The Royal Agricultural College Beagles were formed in 1889 and have been thriving ever since, apart from breaks during the two world wars. In 1963, the pack was presented to the Queen and gained the Royal prefix to their name.
They hunt within an approximate ten mile radius of Cirencester, overlapping with the Vale of the White Horse, the Duke of Beaufort’s and the Cotswold Hunts. They are able to continue to hunt due to the goodwill of farmers and surrounding packs of foxhounds.
Since the ban in 2005, artificial scent is used and laid by a runner. Prior to this, the beagles hunted hare.
The hounds were previously fed on the fallen stock from surrounding farms, which was considered a valuable service by the farmers and showed how important hunting is to the rural economy. However, due to a change in fallen stock regulations, the hounds are now fed entirely on a biscuit based diet.
The hounds are cared for by University students at the nearby Coates Kennels with the professional support of the Kennel-Huntsman, David Simms. Students fill the posts of Joint Masters, Master-Huntsman and Whipper-Ins and, between them, together with David, they look after around 30 couple of hounds. They also fund the pack with help from external subscribers and supporters.
During term time, the pack meets at 1pm on Wednesdays and 11am on Saturdays. In the holidays, they hunt three times a week, meeting at 11am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. All students welcome.
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