A shocking video shows the chaos caused when a fox hunt spills out onto a busy A-road in gloomy and wet conditions.
The footage, shot on Saturday morning, begins with riders and some 20 hounds sniffing around a clump of trees.
Having apparently found nothing, the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt then moves onto woodland near a busy stretch of the A352 in Dorset.
With heavy rain falling and traffic everywhere, half a dozen huntsmen can be seen trotting down the middle of the road, seemingly oblivious to the problems they are causing for the heavy traffic around them.
Huntsmen from the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt were filmed trotting along the busy A352 near Sherborne in Dorset by activists monitoring their activities on Saturday
Chaos reigned on the congested dual carriageway as cars slowed down to avoid the party of huntsmen and their hounds, with one dog almost being dragged beneath one of the vehicles
The hunt is joined by supporters riding a quad bike along the road near Sherborne.
As they wait, the hunt’s ‘whipper in’, a red-coated huntsman on a grey horse, can be seen standing in the road near a bend and then criss-crossing it as drivers are forced to brake.
After four and a half minutes, the hounds are shown in full cry having apparently picked up a scent. A frightened young fox cub then appears on the A352 behind the huntsmen.
The footage then appears to show the huntsmen, who have been milling around by the side of the road, canter toward the animal as the hounds approach the busy road from the wood.
The huntsmen, now aware they are being film, try desperately and unsuccessfully to keep the hounds off the road as traffic rushes towards them.
One huntsmen shouts, ‘Wo’ and brandishes his whip at cars as the dogs, high on fox scent, run out on the road.
Chaos then reigns with horse and hounds taking over the road completely. One dog almost ends up beneath a car but the driver just swerves to avoid impact.
The video, made by activists from hunt monitoring group Somerset Wildlife Crime, then captures the reaction of some of the angry hunt supporters to being filmed.
There were clashes between supporters of the hunt and those activists where were filming the action in north Dorset over the weekend with police called when a camera was smashed
A fox cub runs across the road during the hunt as hounds pick up the scent and give chase
On a nearby country lane, one burly hunt supporter with a hood gets into an argument with a monitor holding a camera saying: ‘Don’t talk to me like that. I’ll stand in your face all f***ing day.’
The cameraman then suggests that he may have been drinking alcohol to which the hunt supporter responds with: ‘Have I really? Go call the police then, go on. Do it now cos I’ll stand here for a month because guess one thing mate, I am completely f***ing teetotal.’
He then headbutts the camera breaking the lens as two women also square off against one another nearby.
A man attempts to calm the situation down with an agreement that they each go their separate ways but not before the angry hunt supporter looks down at a swamp and tells the activist: ‘You’ll go swimming in a minute.’
As this is happening, a female hunt supporter allegedly elbows a female camerawoman in the chest.
The camerawoman is heard saying: ‘If you do that again, to secure my own personal safety I will put my hands on you and restrain you.’
The hunt supporter retorts with: ‘Touch me and I’ll restrain you. You won’t be getting up.’
The whole hunt can then be seen trotting off with the hounds down the country lane to have their hunt’s breakfast.
Bobbie Armstrong, 40, from Somerset Wildlife Crime, said: ‘Hunting mammals with dogs has been illegal since 2004 but we still witness foxes running from hounds when the hunts are engaged in what they call trail hunting.’
Unsurprisingly, given that they use animal scent for the trail, it often ends with fox cubs falling victim to the hounds.
Commenting on the unsafe road conditions, an activist said: ‘This is not unusual. The hunt do this every week and are totally indifferent to anyone complaining. What is unusual is to capture it on camera.’
‘In this case it was a miracle that no-one was injured. There was surface water everywhere and the huntsmen were treating the busy A352 as though it were their own.
‘This stretch of road is covered by the national speed limit so the danger for drivers coming around bends in the wet and being met by 20 horses and hounds all over the road is obvious.
‘This is not unusual. The hunt do this every week and are totally indifferent to anyone complaining. What is unusual is to capture it on camera.
‘They see it as their right to continue this age honoured tradition of hunting animals.
‘We have reported the incident along with the assaults and damage to the camera to the police.’
The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt were contacted for comment but have not yet replied.
Dorset Police said its officers are investigating reports of road safety offences and are appealing for witnesses or anyone with dashcam footage to come forward.