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Published on 16th March, 2017

The hunts taking part on the Sunday only are: Courtenay Tracy Mink Hounds; Ilminster Beagles Purbeck & Bovington Beagles and Wiltshire & Infantry Beagles.

The Courtenay Tracy Mink Hounds date back from 1887 and was formed by a Mr Courtenay Tracy and hunted the otter.  When the sport of otter hunting was given up in Britain during the 1970’s due to the otter becoming endangered and protected, many pack of otter hounds converted to hunting the American Mink.  This non-native mammal had established itself in Britain from 1950 onwards having escaped or been released from fur farms.

Unsuccessful attempts to eradicate the mink hailed to it being viewed as an invasive pest killing much of our wildlife.  Hunting with hounds had become a very successful form of management.

Around 1978/9 the name of the pack was changed to Ytene Mink Hounds until 2013 when it returned to the original packs name in memory of a great supporter Neville Baker

Ilminster Beagles was formed in 1961 with a large draft of Holcombe Rogus beagles and some from other local packs.  The country hunted by the Ilminster beagles runs east and south of Taunton across the Tone, Parrett and the land varies from the somerset levels to the Blackdown hills and down the A303 just outside Wincanton to Ilminster and away to Langport.  They have 20 couple of hounds in kennels consisting of 10 1/2 couple of dog hounds and 9 1/2 couple of bitches

The Purbeck & Bovington were formed in 1962 to hunt the Purbeck Hills and surrounding district.  The hounds were kennelled at Lytchett Matravers, and the hunt operated as a private pack. Currently, the Purbeck & Bovington Beagles hunt the eastern parts of Dorset, ranging from Weymouthand the Purbecks in the South, to Yeovil, Sherborne and Wincanton in the North.  They currently have 17 couple of hounds in Kennels of which one couple is puppies that will hopefully be entered next season.

The Wiltshire & Infantry Beagles was established in 1947 as a military hunt known as The School of Infantry Beagles.  In 1985 the hunt became a civilian pack with its current name but still retains its close and valued link with the Land Warfare Centre at Warminster.  Hare hunting is one of the oldest Field Sports and has been practiced for more than 2000 years.  Although the hound has changed greatly over the centuries, the beagle, now usually not more than 16 inches high at the shoulder is one of the oldest types that hunt by scent rather than sight.  Beagling is the art of hunting hare in her natural and wild environment on foot and is still permitted in special circumstances.  All hunting is strictly regulated under the Hunting Act 2004 and the Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting.  The packs country is mostly in Wiltshire, East Somerset and a small part of Dorset.

Not only does the West of England Game Fair entertain but it provides a platform for countryside traditions to be promoted and supported. This is certainly a total countryside experience for all the family and a great day out! It has a very varied countryside theme with a variety of have-a-go activities, displays and countryside shopping.  This is an event not to be missed.

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