School pupils on a cross country run had to jog past mutilated animal carcasses after being sent into the path of a deer hunt.
Teachers at West Buckland School in North Devon plotted a route across Exmoor National Park - unaware of the clash.
The moorland jaunt soon turned to horror as participants as young as 12 had to weave past bloodied remains in the aftermath of the Devon and Somerset staghound hunt.
Dad Richard Holloway heard about the incident when his shaken daughter Heather, 12, came home from school.
Mr Holloway, 52, said: "They were charging around with their vehicles and the children saw deer bodies being hauled away on the back of quad bikes.
"It was in front of everybody, the kids could see everything. My daughter came home very upset.
"They didn't care about the children's safety. The bodies were shredded and ripped.
"I am totally against blood sports. I am not a campaigner or a hunt saboteur I just think it is cruel."
Headmaster John Vick apologised for the "disturbing" incident in his Easter end-of-term letter to parents who pay fees of up to £15,000 a year to send their kids to the 700-pupil independent day and boarding school.
But he blamed hunts followers for ignoring warnings that children were present.
He wrote: "I was very disturbed to learn that many of our runners, staff and spectators were alarmed by riders on quad bikes and horseback, as well as by some vehicles attached to the hunt.
"I am told there appeared to be little regard by some individuals following the hunt for the safety of the children.
"A small number appear to have ignored the efforts of teachers to alert them to the fact they were operating close to children."
Mr Vick assured parents he had sought an explanation from Guy Thomas-Everard, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds.
In a statement issued by the school - established in 1858; motto "Read and Reap" - he added: "It was deeply unfortunate and regrettable the events clashed.
"This is the first time this has occurred and while no one came to any harm, we are working with Devon and Somerset Staghounds to understand how this happened and avoid it in future."
Mr Thomas-Everard apologised for the incident but said the men seen loading remains onto quad bikes were hunt followers and not an official part of the hunt.
He said: "If there was an incident at the school with parents speeding through the village, the headmaster would ask them to be more careful, and I will be doing the same with the hunt followers.
"We are sorry we ran into the event. We will take steps to stop it happening again."