As hundreds of thousands of people across the countryside get ready to support their local hunts on Boxing Day new research undertaken by the Countryside Alliance confirms that hunting is younger and more diverse than ever before. Over 250 hunts will meet on Tuesday 26th December in every corner of the countryside as hunting celebrates the biggest day in its calendar.
A survey of registered hunts has found that 70% of hunts have more women hunting and 54% have more young people than they did ten years ago. Over 94% of hunts had members in every age category.
The number of female Masters of Foxhounds is also growing rapidly with three quarters (74%) of hunts registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association now having at least one female master.
Countryside Alliance’s Head of Hunting Polly Portwin said: “Hunting has always been the most accessible of activities and these figures show exactly how diverse it is. There is certainly more equality in the hunting field than in most walks of life. Many hunts now have more female subscribers than men and it is wonderful to see new generations taking up hunting. The future of hunting is secure when so many young people are joining the hunting field.
“In addition to the age demographics, the use of social media has brought hunting to the attention of a greater number of people than ever before with newsfeeds throughout the Christmas period being full of beautiful hunting images and videos. Last year over 1.7million people engaged with the Countryside Alliance’s Boxing Day coverage over the festive period which can only be seen as a positive way of sharing our message across the world and we expect that engagement to increase again this year.”
Countryside Alliance’s Chief Executive Tim Bonner commented: “There are very few activities which bring the generations together as hunting does and many hunts meeting today will have active participants of every age.”
“It is clear that there has been a revival in hunt participation the last 10 years and that the make-up of hunt supporters has changed. The stereotype of the posh male hunter was never representative, but now it is actually misleading as the number of female subscribers and Masters running hunts is growing all the time.”