Following a break from tradition in 2020, when Boxing Day hunts did not gather, supporters in Dorset are looking forward to their return this year.

To protect communities from the spread of covid, hunts chose not to meet during the festive period last year which makes this year’s hunt even more eagerly anticipated.

In towns and villages across Dorset, preparations are underway but this year’s Boxing Day hunt comes with a twist – most won’t be taking place on Boxing Day.

As it falls on a Sunday this year, the majority of packs will be meeting on the Bank Holiday Monday (December 27) instead.

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Polly Portwin, Director of the Campaign for Hunting at the Countryside Alliance said: “The hunting world is looking forward to showcasing their lawful trail hunting activities again this year and welcomes the return to village greens and town centres across the country.

“With most hunts meeting on Monday, 27th December this year we want to ensure hunt followers, local residents and supporters are aware that hounds will be meeting on Bank Holiday Monday so that everyone can plan their festivities to ensure they are still able to enjoy the spectacle while showing their support for hounds at a traditional Boxing Day meet.”

Although there are currently no restrictions on outdoor gatherings, some packs have decided to move out of smaller venues where it may be harder to maintain social distancing and have arranged for new locations this year.

What is trail hunting?

Hound-led fox hunting was banned in 2005, however trail hunting is a legal option undertaken by many groups around the country.

Trail hunting is simply when a trail is manually laid for the hounds to follow and most closely replicates traditional hunting.

Material containing the scent is dragged along the ground which the hounds will pick up on and follow during the "hunt".

The Countryside Alliance have more information about this on their website.

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Boxing Day Hunts in Dorset

Portman Hunt
Monday, December 27, 10.45am
Where: New Road, Lower Bryanston, Blandford Forum DT11

Wilton Hunt
Where: Cranborne, Dorset
Wiliton Hunt do not publish meet information anywhere online. To find out if a Boxing Day trail hunt is going ahead, you need to need to become a member. Click here for more information.

For the latest information on trail hunts taking place in Dorset this Boxing Day, see the Countryside Alliance interactive map above, or contact your local hunt.