NRW stops trail hunting on its land

Natural Resources Wales will no longer allow trail hunting to take place on its land, following a decision by its Board not to renew its Master Agreement with the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA).

As permissions for all trail hunting activity were covered by the MFHA agreement, including access only permission for Hunts that wished to cross NRW managed land, it has been decided to end all trail hunting activity.

Trail hunting on the NRW estate has been suspended since November 2020 following a police investigation into webinars involving huntsmen discussing the practice.

In October 2021, MFHA director Mark Hankinson, was found guilty of encouraging the use of legal trail hunting as a screen to carry out the unlawful chasing and killing of animals.

Dominic Driver, Head of Land Stewardship for NRW, said:

“We have carefully considered the court ruling and our role before coming to a decision at the Board meeting, which we held in public session. The Board has decided not to renew our agreement with the Master Fox Hounds Association.
“The outcome of the court case against a senior leader of the MFHA has resulted in a loss of confidence in the organisation’s ability to ensure its activities are carried out within the law and terms of its agreement.
“In order to assure ourselves properly that trail hunting on our estate wasn’t being used as a cover for illegal activity, we would have to invest in skills and resources that we currently don’t have, to police it properly. Given what has historically been a minor use of the land we manage, this does not represent good use of our limited resources.
“As all trail hunting was managed under the same agreement, all trail hunting activity on the NRW-managed estate will end with immediate effect.”