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Fox hunting


You should contact your local police via 101, with any details of those organising and participating in the hunt. If possible you should make it clear to those involved in the hunt that you have not granted them permission to use your land, as it is an offence to knowingly allow your land to be used for hunting.


No, it is the hunting of any wild mammal with dogs that is banned. Hare coursing is also now an offence.

If you witness anyone participating in a hunt, you should contact your local police force via 101 with any details you have.


Advice from DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) advocates better protection of stock, rather than fox control.

To discourage foxes from coming to your property you should:

  • Secure food waste in bins
  • Use fencing to protect pets and livestock from foxes.

If the problem persists you can use approved control methods but you must not:

  • Use gasses or poison,
  • Block or destroy fox earths if they are occupied,
  • Use dogs to hunt foxes.

Please see the link in Related Information for Government guidance on approved control methods.

The Hunting Act 2004 does recognise the need to control wild animals which farmers and others regard as pests. Whilst there are exemptions to the ban of fox hunting, a number of conditions must be adhered to if the hunting is to be lawful:

  • The stalking or flushing out may only be undertaken to prevent the wild mammal from causing serious damage to livestock, crops, game birds, wild birds, food for livestock, growing timber, fisheries, to other property, or to the biological diversity of an area. Stalking or flushing out may also be undertaken in relation to obtaining meat to be used for human or animal consumption or participation in a field trial.
  • The stalking or flushing out takes place on land that belongs to the person doing the flushing or stalking or he has been given permission by the owner to use it for that purpose.
  • The stalking or flushing does not involve the use of more than one dog underground.
  • As soon as is possible, reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the wild mammal being stalked or flushed is shot dead by a competent person and that the dog used is kept under close control so as not to prevent the shooting of the wild mammal.

The exemptions outlined above are contained in Schedule 1 to the Hunting Act 2004. For the full Act see the website in Related Information.


Fox hunting is illegal, it was banned by the Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales and the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.

There are exemptions in the Hunting Act to allow certain types of pest control, please see the link in 'related information' for details.

Hunts in England and Wales invented the activity of trail hunting after the hunting ban came into force. This is a non-lethal sport where the hunt follows a pre-laid trail rather than chasing a fox.

If you believe a hunt is using trail hunting as a cover for illegal hunting, this can be reported to your local police force. Some police forces also have an online wildlife crime reporting form.

If an illegal hunt happens on public land, you may wish to raise a formal complaint. Hunts may only use Forestry Commission or MOD land under a strict licence. Breaching that licence can mean the hunt are no longer allowed to use that land. Similarly, charitable bodies such as the National Trust, Woodland Trust or local charitable trusts or parish councils will take a dim view of law breaking on their land and may remove any 'sporting rights' they have given the hunt.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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