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Glossary of Foxhunting Terms

All on

All hounds in, present and accounted for.

Away

A fox has “gone away” when he has left the covert (cover). Hounds are “away” when the have left covert on the line of a fox.

Babble

To give tongue on scent other than fox, on no scent at all, or on a scent too faint to follow.

Blank

To draw blank is to fail to find a fox.

Brush

A fox’s tail is always called a brush.

Bye

A bye day is a hunting day not scheduled on the fixture card.

Caliente

A large round, plain safety helmet used primarily by jockeys and event riders that can be covered with a velvet cover and worn in the hunt field.

Cap

A fee that is paid by non-subscribers for a day of hunting, “capping”.

Capping fee

A fee paid by nonmembers

Casting

Instructing hounds to spread out in search of the fox.

Charlie

The fox (also Todd).

Check

An interruption of the run caused by hounds losing the line temporarily.

Colors

1. Colors that distinguish the uniform of the hunt.
2. To be awarded colors is to be given the right, or honor to wear a Hunt Club’s individual colors.

Coop

A wooden plank jump shaped like a triangle from the side, often built into a fenceline to allow the Hunt to cross fenced pastures at a slightly lower height.

Couple

1. Two hounds for convenience of counting.
2. A device for keeping two hounds attached for training.

Covert

(pronounced cover) A patch of woods or brush where fox might be found.

Crop

The stiff portion of the hunting whip, to which the thong and lash are attached.

Cry

The sound given by hounds hunting.

Cub

A young fox.

Cubbing

Early hunting before the formal season begins to benefit the young entry.

Double

To blow a series of short sharp notes “double the horn”. Signifies a fox is afoot.

Double Back

A fox that returns to covert after having left is said to double back.

Drag

Scent left by a fox

Drag Hunt

A fox hunt in which hounds trace a man or track an artificially laid scent line.

Draw

To search for a fox in the covert.

Drive

The urge to get forward well with the line. “That hound has drive.”

Dwell

To hunt without getting forward. A hound that lacks drive is apt to dwell.

Earth

A place where a fox goes to ground for protection, but usually a place where foxes live regularly – a fox den.

Enter

A hound has “entered” when he is first regularly used for hunting.

Feather

A hound “feathers” when he indicates, by actions rather than voice, that he is on a line or near it.

Field

The group of people riding to the hounds, excluding the MFH and Staff.

Field Master

The person designated by the MFHs to control the field in their absence.

Fixture Card

The card sent out to list the times and meeting places for the given hunt period.

Foiling

Spoiling of fox scent by water, fertilizer or distracting scents.

Giving Best

Awarding the fox the victory, if he has evaded the hounds and hunters.

Ground

“To go to ground” is to take shelter in a hole.

Hark

1. “Please be quite and listen.”
2. Hounds rushing to a hound that has opened, or found a line.

Head

To head a fox is to cause it to turn from its planned direction of travel; every effort is made not to do this.

Heel

Backward; hounds following the line the wrong way are running “heel.”

Hill Toppers

Those who follow the hounds on horseback, or car, at a distance behind the regular field without jumping.

Hold Hard

Signaled by a vertically raised forearm, requires that you stop quickly where you are and quietly stand still. Riders should raise their own arm while stopping to alert riders behind them of the sudden stop.

Holding Up

Restraining the hounds close to the huntsmen.

Holloa

The high

Honor

A hound “honors” when he gives tongue on a line that another hound has been hunting.

Hound

A fox hunting dog

Hunting Whip

The crop, thong, and lash are known as the hunting whip.

Huntsman

A Staff member who trains the hounds, hunts the hounds and controls them in the field.

Lark

To jump a fence unnecessarily when hounds are not running.

Lash

The short piece of cord attached to the end of the whip thong. See also thong.

Lift

To carry hounds forward.

Line

The trail of the fox.

Litter

Young born of the same mother at the same time. In fox hunting it applies to whelps (puppies) or fox cubs.

Mark

A hound “marks” when he indicates that a fox has gone to ground. He stops at the earth, tries to dig his way in, and gives tongue in a different way than his hunting voice.

Mask

The head of a fox.

Master                                                                                                    The MFH. The person in command of the hunt in the field and the kennels.

Meet

1. The assembling of the hunt for a day’s sport.
2. The actual place is called the meet.

Nose

The ability of a hound to detect and interpret the scent.

Open

A hound is said to “open” when he first gives tongue on a line. See also tongue.

Pad

The foot of a fox, or, the center cushion of a hound’s foot.

Panel

A jumpable fence between two posts.

Point

1. The straight line distance made good in a run.
2. The location to which a Whipper-In is sent to watch for a fox who may leave the covert.

Quarry

The fox or other animal being hunted.

Ratcatcher

Informal hunt attire, and is follows.

Rate

A warning cry given to correct the hounds.

Ride

A lane cut through the woods.

Riot

Anything the hounds might hunt they shouldn’t.

Run

Describes action after hounds find the line of a fox. This usually implies a gallop for the field.

Scent

The smell of the fox, and the physical and chemical phenomena by which the smell gets from the fox’s footprints to the hounds nose. Scent can be good or bad, meaning easy or difficult to follow. It depends in general on the weather – dry, hot weather leaving less scent.

Speak

For a hound to give tongue.

Staff

The Joint Masters, Huntsman and Whippers-In.

Stern

Tail of a hound.

Stirrup cup

A liquid toast offered at fox hunting meets.

Stirrup Cup                                                                                                  A dubious award to be “won” by any member who suffers the indignity of an “unintentional dismount” during the hunt season. The recipients of the stirrup cup are responsible for the purchase of drink to be shared at the closing hunt toast, so called because it was originally a drink held at stirrup iron level by the person serving.

Tally Ho

Yelled by the staff member who views the fox. Can also be given by a member of the field if no staff views. Members of the field should be very careful to only tally-ho when they are certain they are viewing the hunted fox that the staff hasn’t seen.

Thong

The long, flexible, braided leather portion of a hunting whip joining the lash to the crop.

Thruster

A member of the field who rides too close to the Staff or hounds.

Tongue

Cry, a hound gives “tongue” when he proclaims with his voice that he is on the line of a fox.

View

To actually see the fox. Should a member of the field view, they should quietly inform the Master right away.

View Holloa

The high pitched cry given only by a staff member on viewing a fox breaking covert.

Vixen                                                                                                             A Female fox

Walk

Puppies are walked during the summer for training.

Ware

Short for “beware.” Used to warn following riders of some danger, as in, “Ware wire!” or “Ware hole!” When said, you should do so in a voice loud enough to be heard by whomever is behind you, but not at the top of your lungs. Point to the hole, wire, etc. as you speak.

Whelp

A young puppy, or to bear puppies.

Whipper-In

A Staff member who assists the Huntsmen in the control of the hounds.