Once the Hunting Act became the law of the land, the hunting lobby did not offer themselves up for martyrdom by openly disobeying the law but declared that they would now ‘test’ it by using the ‘exemptions’ provided for other non-target dog users.

Stag hunters, for instance, would use pairs of hounds in ‘relays’, by flushing a deer out of cover, but not quite managing to shoot it before the deer ran into more cover, when two more hounds could be used to get it on the run again, not quite managing to shoot it, and so on and so on until the deer was hounded to exhaustion and then shot at point blank range with a sawn-off shot gun - the very practice which Parliament voted to outlaw.

A Court determined, a few years ago, that the use of the 'flushing' exemption [Schedule 1.1] to do this, by the Quantock Stag Hounds, was unlawful, because it was clear that the primary purpose was 'sport' and not 'pest control'.

In response, deer hunts simply switched to using the less restrictive 'Research and Observation' exemption [Schedule 1.9] instead.

Their use of this exemption has not since been challenged in court, although hunters have openly written of hunts lasting 2 hours.