AN OXFORDSHIRE hunt has been accused of causing carnage on a country road by scaring deer into the path of an oncoming car.

The Heythrop Hunt, last month branded ‘out of control’ by a driver from Chipping Norton, has denied it was responsible for the crash, which killed two deer, and insisted the animals came from the opposite direction to them.

Emily Lawrence, an independent hunt monitor, said she and another monitor, Roisin Wood, had been left ‘shaken’ by what they saw following the group on Saturday, October 10, in Gloucestershire, near Farmington.

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She said: “As we parked we witnessed five deer fleeing from the direction of the hunt and running up the side of the field line adjacent to the A429.

"We turned left onto the A429 intending to get into a strategic position to see if the hunt would cross.

"Instead we were confronted with a shocking scene, two deer were lying dead on the road, a car was written off on the side of the road and metal and blood were splattered and strewn up the road.”

Oxford Mail:

Dead deer on the side of the A429. The Heythrop Hunt have been accused of scaring deer into the road. Picture: Emily Lawrence and Roisin Wood

Ms Lawrence, who observes hunts to check they are obeying the 2005 ban on chasing wild animals, said the driver and her passengers were ‘clearly in shock’ standing on the edge of the road and the monitors called 999.

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She said: “There was no way they could have stopped this from happening. They said it happened very quickly.”

The monitors removed the car parts and the deer off the road, with Ms Lawrence saying: “It was quite dangerous, cars were having to drive around the debris.

Oxford Mail:

Debris and animal remains on the A429 in Gloucestershire. Picture: Emily Lawrence and Roisin Wood

"We were both covered in blood from the poor deer, it was heartbreaking.

“We were both very shaken, the images of the dead deer, blood splattered metal and a river of blood and guts have not left our minds and probably never will.”

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She said people could have been hurt or killed, and questioned why, if the group were trail hunting, where hounds follow a scent rather than a live animal, it would be laid near a main road.

A spokesperson for the Heythrop Hunt said it was aware of the ‘unfortunate incident’ and ‘would like to express best wishes to those people involved’.

They added: “The spurious allegations being made about the involvement of the hunt are, however, completely unfounded.

Oxford Mail:

Hunt in Gloucestershire. Picture: Emily Lawrence and Roisin Wood

“The hunt has made their own enquiries and understand the deer emerged onto the road from the opposite side to where the hunt was conducting their activities and therefore the deer were effectively running towards the hunt, not away from them.

"It is also our understanding that the anti-hunting monitors themselves were walking through the countryside on the same side of the road as the deer originated and it is therefore highly likely that the monitors actually flushed the deer out and headed them towards the road.”

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A Gloucestershire police spokeswoman said officers were called at around 9.30am to reports of a deer hit by a car.

She added: “There was a report of a hunt nearby which may have startled the deer where it then ran onto the road and was struck by a car and died.

"The hunt organisers will be spoken to and given words of advice not to hunt near main roads.

"The car was damaged and the driver was not physically injured.

"No arrests have been made.”