Table of Contents
By being a hunt saboteur or hunt monitor, you will save foxes the terror of being chased for miles, and the agony of being ripped apart by dogs. You may ask, why are hunt saboteurs needed when fox hunting is illegal? Because hunts get around the law by claiming their dogs killing foxes is accidental, and that they do not set out to do it. This is despite them giving the dogs the order to kill. They continue to enjoy their “sport” just as they ever did.
Because the law is not well enforced, it is left up to hunt saboteurs and monitors to use direct action to sabotage and monitor fox hunts. It is the main way to save foxes from a horrific fate. If the hunts know they are being recorded by monitors, they are less likely to give the dogs the order to kill foxes.
There are many roles involved in being a hunt saboteur, from working online to raise awareness, to physically stopping the killing of a fox. You could be suited to any one, or a number of those roles.
Hunt saboteurs actually cause hunts to close. This is because people taking part in the hunt do not get to see what they came for – foxes being killed by dogs. This makes them lose interest and stop attending. The hunts then stop making enough money to make a hunt worthwhile.
Please try not to feel daunted by the information on this page. If you are interested in any hunt saboteur roles, you will be well supported by the sabbing community. Do not feel you need to do everything.
It’s Not Just Foxes Harmed
As well as the obvious cruelty to the fox, there are terrible cases of cruelty to hunt dogs. Dogs can get badly injured during the hunt and be left behind to die. In addition, when they are past their prime for hunting, at about eight years old, they are killed. The hunt breed new hounds every year, and any that don’t make the grade are also killed. The same goes for horses used in hunts. The dogs, who crave human company and affection, are kept isolated from humans in cold and uncomfortable conditions. They are seen as nothing more than equipment to hunts people.
Other wildlife is harmed by the hunts. Deer are among terrified animals that are injured while fleeing.
Badger baiting is another country “sport” you can get involved in stopping.
It’s Not Always Red Coats And Horses
When people think about fox hunts, they often have images of people on horses wearing distinctive red coats and black boots. This can be the case, but in less affluent areas the occasion is not such an upper crust affair. It is done on foot in regular clothes by country folk.
Image: Fox hunting can be done on horses or on foot.
Different Hunt Saboteur Roles
Being a hunt saboteur is often thought of as just the people doing the sabbing of the hunts around the time the hunts are taking place. In reality, there are many more roles involved in being a hunt saboteur. Although there is a degree of physical fitness required to do some roles, there are many where physical fitness is not necessary.
The hunt sabbing roles mentioned in the table of contents on this page are only part of the movement. People are also needed who can work online. There are groups and pages on Facebook you can join to help guide you. You can raise awareness by sharing posts from them, and you can support online campaigns.
Facebook groups And Pages:
As well as the above groups, join hunt saboteur groups in your area on Facebook. For instance, if you live in or near Lancashire or Cheshire, there are the Lancashire or Cheshire Hunt Saboteur groups.
It is not only the fox that is a victim of illegal hunting, the badger is another wild animal targeted. Joining badger hunt saboteur groups on Facebook will help you help the badger too. The Hunt Saboteur Association website is another good resource.
Be A Keyboard Warrior
One role of a hunt saboteur is to raise awareness online and support online campaigns. As well as the above Facebook groups, Keyboard Warriors Against The Hunts is a good group to join.
As they put it, they are an online community who are:
Working together to research the law, ask awkward questions, tackle various issues and be annoying little midges in the fight against hunting using our keyboards.
Leafleting And Outreach
People are also needed to get involved in outreach. Spreading the word in communities is a very important part of the anti-hunt movement:
The AAF Facebook group is one group where you can get posters, leaflets and offer to help on outreach stalls. Use these materials to leaflet parked cars and to give to people in the street. You can either have the leaflets sent to you, or you can print them yourself. The latter is a free option. If the leaflets and posters are printed for you and sent to you, there is a small charge. This is not to make a profit, but goes towards covering expenses. Other organisations you can get these materials from are the League Against Cruel Sports, the National Distrust, and the Hunt Saboteur Association.
Pretend To Be Out For A Country Stroll
If you have a vehicle, you can go on journeys at your leisure and find exactly where hunt kennels are. The Wildlife Guardian is a great source of information, as it lists them with postcodes. You can pretend you are simply a rambler out for a country stroll.
One hunt saboteur who does this says:
I get the info, find the nearest footpath, then check them out. It can be a good day out if I’m checking a few out.
You can get guidance about what information to gather from the Facebook AAF group.
Look Into The Law
Hunts break these laws all the time, from hunting wild animals with dogs, to not picking up their dog mess. You can help by looking into the law surrounding hunting with dogs, trespassing, safeguarding, and other areas of the law hunts may break. For more information, contact the AAF Facebook group.
Email Land Owners, Councils And MPs
Another important role is sending emails and online messages to owners of the land the hunt uses, including united utilities and the National Trust. The hunts are allowed to use the land for trail hunting, but in reality use it for fox hunting. There is also a lot of secret support for the hunts doing this, among National Trust members. People are also needed to contact councils and the police about the hunts.
Attend Meetings And Hunt Meets
You can go to hound shows, and even hunt meets, posing as a hunt supporter. This can be useful for finding out information. However, you must be very careful, as hunt supporters are notoriously nasty if they think you are a hunt saboteur.
When councils have meetings about hunting, attending those can be helpful.
You can find out what other roles there may be, and find more information and guidance on the roles mentioned above, in the AAF Facebook group.
Essential Hunt Saboteur Equipment
Vehicle: This is how the hunt saboteurs and monitors get around. A very lucky few hunt saboteurs and monitors have vans modified with hunt saboteuring in mind. They can have a CB radio, off-road tyres, electrically powered citronella sprays, and amplified ‘gizmo’ with external 100W speakers. However, you can still be a hunt sab with a normal vehicle.
Camera: To take video footage of the hunt, so that they can be prosecuted for any criminal activity. This may be killing foxes, or assaults on hunt saboteurs and monitors. Openly monitoring the hunt may make them less willing to order their dogs to kill foxes.
Sprays: Water/citronella (50 parts/1 part) mix. Simple garden spray bottles can be used to pre-spray a wood. Garlic spray works just as well, but doesn’t smell good!
Whips: Large bull whips. These are cracked ahead of the hounds to stop them.
Horns: If 3 or 4 members of the group can blow a horn to a similar standard to local huntsmen, they can give conflicting or misdirecting signals to the hounds.
CB Radio or Mobile Phones: To communicate between separate groups of hunt saboteurs and monitors. CB radios are good where they may not be signal coverage for mobile phones.
Binoculars: For spotting foxes before the hunt does, and keeping track of the hunt.
Loud Hailer or Amplification Gizmo: By playing a recording of hounds in cry, the real hounds can be pulled off the scent. Hounds “in cry” is the excited yelping of when the hounds are chasing something,
For more information about equipment you will need, click here.
For how to make an amplified gizmo, click here.
Image: Equipment needed for hunt sabbing. Source: Pintrest
Prior To The Hunt: Spraying
Prior to the hunt, use citronella to spray all around the hunt area where foxes are likely to be found.
Before the hunt takes place, spray the covert (rough or brushy areas where foxes often hide during daylight hours, or when they hear dogs coming towards them) with citronella (a harmless lemon and water spray) or garlic. Spray at around the head height of a hound and on the ground. Pay particular attention to gateways, bridleways and footpaths.
Spraying citronlla in the path of hounds on the scent can result in the dogs being unable to smell anything other than Citronella. This gives the fox a chance to escape.
When just a few saboteurs are available, or when woods are too large to spray completely, it may well be worth spraying a section or two. Do this particularly at the down wind end. Hounds that do pick up a scent elsewhere in the covert will then be likely to lose it as the fox is forced out of the wood and through the sprayed area.
Prior To The Hunt: Beating
While spraying the hunt area with citronella, flush all the foxes out of the hunt area by beating the area or using fireworks.
Beating of the covert in advance of the hunt should be done at the same time as spraying it, to drive foxes out. To do this effectively, hunt saboteurs should form a line at the up wind end of the covert and proceed with the beating away from the hunt meeting point using whistles, horns and hunting calls, just like the hunt would.
The line should beat right to the very end of the hunting area, as foxes are often very reluctant to leave. Care should be taken to keep the beating line straight.
If only a small number of hunt saboteurs are available, Rook scarers / fire works could be used to flush animals out of the area. Rook scarers should go off right up until the time the fox hunt begins.
IMPORTANT: To avoid fire or injury, make sure that they are set well above head height in evergreen trees, and away from footpaths and bridleways.
Prior To The Hunt: Leave False Trails
Prior to the hunt, create false trails for the hounds to follow, preferably in big circles. A dried blood solution, road kill foxes, or fox bedding freshly collected from a sanctuary can be used. Make sure your trails do not lead to any fox dens (earths).
The aim of laying down a false trail is to trick the hounds (and hunt) in to believing they are on the scent of a fox.
The best results are obtained using a dried blood solution. For those not keen on dried blood, fox bedding can be used if you know of a sanctuary that has a fox. The bedding must be fresh so you will need to collect it early on the morning of the sab. You can alternatively use a fox that has been accidentally killed on the road.
When using the blood, use an absorbent cloth and carry the container to re-soak the rag when necessary. When using bedding or a road casualty, use a netting bag tied to a string.
Decide which coverts (rough or brushy areas) the hunt is likely to hunt through, and assess the wind direction. Try to work out how a fox would run from each one.
If there is time, lay several trails through the wood so that the drawing pack of hounds can’t help but come across them. Start at one end of the covert and walk in the direction of the wind through the wood. Continue the trails into the open.
Image: Fox hunt saboteurs. Credit: Dazeddigital.com
When Time Is Short
If time is short you could simply lay a trail around the perimeter of a covert, in the hope that the hounds will switch to this from a genuine scent.
You’ll only need two or three people to lay the trail: One dragging the cloth or bag, and the others walking ahead to check that the way ahead does not lead to any fox earths, or lead into danger for the hounds.
Roads and dry ground will not hold the scent. If it looks like it will rain, only lay the trails inside coverts, as they are likely to be washed away in the open.
Trails will be most effective when laid shortly before the hunt arrives. A trail that can take 30 minutes to lay might be covered by hounds in just a few minutes, so ‘jink’ when you can, i.e. lay trails that lead hunts round in big circles.
During the hunt you may be able to encourage hounds onto your trails with voice and horn calls.
If you don’t know the meet in advance, you could try laying some last minute trails when you have found the hunt, though usually there is not enough time for this.
Prior To The Hunt: Digging Out Fox Earths
Before to the hunt, search for fox earths (dens). Unblock them if the earth is hard to dig out or if it is a large warren.
Hunts will fill in the entrances to fox earths to prevent foxes being able to take refuge in them during the hunt. Unblocking them will at least delay the hunt, should the fox go in to them.
In the UK, where hunting is illegal, full photographic evidence of any blocked earths found should be obtained before clearing it.
It is important to know which kind of fox earths to unblock, and which not to.
If the soil is very hard, frozen, particularly full of roots or stones, or the earth is a large warren, it is usually safe to unblock it. This is because there is little chance of a fox earth like that being completely dug out by the hunt.
However, if the soil is soft, do not unblock the earth. With fox earths like this that are easy to completely dig out, the terrier men are more likely to block any exits and dig out the fox.
Image: When fox hunt sabotaging and monitoring, look out for earths.
Other Hunt Saboteur Tips Prior To The Hunt
Secure gates in the area. This will cause the hunt considerable delay and inconvenience. Gates can be secured with wire, or even padlocks and chains.
In weather conditions where the hunt may sometimes be called off, ring the local papers and tell them that the hunt has cancelled when it has not. If it is a pub meet, ring the pub and tell them as well. This can lose the hunt support and create confusion.
Hunt Saboteur Tactics Where The Hunt Meets
If you have contacted the press, hold a demonstration / protest with banners and placards. Try to get as many people as possible to do this at the meeting place of the hunt.
Hunt saboteurs who are not known to the hunt can act like followers of the hunt and mingle with hunt supporters. They can find out which way the hunt are likely to be going and relay this information to other hunt saboteurs.
When acting as a supporter, remember to remove any identity badges and use the correct terminology (e.g. hounds not dogs, and charlie not fox).
Make sure your cars do not get blocked in by supporters or the police. They do this purposely to prevent you being able to sabotage the hunt.
Image: Anti-hunt demonstration / protest. These protesters were pelted with horse poo by aggressive hunt supporters.
Leading Away From The Hunt’s Meet
If several hunt saboteurs are present, split up and spray the road sides leading away from the hunt’s meeting point with citronella.
Never spray the hounds directly, always spray well in front of them. It is best to do it out of sight of the hunt supporters, to avoid trouble.
Hunt Saboteur Techniques During The Hunt
A hunt saboteur or monitor should hide their face and identity from the hunt and their supporters. Let hounds waste time in areas that had been thoroughly beaten to flush out foxes before the hunt.
If the pre-hunt sabotaging techniques have been put in place, then there is not as much to do during the hunt. This means there is less chance of confrontation as opposing sides clash.
During the hunt, you are likely to come face to face with the hunt and their supporters. To protect yourself from these often aggressive people, hide your identity by keeping your face covered and covering any other easily identifiable features. If they discover your identity, it is possible that you could face reprisals.
Do not try to call hounds out of the pre-beaten covert: It is good that the hounds waste time and energy in the thoroughly beaten covert.
Image: Hunt saboteur concealing their identity to prevent reprisals.
Crack Whips, Use Horns, And Hunt Calls
The whip is cracked to frighten the dogs away from the scent of the fox. The horn is used to encourage the dogs towards the horn blower – again, away from the fox scent. Hunt calls can be used along with whip cracking to tell the dogs off (‘rate’ them), or to encourage them to follow a scent. Sound recordings of dogs in pursuit can attract the hunt dogs.
The best place to make use of the whip is when hounds have found the scent of a fox. They indicate this by calling out, which is called being in cry. Hunt saboteurs should then crack their whips when the hounds come towards the scent left by the live fox. At the same time they must “rate” them (tell them off) so that they think they are doing the wrong thing by following that scent.
The whip can also be used when a fox comes out of a covert. Hunt saboteurs run in towards the covert and rate the hounds back with whip, voice and horn calls.
A hunt saboteur horn blower should stand away from the scent line that the live fox has left, at a right angle to it if possible. Horn blowers should first holloa. This is a high pitched voice call that imitates that of the hunt, They should then start to blow fast notes to encourage the hounds to come to them instead of following the scent line of the fox.
It works best if the sound of the horn, and style in which it is sounded, matches that of the hunts horn. This should be perfected before the hunt and not practised during.
Some hunts may only voice train their hounds and not use horns. In this case, learn and use the voice calls that the hunt uses to control the dogs.
Working In Tandem
In theory the hounds will come to the horn blower hunt saboteurs who are away from the scent line of the fox. The hunt saboteurs with whips should then scatter away from the scent line of the fox. This is so that when the huntsmen arrive, they don’t know where the fox has gone.
Image: Hunting horn
Hunt saboteurs should run to where the fox has gone and crack their whips if they need to stop the hounds following the real scent. The horn blower should be encouraging the hounds to hunt on in the direction he/she wants.
Dogs respond to the sound of other dogs in pursuit, and will head towards that sound. This sound can be prerecorded and then played back when needed, to attract hounds away from the scent of a fox.
Prevent the Shooters Shooting
Where hunts have shooters with them, they are not allowed to open fire when people are nearby. Their purpose is to kill the fox “humanely”. However, in practice the outcome is different. Shooting a moving fox is difficult, so they more often injure the fox. This makes it easier for the hounds to catch it and rip it apart. If by some miracle the fox escapes, it is likely to die in agony. There is also the chance the gunmen may injure the following hounds. They are not supposed to shoot when hounds are following, but do.
Hunt Monitor: Film The Hunt
During the hunt, make sure everything is caught on camera, including dealing with hunt supporters, huntsmen, police – everything. If possible, every hunt saboteur should wear a camera, but there should also be others filming what happens.
A number of hunt saboteurs should be ‘monitors’ and film events with video cameras or their mobile phones. If the hunt are aware they are being filmed, they may be more reluctant to break the law by giving their dogs the call to kill the fox. If not, you have the evidence. It will also be evidence of any assaults or threats, and of violations such as dogs attacking wildlife.
Be careful not to find yourself on your own with hunt supporters. These people can be violent. If you experience any aggression, call the police.
However, be aware that the police could side with the hunt, confiscate equipment and even assault hunt saboteurs. Continue filming events while the police are there.
Make sure to always have a hunt saboteur or two filming from afar, undetected, if possible. If they have a good vantage point, they can capture everything going on, unhindered by the hunt or their supporters.
Try to make sure the footage is as good quality and as steady as possible, as you may need to rely on it as evidence. If it is needed as evidence, keep copies of the footage before handing it over to the police.
Below: Supporters of the fox hunt.
Sit On The Fox Hole
Undertaking the tactic of sitting on a fox hole is a last resort, as it can be confrontational. Physically sitting on a fox hole will normally prevent the terrier men sending their terrier dogs down the hole to find the fox, and digging the fox out.
Make sure there are a number of you, and that you are filming, and being filmed by other sabs.
Hunt Saboteur Experience Of Police
As a fox hunt Saboteur, you might feel police should prosecute those who break the fox hunting law and use violence against those who are trying to prevent the law from being broken. However, hunt saboteurs experience of police has often been reported as less than positive. Even when hunt saboteurs have had video footage as proof of violence towards them, this evidence has been known to be “lost” by the police, so taking copies is a good idea.
Hunt Saboteur SAFETY FIRST:
Always stay in a group so you cannot be caught alone and attacked by hunt supporters.
Being a fox hunt saboteur can carry risks. Hunt supporters can be violent towards you, and people have even been killed for other reasons while being a hunt saboteur or monitor. The first hunt saboteur to be killed was gentle vegan, animal rescue volunteer, and animal rights activist, Mike Hill.
To see how to sabotage and monitor the hunting of other animals, go to the website below:
For many other ways to save animals from cruelty and suffering, please see here. You will find numerous ways to help that are free, or take very little money or effort There is something to suit every personality, ability, and lifestyle.
If you have other ways of helping to stop the hunting of wild animals with dogs, please leave a comment.
Image: Hunt horse falling awkwardly.
Many Other Ways To Help Stop Animal Suffering
On this site there are many varied ways you can help animals and help stop cruelty. In fact, there are so many different ways that there is something for every personality type, no matter what their circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please see this website. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of world wide animal abuse, giving you the ability to help animals by spreading awareness and answering questions people may have. Please be aware that you may find the information distressing.
One great way to help animals is to share the information you have seen on this website. Doing so means more people could help stop animal cruelty, and that would make you responsible for more animals being saved from suffering. Together we can help people help animals <3
Do you have anything you would like to share? Or have you spotted a mistake? Please leave a comment below.