can send a man to prison for murder, without so much as a hair of the apparent victim being present… ermmm!!!

    Reply to this comment >
  • Jackie barber says:
    Posted February 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Has anyone thought about the connection between hunting and the dangerous dogs act? Dogs used for ‘sporting’ purposes are not covered under the act, therefore suggesting that they can run dangerously out of control destroying property and pets/wildlife unimpeded. If pressure groups campaigned for ‘sporting’ dogs to be included, this would probably make hunting with dogs near on impossible and convictions easier to secure. Just a thought

    Reply to this comment >
    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted March 01, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Good idea Jackie. Have you raised this with the League Against Cruel Sports?

      Reply to this comment >
      • Jackie barber says:
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:24 pm

        Sorry for the very late reply. I have mentioned it many times to various organisations but none have taken the idea up!

        Reply to this comment >
    • Graham says:
      Posted September 24, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      I was wondering that myself Jackie.
      If a dog savages another dog or a child, it is almost always an accident but the courts don’t accept this as a viable excuse.

      Reply to this comment >
  • Jan Pat says:
    Posted October 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Dog fighting is illegal, so why is this allowed to go on? This is worse than dog fighting 20/30 dogs on to one tiny Fox? time for justice for the Fox.

    Reply to this comment >
  • Charlotte Young says:
    Posted January 21, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    At the very least, it should be mandatory that terrier men are not required for trail hunting, therefore their presence should be equivalent to say, being convicted for growing marijuana when the evidence found is only the remains of a crop having been grown. ( I do not grow marijuana but feel it makes a good comparison). The presence of terrier men should be a reasonable cause to stop a hunt just like I would be stopped if I went through a red light.

    Reply to this comment >
  • Neil Ar,mstrong says:
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Excellent information very informative.
    The Sabs/Monitors should have a printed copy of this in each vehicle.

    Reply to this comment >
  • John Dunn says:
    Posted April 15, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    The Hunting Act 2004 is an awful piece of legislation. It is nearly impossible to get a conviction even with damning video evidence. The hunt will simply claim that the chase was accidental.

    However, the Road Traffic Act is a fairly tight piece of legislation and virtually every time you see and video a (hunt) quad bike, on the road, it is committing an offence with quite substantial penalties.
    99% of hunt quad bikes are registered as Light Agricultural Vehicles.

    (1) They can only travel a maximum of 1.5km. on the road and remain within the farm or piece of land where they are working.

    (2) They are not allowed to carry passengers because they can only legally have one seat.

    (3) When on the public highway (including green lanes) they must carry number plates front and rear.

    (4) They must never have obscured number plates.

    (5) The Dept for Transport have said that they can only be registered as they are at the moment, if they are being used exclusively for agriculture, horticulture or forestry. Trail hunting is a sport and therefore not covered.

    Imagine a hunt without quad bikes and the terrier men! No stopping up, no aggravation and best of all, no smell.

    If you see a quad bike doing any of the above, get video evidence and dial 101. I know it’s a pain but if we all did it we could rid the hunts of terrier men and also provide them with a large fines bill.

    Reply to this comment >
  • Sarah winslade says:
    Posted January 03, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    I would like to see some of them get breath tested too as they love a good drink at the meet and that includes quad bike drivers and thier followers. All on public roads. Perhaps someone could take pictures at the meet and watch them drive their 4x4s . That would put one up them lol

    Reply to this comment >
  • David Lomax says:
    Posted January 06, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Why are the hounds used in ‘Trail’ hunts not muzzled? That would stop accidental killing of wildlife, pets etc.

    Reply to this comment >
    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      The answer is not to muzzle hounds. The answer is to stop the false alibi of so-called ‘trailhunting’. On a practical level (and we are not advocating this, do not misunderstand) hunting with muzzled dogs could be injurious to them as muzzles might get caught or snagged in thick undergrowth etc.
      The muzzling conversation is a distraction from the fact that trailhunting does not exist. It is a false alibi used as a cover for illegal hunting.
      Muzzling is not the answer. Muzzled greyhounds still pummel and kill hares in Irish coursing. Muzzles can come off too.
      Imagine the scene where a pack of muzzled hounds have pinned an exhausted hare, fox or stag…

      Reply to this comment >

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