BOXING Day hunt supporters turned out in force yesterday in a show of defiance against the Government and protesters.
The Countryside Alliance said more than 250,000 people supported 300 meets on a big day in the hunting calendar.
The news followed reports that ministers could try to lift the ban on fox hunting by appointing a commission to show the benefits of the sport.
A joint committee of both Houses could be set up to examine the pros and cons of the activity.
Hunting foxes was made illegal more than a decade ago, with artificially laid trails now used for horses and riders.
Some 6,000 supporters turned up at the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire. Prime Minister David Cameron was once pictured there.
Joint-master Vanessa Lambert said: “The support we have from our community is absolutely fantastic.”
The Quorn Hunt, in Leicestershire, that has been going for more than 300 years, attracted 200 riders and about 3,000 spectators.
Secretary Peter Morritt said: “We are very much part of the Leicestershire rural community and we have tremendous support from not only the farming community but everyone really.”
Protests were reported to have taken place at some hunts, with “angry scuffles” at Lewes, East Sussex.
Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch is against lifting the ban.
She said: “Fox hunting is a pursuit from the past and like the majority of the population I believe that is where it should stay. Parliament has better things to be concerned with.”
A poll by the League Against Cruel Sports said eight out of 10 people believe fox hunting should remain illegal.