Trail hunting in the nation’s forests

The Hunting Act 2004 banned hunting with dogs in England. Trail hunting was widely promoted as an alternative activity before the Hunting Act and is still legal.

Some trail hunting groups used forests we manage to trail hunt. We controlled trail hunting with permissions and licences according to an agreement with the Masters of Fox Hounds Association (MFHA).

Trail hunting in the nation’s forests is suspended until the Forestry England Board takes a decision on its future. The Board considered the issue in September 2022 and asked for more information. The next Board meeting when this could be raised is December 2022. We are not discussing this matter in detail in public and will publish the Board’s decision after it has been made.

Clean boot hunts may continue under the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association (MDBA) permission.

Suspected illegal activity or unauthorised trail hunting

We sometimes get concerns from visitors that people in forests we manage may be breaking the law.

If you believe illegal activity is taking place on land we manage, you need to give evidence to your local police.

If you have evidence of unauthorised trail hunting in the nation’s forests we manage please let your local office have it making sure it is clear and credible enough for us to look into. Consider, does your information clearly show:

  • where it was taken?
  • when it was taken?
  • who was involved?