Advice to Hunts during Coronavirus (Covid-19) Outbreak - updated 20th October 2020

The Hunting Office’ priority is to continue to provide support and advice for hunts and their members during this ever evolving Covid-19 crisis, especially with updates on Government guidance and schemes. We will continue to provide the necessary administrative service, care and support for all hunts, hunt staff and hunt officials.

The Hunting Office is monitoring the Government advice and will update guidance to hunts as applicable or if any changes occur that affect the running of Hunts, Hunt Kennels or Hunt Stables.

The Hunting Office urges all Hunts, their Members and Staff, to continue to follow the Governments Guidance and Restrictions regarding Coronavirus (especially with respect to Washing Hands, Social Distancing and Self-Isolation).

Hound and Horse welfare is of critical importance, and we therefore advise that those required in the day to day care of the Hounds and Horses should prioritise work as necessary so standards of care are maintained, whilst still following the Government advice on social distancing, self-isolation and regularly washing hands.

Update of Restrictions and the start of Autumn Hunting (Full Guidance can be found in the Health and Safety Section of the Members Area)

(Updated 20th October 2020)

The Hunting Office has had extensive discussions around the resumption of hunting activities and has researched and prepared plans for the safe and responsible operations of hunting activities. Full papers, considering the conduct, assessing the risks, and advising on mitigation strategies have been issued to all hunts over the last few weeks.

The activities within the hunting community are at a significantly lower risk due to the nature of the activities themselves and the locations at which they take place - outdoors and in rural locations where the incidence of Covid-19 is lower. Due to the nature of riding horses in groups, those members who are mounted have historically always been aware and respectful of keeping a safe distance from other horses and riders, and therefore do so inherently.

The Hunting Office advice has considered all aspects of the hunting activities - it advises on the mitigations which should be implemented. It considers the practicalities associated with hunting, the number of people out and the limitations that should be employed. It reiterates the requirement for authority and leadership and the need for hunt officials to enforce the protocols and keep records to support the Government Track and Trace system.

Hunts have been advised to show leadership to their followers and ensure that they only start activities if they can do so safely, in a sociably responsible manner, and can adhere to the Government guidance and the protocols set out by the Hunting Office.

As always, hunt staff, members and followers will behave with courtesy, respect and good manners towards members of the public and other road users, especially now with regard to social distancing at this time of uniquely heightened public sensitivities. The Hunting Community will remain sensitive and respectful to all local communities and the overall feeling of caution as lockdown is easing.

Numbers in attendance is stipulated by the current Government guidance on numbers meeting outside, however we remain confident that due to the very nature of hunting activities (their occurrence outdoors in rural open spaces and the continuous movement of followers across an open piece of country) the risks are significantly low even with larger numbers of participants.

In line with the Government advice for Providers of grassroots leisure activities, and the Government advice on Staying alert and safe, the Hunting Office has issued guidance to hunts regarding organising activities for larger groups of people. Hunting activities for larger groups will be organised in accordance with the Covid-19 Secure Guidance which will include the completion of a risk assessment, and all reasonable steps will be taken to mitigate the risk of transmission.

Exemptions from “Rule of 6”

In light of the recent announcements by the Government regarding social gatherings of more than 6 people, the Hunting Office has re-examined the guidance about Hunting activities and how they operate. The Government have stated that social gatherings of more than 6 people will be against the law from Monday 14th September, however organised activities that have received guidance from their Governing Bodies and have protocols in place are able to continue.

Autumn Hunting is an organised outdoor activity and Hunts are operating within Covid-Secure Guidelines. All Hunts have been issued with advice and guidance from the Hunting Office on how to operate in a Covid-Secure manner.

We can therefore confirm that Autumn Hunting activities can continue as per the guidelines issued by the Hunting Office on 24th August with some slight changes. The main change is that any pack wishing to organise Hunting activities for more than 6 mounted followers and / or a group of more than 6 foot followers, must do so in accordance with the Covid-19 Secure Guidelines, a Covid-19 Risk Assessment must be done and an Event Delivery Plan should be completed for every days Hunting.

Hunting activities in Wales (update 20th October 2020)

Further to the recent announcement by the Welsh First Minister, the Hunting Office can confirm that Hunting activities in Wales should cease after 6pm on Friday 23rd October, until Monday 9th November.

The Welsh Government have given guidance about restrictions on exercise and outdoor activities, and it is clear that Hunting should not continue in Wales during this short ‘fire breaker’ lockdown.

Hounds should be exercised from the kennels, but this should be done by Hunt Staff only and for the purposes of the routine daily care of the hounds. Horses can continue to be exercised from the stables, but only as part of their routine daily care and maintenance of fitness.

As soon as we know more about the restrictions that will be in place after Monday 9th November we will let you now. We appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone, however please make sure this guidance is followed, so we can resume activities as soon as possible.

 Updated: 20th October 2020