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Glossary of Fox Hunting Terms


ALL ON: All hounds in, present and accounted for.​

AWAY: A fox has “gone away” when he has left covert. Hounds are “away” when they have left covert on the line of a fox.

BABBLE: to give tongue on scent other than fox (or intended game), on no scent at all, or on a scent too faint to follow.

BLANK: To draw a blank is to fail to find a fox.

BUTTON: The distinctive button of a hunt. Members may not wear the hunt buttons until they have been awarded their colors by the Masters.

BYE: A bye day is a hunting day not scheduled on the fixture card (an extra dividend).

CAP: 1) Headgear for foxhunters. 2) A fee that is paid by non-subscribing members for a day of hunting, "capping".

CAPPING FEE:  A fee charged for hunting with a hunt of which one is not a member. To avoid potential embarrassment, a GBH member who hunts at the invitation of another hunt should be prepared to pay a capping fee to that hunt.

CAST: 1) A planned move in search of a line (trail of the fox's or coyote's scent).  2) To make a cast. Hounds may cast themselves or the huntsman may cast them into covert. 

CHECK: An interruption of the run caused by hounds losing the line. 

COLORS: 1) The distinctive colors that distinguish the uniform of one hunt from another. Usually a distinctive color of the collar on a scarlet or black coat. 2) To be awarded or given the colors is to be given the right to wear them as well as the hunt buttons.

COOP: A two-sided sloped wooden jump built into a wire or wooden fence. It is normally three feet to three feet six inches high. 

COUPLE: 1) Two hounds (any sex) for convenience in counting. 2) A collar for keeping two hounds attached to each other for convenience in control of training. 3) To attach two hounds together by the use of couples.

COVERT: (Pronounced “cover”.) A patch of woods or brush where a fox might be found. 

CROP: The stiff portion of a hunting whip to which the thong is attached. (The whole whip, i.e. crop, thong, and lash, should not be referred to as a crop.)

CRY: The sound given by hounds when driving and trailing, e.g. “The pack is in full cry.”

CUB: A young fox.

CUBBING: Early training before the formal season … a time to train young hounds and less experienced horses to the sport. Cubbing is also a good time for new members to learn the country and to become comfortable hunting.

CUR-DOG: A dog other than a foxhound in the hunting field.

DOG HOUND: A male foxhound.

DOUBLE: To “double the horn” is to blow a series of short sharp notes. Signifies a fox is afoot. Used to excite the hounds at the early find of a fox.

DOUBLE-BACK: A fox that returns to covert after having left it is said to double-back.

DRAW: 1) To search for a fox in a certain area, e.g. “to draw a covert.” 2) The act of drawing, e.g. “Thorny Wood is a difficult draw.”

DRIVE: The urge to go forward on the line, e.g. “That hound has drive.” 

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

EARTH: Any place where a fox goes to ground for protection but usually a place where foxes live regularly, i.e. a fox den

ENTER: A hound is “entered” when he is first regularly used for hunting. This year's "entry” are the hounds entered or to be entered this season.

FEATHER: A hound “feathers” when he indicates, by actions rather than by voice, that he is hunting on a line or near it. The tail (or “stern”) is waved, the head is down and activity is concentrated and intensified.

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

FIELD MASTER: The person designated by the MFHs to control the Field. A Master may designate himself as Field Master.

FIXTURE CARD: A fixture card is a card sent out by the Hunt Secretary to list the fixtures for a given period.

FLIGHT: (First and Second): The Golden's Bridge Hounds Field is usually divided into two Flights. Riders in First Flight should expect to jump all obstacles when on a run, maintaining a very fast pace. Their horses and riding ability must be appropriately prepared. Second Flight maintains a quieter pace, usually going through gates instead of jumping obstacles. Third Flight is typically for slower riders who want to position themselves in a spot where one is likely to see the action, ie: at a hilltop. (also called hilltoppers.)  

FORWARD REVERSE FIELD: a term used by field masters to let their flight know that the flight needs to turn around. The correct method to do this is to follow the horse in front of you as the field reverses direction.  The riders in front reverse directions as the riders in the back move to the side and continue to walk forward as the field changes direction.  If a horse tries to "jump the line" to move with the front of the field the rider should keep him in line and hind end facing away from the other horses.

GOING: The condition of the ground as it pertains to a horse‟s ability to safely gallop, such as “hard”, “deep” or “wet”.

GONE AWAY: 1) A fox has “gone away” when he has left covert. Hounds are “away” when they have left covert on the line of a fox. 2) A sound blown on the horn by the Huntsman to indicate that the fox has left the cover with hounds in pursuit.

GROUND: “To go to ground.” To take shelter (usually underground), e.g. “The fox went to ground in the main earth east of the swamp.”

HACK: To ride one's horse to the hunt meet. 

HARK: 1) "Please be quiet 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. This usually causes a check. This is one of the primary reasons that it is unacceptable for any Field Member to be anywhere but in his or her proper position in the field! This is also referred to as “turning game”.

HEEL: Backward. Hounds following the line in the opposite direction from the way the fox runs are running “heel”. Also called “counter”.

HILL TOPPERS: Third Flight. See “Flight” above. 

HOLD HARD: “Stop please.” The field should come to an immediate stop. This frequent command requires proper riding on a properly schooled horse. Running up on the horse in front is unacceptable. 

HOLDING UP: Restraining the hounds close to the Huntsman.

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

HONORARY: A term used before the titles of Huntsman, Secretary, Treasurer, or Whipper-In which designates that they are volunteers and not professionals who are paid by the Hunt. 

HOUND: A fox hunting dog.

HOUND WALK: The Huntsman and Staff take the hounds out to “walk” in the late summer to ready their fitness and training for the approaching hunt season.

HUNT WHIP: The assembly of a crop, thong, and lash is known as a hunt whip.

HUNTSMAN: The man or woman who hunts the hounds in the woods and fields.

LARK: To jump fences unnecessarily when hounds are not running or on non-hunting days. May annoy Masters and/or landowners. Not recommended.

LASH: (“Popper.”) The short piece of cord (occasionally leather) attached to the end of the whip thong away from the crop. Sometimes improperly applied to both thong and lash as a unit.

LIFT: To carry hounds forward. Usually implies that hounds were hunting when lifted.

LINE: The trail of the fox.

LITTER: A group of young born of the same mother at the same time. In foxhunting, applies to whelps (puppies) or cubs. Equally correct when applied to kittens or piglets.

MARK: When the hounds account for a fox up a tree or gone aground by baying.

MASTER: The MFH. The person(s) in command of the Hunt in the field and kennels.

MEET: 1) The assembling of the Hunt for a day's sport, e.g. “The Meet tomorrow is at …” or “Hounds meet tomorrow at …”. The actual location is called the meet.

MUSIC: The cry of the hounds is called hound-music.

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

OPEN: A hound is said to “open” when he first speaks on a line.

PACK: The Hunt's collection of hounds.

PAD: 1) The foot of a fox. 2) The center cushion of a hound's foot.

PANEL: 1) The portion of any fence between two posts capable of being jumped by a horse. 2) A wooden jump built into a wire or wooden fence. It is normally three feet to three feet six inches high. Sloped jumps are referred to as coops.

PICK-UP: The Huntsman picks up the hounds (or lifts them) to move them to another covert or to go home.

POINT: 1) The straight line distance made good in a run, e.g. “That was a six-mile point, but twelve miles hounds ran.” 2) The location to which a whipper-in is sent to watch for a fox to go away.

QUARRY: The game (fox, coyote, and occasionally bobcat) hunted by hounds.

RATCATCHER: Informal hunting attire. Also correct for cubbing season.

RATE: A warning cry given by staff to correct hounds. A scolding set of words to hounds such as “Back to him” or “Ware riot.” 

RIDE: A lane cut through the woods.

RIOT: When the hounds hunt anything other than a fox or coyote. Deer are the most common riot.

RUN: A period during which hounds are actually hunting on the line of the fox. This usually implies a gallop for the Field as opposed to a “hunt in covert after a twisting fox.

SCENT: The smell of a fox. The physical and chemical phenomena by which the smell gets from the fox's footprints to the hound's nose. Scent can be good or bad, meaning easy to follow or difficult. It depends in general on the weather.

SPEAK: To give voice or tongue. To open. Usually of a single hound, e.g. “I heard Runaway speak on a line.”

STAFF: The Joint Masters, Huntsman and Whippers-In.

STERN: Tail of a hound.

STIRRUP CUP: A liquid toast offered at fox hunting meets.

TALLY HO: A call by a Staff member who views the game. It can be given by a field member if no staff views. Remove your hat and point it in the direction in which you saw the game move. It is intended to advise the Huntsman, Masters and Staff of the location of the quarry.

THONG: The long flexible leather portion of a hunting whip joining the last to the crop.  

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

TONGUE: Cry. A hound “gives tongue” or “speaks” when he proclaims with his voice that he is on the line.

VIEW: See (or sight of) the fox.

VIEW HOLLOA: The name of the cry given by a person upon viewing a fox. This tradition primordial scream is reserved for Masters, Huntsman and Staff. When you, as a Field member, are the first to view the quarry, you should call “Tally Ho”, remove your hat and point it in the direction in which you saw the game move.

VIXEN: A female fox.

WALK: Puppies are “sent out at walk” in the summer and fall of their first year, sometimes in the care of members of the Hunt, to teach them about people and the sights and sounds outside the kennel.

WARE: Short for "beware". A caution 1) to riders, e.g. “Ware wire.” 2) to hounds, e.g. “Ware riot.” When said, you should do so in a voice loud enough for whoever is directly behind you, while pointing to the wire, hole, etc., but not excessively loud as to disturb sport.

WHELP: A young puppy, or to bear puppies, e.g. “That hound was whelped on 3/6/97.”

WHIPPER-IN: A Staff member who assists the Huntsman in the control of the hounds. The Field always yields to Staff.

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