Four men from the Isle of Wight have pleaded not guilty to illegally hunting with dogs in a private prosecution brought by an animal welfare group.
Stuart Trousdale, of Gatcombe, Jamie Butcher, of Ryde, and Liam Thom, of Rookley, are charged with hunting a fox with dogs. Malcolm Purcell, of Blackwater, is charged with hunting with dogs.
They are expected to argue they were using an eagle owl, in the case brought by the League Against Cruel Sports. It is the first time the falconry exemption would be tested in the courts since the Hunting Act came into force in February 2005.
The charges against Mr Butcher, of Ashey Road, Mr Thom, of Highwood Lane, Mr Trousdale, of The Kennels, and Mr Purcell, of Blackwater Mill Farm, relate to an incident on 29 November, 2006.