by Countryside Alliance

Many hunts across the country will be conducting their Covid-secure hunting activities on Boxing Day and throughout the festive season, but the traditional meets where town and country come together will not be taking place in their normal format this year.

Like other outdoor sporting activities which continue to take place in accordance with the government guidance, hunting activities will be starting from rural locations that are less likely to draw the usual crowds to ensure there isn’t any breach of legislation regarding large gatherings.

With a quarter of a million people annually supporting hunting with hounds on Boxing Day, this much-loved and social event will be going ahead for participants only, without the thousands of spectators who usually line the streets of towns and villages in support of this lawful activity.

Hunting on Boxing Day - and throughout the rest of the festive period - will continue to be conducted safely in accordance with the government’s guidance relating to the tier that each hunt is operating in, with no hunting in Tier 4 in England and Alert Level 4 in Wales or with effect from 26th December in Alert Level 4 in Scotland.

“When the decision was made to move traditional meets away from public areas, the rate of infection of the coronavirus was much-reduced and it was hoped that every hunt would still be able to conduct their activities in the usual way, just without the prolonged and popular gatherings before hunting commenced,” explained Polly Portwin, Head of Hunting at the Countryside Alliance. “The situation continues to evolve and these are difficult times for so many people who have lost loved ones, are missing seeing their families and worrying about their businesses. Some hunts will not be able to take part in any hunting activities over the festive period, however where people are still able to participate, hunting will provide them with an opportunity to enjoy the countryside in a safe and healthy outdoor environment which benefits both their physical and mental health.”  

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