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Public school hunt to become drag hunt

PUPILS AT Stowe public school are to switch to drag hunting next season after hunting is banned under the terms of the Hunting Act. Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, the headmaster, intends to make the switch in order to save the 52-year-old beagle pack with its strong bloodlines.

The famous Buckinghamshire school will test various forms of drag or trail hunting to see which scent will be best for the hounds to follow.

About 15 ‘beaglers’, all pupils aged from 13 to 18 were out last weekend with the pack chasing hares in the surrounding countryside. The chase lasts a couple of hours, with most of the pupils running to keep up with the hounds. So far this season seven hares have been caught by the dogs, and last season there were 17 hares caught in 50 hunting days.

However, the hunts will end as a designated school sport when the hunt ban comes into force on February 19th. 2005.

Three other famous schools with their own hunts, Eton, Radley and Marlborough are still deciding the fate of their hounds.

Dr Wallersteiner said: "There seems little point in breaking up the bloodline of a beagle pack that has been in existence for more than 50 years. So we will tough it out until the law is replaced. A future Conservative government, whenever that will be, has said it will repeal it.

"On no account, however, will we be breaking the law. Even though I think this law is misguided, we have to teach good citizenship and obedience to the law."