The 2017/18 hunting season officially started on 1st May and with it came the annual shuffling around the country of hunt staff with many moving on to progress their hunting careers. Those appointed as Masters of Foxhounds along with all those that have elected to take on the various other roles within their packs all assumed their positions on this date too.

Leavers’ parties for hunt staff moving on to pastures new and for those retiring from their former duties are now a distant memory as everyone has been settling into their new positions this week. Learning the names of the hounds is one of the greatest challenges for any new member of hunt staff, while those becoming masters will be visiting farmers and getting to grips with their farm boundaries.

As featured on The Archers, The Masters of Foxhounds Association recently held a seminar for new masters to ensure they are fully prepared for the responsibilities they have taken on. All those new to their role should have the support of everyone who hunts to ensure they can fulfil their duties to the best of their ability in what are often very challenging circumstances.

We can however now all start to look forward to a summer of puppy shows, kennel open days and hound exercise before autumn hunting starts, remaining hopeful that there could now perhaps be an opportunity to overturn the hunting ban in sight.

Pictured is Donald Summersgill, who has retired from the Devon & Somerset Staghounds after more than 25 years as huntsman. All the best to all retiring hunt staff. 

Find the hound show dates for the diary where you will be able to see representatives from the Countryside Alliance.