The Masters of Deerhounds Association consists of three packs of staghounds - the Devon & Somerset Staghounds that hunt the country within the Exmoor National Park; the Quantock Staghounds who hunt on the Quantock and Brendon Hills to the east of Exmoor and the Tiverton Staghounds that hunt the valleys of the Exe, Taw and Torridge.
Although Staghunting, as it was practised, was banned by the Hunting Act of 2004, the three packs continue to meet two or three times a week during the season to manage the herd of Red Deer in the area which number close to 4000 head, by far the largest herd in England.
The Hunts operate within the restrictions of the Hunting Act, monitoring the numbers, distribution and health of the herd, and they provide a 24-hour casualty service for sick or wounded deer that they may encounter.
Because of the recreational, social and economic value of the Hunts and the deer to the region, farmers and landowners tolerate large numbers of deer on their land, although the damage they cause can be impressive. These deer are not shy and tourists can observe them easily in the area.
There are no restrictions to joining in the hunts, so visitors can just turn up at the meets, which start in early August and continue to the end of April.