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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2005, 16:01 GMT
Hawk joins hounds in forest hunt
Alice the hawk joins the Cheshire Forest Hunt
The hounds are being used to flush out the hawk's prey
Thirty-six riders and 31 hounds rode out with the historic Cheshire Forest Hunt on Saturday.

About 100 spectators attended Belmont Hall, near Northwich, where the hunt traditionally starts.

An eight-month-old Harris hawk, named Alice, was also present, as part of attempts to avoid the hunting ban.

Cheshire Forest Hunt Joint Master Peter Heaton said the hounds were allowed to join the hunt in order to flush out the prey for the hawk.

He added: "Part of the legislation exemptions is that you can use an unlimited number of hounds to flush for an unspecified mammal, which would include a bird of prey.

'Not the same'

Joint Master Richard de Prez said the hunt was following a trail.

He said: "It's not the same thing for traditionalists like me but the younger brigade may take to it more.

"We haven't seen any anti-hunting people so far but I expect we will see some as they have said they are going to monitor our activities.

"They are welcome to do so because we do not intend to break the law."



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