PICTURE SPECIAL: Jed Forest 'Boxing Day' Hunt goes ahead in Denholm
The festive event this year attracted around 30 riders from across the region. The spectacle is seen as an opportunity for the hunt to thank all those farmers and landowners over whose land it rides and subscribers and members of the public who have followed it throughout the year.
Fox hunting in Scotland was banned in 2002, but exceptions remain in place that allow the use of hounds to ‘flush’ foxes into the open. This week the Green Party renewed its call for a complete ban on fox hunting, saying it was a view shared by the majority of the public.
But supporters of the Jed Forest Hunt say it “provides an efficient and discriminant form of fox control for farmers and gamekeepers, using a combination of scenting hounds and guns”, adding: “Followers can be found enjoying the craft of working hounds being determined by the habits of a wild animal by pursuing on horse or foot.”
Given the diversity of opinion the event attracts – and the downright anger in some quarters – proceedings are more low key these days.
Hunt secretary Tracy Crawford said villagers made them welcome on the day – staged this year on Monday as Boxing Day fell on a Sunday. Tracy, from Denholm, added: “It was a good turn-out on the day. We don’t like to pulicize it too much, obviously, because there is so much going on with the hunt-sabs at the moment that we try to keep it quite low key. It is keeping tradition going because it has always been that we have the meet on Boxing Day at Denholm. It has been held since I was a child and I’m 45 now. It has been going on the green for a long time. We always meet there and then go on the hunt. This year we had about 30 riders who are all subscribers to the Jed Hunt, they all live in the area. Everybody made us really welcome in the village.”
The Jed Forest Hunt is staging a fundraising quiz night today, Thursday, December 30, from 7pm at Bonchester Village Hall, with tickets £10 for a team of four. “Bring your friends and families for some light-hearted entertainment,” a spokesperson said.