Sabs, otherwise know as hunt saboteurs, hunt monitors or antis, are the line of defence between the hunt and the hunted.
From kennel spotting and scented sprays that distract the hounds, to pre-recorded hunt calls, the hunt saboteurs go to extreme lengths to prevent the death of any wild animals at the hands of hunts.
Find out more about the various tactics they use to sabotage hunts.
How Do Hunt Saboteurs Know When Hunts Are Taking Place?
Hunt generally stick to a schedule for when they hunt throughout the season, but will occasionally change the time or date to avoid any sab attention, there are a few ways hunt sabs are always hot on the tail of hunts.
Hunt Cards – Before it was made illegal, hunt saboteurs could easily find out when hunts were taking place, as they were advertised on ‘hunt cards’ – a card with a list of when and where hunts would be meeting for the entire season. They are quite rare now as hunts opt not to advertise when they are taking place – presumably to deter sabs and hide their activities. Without these hunt cards, hunts don’t get as many supporters or spectators as they used to.
Kennel Watching – The most common way sabs find out when a hunt is leaving if it hasn’t been advertised elsewhere, hunt sabs will head to the kennels that belong to the hunt, and follow them as they leave.
Distracting The Hounds
Sabs really care for hunt hounds, that’s why all methods they use to prevent hounds are used only to distract them – not to obstruct or injure them. A couple of the methods and tools use include:
Hunting Horns – Horns are used by the hunt to communicate, with both other hunt members and the hounds. The use of horns by hunt saboteurs can distract the hounds, even if only for a moment – giving the fox time needed to escape. In addition to this, hunt sabs will use their voices to imitate the calls of the hunt masters and call the hands.
Citronella Spray – Despite claims by the hunt, citronella spray is completely harmless to hounds and is actually used in collars designed to calm dogs that bark excessively. It’s made by mixing Citronella oil with water and is often sprayed at hound head height by saboteurs – not on the dogs themselves. The spray masks the scent of the fox, and can also provide
Whips – In the hunt, whips are used by some huntsmen known as ‘whipper ins’ to control the hounds, whipper ins will usually call the hounds off with their whips if they are heading in the wrong direction, or towards a hazard such as a main road.
Hunt Saboteur Technology
In addition to these methods and their trusty vehicles, the advancement in technology has allowed the sabs to be even more prolific at stopping hunts:
Drones – Some hunts who have the backing and the budget to do so have incorporated drones into their sabbing and monitoring activities, the use of a drone allows the user to observe the hunt from a safe distance – and inform other sabs of there whereabouts.
With drone technology comes a few risks, for one, drones are expensive bits of kit and should the hunt damage one – its’s going to be expensive to repair or replace.
Additionally, under article 167 of the Air Navigation Order – pilots are not allowed to fly a drone fitted with a camera within 50 metres of a person, the legislation here is patchy, but it is something that could bring up potential legal challenges in the future should the hunt claim the hunt saboteur pilot had breached this legislation.
Cameras – Cameras are one of the most important bits of kit hunt saboteurs use and they have captured vast amount of footage of hunts breaking the law over the years. There have been many reported cases of hunt saboteurs cameras being broken, stolen or footage being removed by hunts.
Recording Devices – This constitutes as anything with a playback feature, whether it’s a phone with a loud speaker, or an MP3 device. Sabs will record or download recording of hound cries, hunt calls and whipping noises then play them in attempt to distract the foxhounds.
Radios – Another essential bit of kit – sabs often split up into groups in order to keep an eye on the hunt and so will use radios to communicate to one another throughout the day and call out any sightings of the hunt or a fox.
Help The Hunt Saboteurs Today
Many sabs rely on funding to get hold of the equipment needed to prevent illegal hunting. In an ideal world, sabs wouldn’t need to exist, but unfortunately the work they do is invaluable for protecting wildlife from illegal hunting.
If you’d like to join your local hunt sabs, check out our dedicated page – all of the groups on this page are accompanied with a link to their Facebook pages so you can support them.
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