Hunting Terms

Accounted for

Hunting euphemism for the killing of the fox. Also known as Bowled Over, Brought to Book, Punished, Dealt With.

Autumn hunting

See Cub hunting

Babble

A hound babbles when it speaks unnecessarily.

Balled up

A coursed hare has balled up feet when they are clay clogged.

Beaters

People on foot moving in a line abreast to drive an animal quarry towards guns or hunters.

Biddable

Hounds are said to be biddable when they are at their most responsive, that is, when they have just checked.

Blank

A huntsman and hounds draw a blank when they fail to put up a quarry from the area they were searching. The covert can said to be blank.Failure to find quarry all day is a blank day.

Body corporate

The legal term for a corporation, i.e. a limited company.

Bolt

To cause the quarry to leave a place of shelter or underground refuge so that it may be chased or killed. In fox and mink hunting the quarry was often bolted by use of terriers so that it could be hunted again by hounds.

Brace

Two foxes, hares or game birds.

Break

The quarry is said to break when it leaves a covert.

Break up

The eating of the quarry by hounds.

Bring to bay

Hounds bring a deer to bay to bay when they run it to exhaustion and it turns to face them.

Brush

The fox’s tail.

Buck

A male Fallow or Roe deer; also a male hare.

Bye-day

Any hunting day other than on that is advertised; an extra day.

Cap

A donation made by hut supporters on the day of the meet.

Cast

When hounds search for the lost line of the quarry.The huntsman may take charge of the pack and cast the hounds towards where he/she thinks the hounds will pick up the line or the hounds may cast themselves.

Charlie

Hunting term for the fox. Also Charles James and Mr Todd.

Check

When hounds temporarily lose the line.

Chop

The killing of the quarry by the hounds without a chase.

Clapped

When a hare has stopped and hides herself by flattening her body on the ground.

Couch

See Seat.

Country

The area within which a particular pack hunts.

Couple

Two hounds. Packs of hounds are counted in couples. A single hound is one hound, not half a couple.

Covert

Pronounced “cover”. Generally used to describe a wood but also a hedge, gorse, thicket or field where a fox may lay for shelter.

Cry

See Speak.

Cubbing or cub hunting

The period immediately preceding fox hunting. Starts from around mid to late August until the Opening meet normally the last Saturday in October or the first Saturday in November when young hounds are trained to hunt and fox cubs are predominately hunted. Also known as Autumn hunting.

Digging Out

The use of spades, metal bars or even adapted walking sticks to dig down into a tunnel system to find a fox. Terriers were used to locate the fox before it was killed.

Doe

A female Fallow deer or Roe deer. also a female hare.

Drag

Scent left by a hare or a mink. In drag hunting the drag is the artificial scent laid for the hounds to follow.

Draw

When hounds search through covert in search of the quarry.

Draw a blank

To draw a covert without finding the quarry.

Earth

An underground tunnel where a fox may take refuge that can include a badger sett or drain.

Earth stopper

Someone employed by the hunt to block or ‘stop’ fox earths and badger setts in the areas to be hunted. This occurs prior to the hunt taking place, normally the night before.

Entered

An entered hound is one that has hunted for one season or more. During the first season the hound may be referred to an an un-entered hound.

Falconry

Hunting with the aid of birds of prey.

Feather

When a hound thinks it owns the line but is uncertain it will not speak and instead will wave its tail (stern) or ‘feather’ and move along the assumed line.

Flush

The use of dogs to cause the quarry to flee from it’s cover.

Foil

Any smell or disturbed ground that spoils the line.

Form

See Seat.

Given best

When the quarry is allowed to escape.

Gone away

When the fox has left covert and the chase is on.

Gone to earth

See Gone to ground.

Gone to ground

When the hunted fox has taken refuge underground; usually a fox earth or badger sett but could include a drain, log pile or hay bale. Also Gone to Earth and Run to Ground.

Harbourer

A local deer expert employed by a stag hunt to select a suitable stag for hunting.

Hare Coursing

Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares by two dogs, predominantly greyhounds. The dogs are released from leads by a man called a “slipper” to chase the hare, and judges assess their skill in making the hare “turn” as it flees.

Headed

When the quarry is made to change direction.

Heel

Hounds are hunting heel or are hunting the heel line when they hunt the line in the opposite direction to which the quarry has run.

Her

The hunted hare is referred to as ‘her’ irrespective of whether it is male or female.

Him

The hunted fox is always referred to as ‘him’ irrespective of whether it is male or female.

Hind

Female Red deer.

Holding up

Fox hunting: Positioning the field/foot followers around a covert to keep the fox cubs and hounds inside during cub hunting. Hare hunting: Keeping the hounds in a tight group around the huntsman.

Holloa

Pronounced ‘holler’. A high-pitched yell made by a person who has seen the quarry to attract the attention of the huntsman and is often accompanied by holding a cap or arm in the air in the direction taken by the quarry.

Hounds

Dogs that hunt by scent are referred to as hounds.

Jink

A sharp right-angled turn by the quarry to evade the pursuing hounds.

Laid-on

When hounds are introduced to the line.

Law

Fox hunting: The start given to a bolted fox before the hounds are released onto it’s line. Hare coursing: The start given to a hare before the greyhounds are released.

Line

The scent left by the running quarry.

Locator

A radio receiving device used to track the signals from a radio transmitting device which is attached to the collar of a terrier used underground. The terrierman scans the ground above the tunnel system listening for the signal which indicated the progress and position of the terrier underground. Also Terrier finder.

Mark

When hounds bay at the entrance of an earth or place where a fox has sought refuge.

Marking to ground

See Mark.

Mask

The dead fox or hare’s head.

Meet

The arranged meeting place of a hunt.

Meet card

A list of dates and times when hunting will take place along with the location of the meet.

Opening meet

The start of formal hunting.

Overrun

When hounds shoot passed a change in direction of the line.

Own

Hounds are said to own the line when they pick up a scent.

Pads

Hunting term for the dead fox’s paws.

Point

The distance from putting up the quarry to the place at which hounds kill or lose it, measured as the crow flies. The actual distance is described ‘as the hounds ran’.

Point rider

The whipper-in or member of the field positioned at a strategic point on the edge of a covert to alert the huntsman if the quarry breaks.

Puss

Hunting term for a hare.

Put up

An animal is said to be put up when it is frightened by the hounds into running from them rather than remaining where it is.

Quarry

The hunted animal in any kind of hunting.

Ratcatcher

A tweed jacket. Worn during cub hunting and by visitors riding with the hunt.

Rate

When a hound is reprimanded. The huntsman or whipper-in rates a hound or hounds when it/they riots or strays too far from the pack. He/she will shout in harsh tones "leave it", "get back to ‘im" or similar and can be accompanied with whip cracking.

Riot

When hounds hunt something other than their intended quarry.

Run to ground

See Gone to ground.

Scrape

See Seat.

Season

Runs from the 1st May to the 30th April. The actual start of hunting varies between different hunts and types of hunting.

Seat

The small depression in the ground dug by a hare in which she lays. Also known as Scrape or Form.

Shy

The structure that hides the ‘slipper’ from the hare as it is urged forward into the field at a hare coursing event.

Sinking

A fox is said to be sinking when it is very tired.

Slipper

The person who releases the two greyhounds to chase a hare at a coursing event.

Slots

The feet of deer or their footprints. The slots are removed after the kill and mounted.

Speak

Hounds are said to speak or are speaking when they yelp or bark excitedly when following a scent. Also known as Giving tongue, Voice or In cry.

Stalk

To hunt quarry by following it stealthily or waiting in ambush.

Stern

A hound’s tail.

Stopping out

The practice of blocking up fox earth and badger sett entrances prior to a hunt taking place, to prevent the hunted fox from going to ground.

Tally-Ho

Pronounced Tally-O. A call made to indicate that a fox has been seen. If the huntsman is not in speaking distance a ‘holloa’ would be given instead.

Tally-ho away

A call to indicate that the fox has left covert. Also Gone away.

Tally-ho back

A call to indicate that the fox has returned to covert from whence it came.

Tally-ho over

Call made to indicate that the fox has crossed a road, track or a clearing in covert. Also Tally-Over.

The rut

The mating season for deer and runs from the end of September to November. During the rut or rutting period mature stags leave their bachelor groups to seek out hinds at traditional rutting sites where they attempt to defend groups of hinds in an attempt to prevent mating from other stags. During the rut the stags will engage in roaring contests which may escalate in parallel walking and locking of antlers.

Throw up

When hounds lose the line and check they lift their heads and look around for help or ‘throw up’.

Tongue

See Speak.

Trencher fed

Term used for hounds that are not looked after as a pack but by individuals and brought together as a pack on hunting days.

Tufters

The more experienced hounds in a pack used to separate the harboured stag from the rest of the herd.

Voice

See Speak.