GLOSSARY OF HUNTING TERMS
courtesy of and adapted from the Chagrin Valley Hunt
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 they have left the 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. Can also be applied to the conversation that field members engage in during checks.
BLANK To draw blank is to fail to find a fox.
BRUSH A fox’s tail is always called the brush.
BUTTON To receive, or be awarded the hunt buttons and colors.
BYE A “bye” day is a hunting day not scheduled on the fixture card.
CAP A fee that is paid by non-subscribers for a day of hunting, “capping.”
CHECK An interruption in a run caused by hounds temporarily losing the line. (Checks provide a welcome “refreshment” break from the action for the riders!)
COLORS (1) Colors that distinguish the uniform of a particular hunt. (2) To be awarded colors is to be given the right to wear them. Colors may include a unique vest, a specific color felt collar for one’s hunt coat, hunt logo buttons and males with colors wear scarlet
Charlie is a fixture at LCH events
COUPLE Two hounds, for convenience in counting. Hounds are always referred to as so many couple. Generally an odd number is taken out hunting, “We have 14-and-a-half couple out today.” A couple is also a device for keeping two hounds attached to each other for training purposes.
COVERT (Pronounced “cover”) A patch of woods or brush where a fox might be found.
CRY The sound given by hounds when hunting, also referred to as “music.”
CUB A young fox.
CUBBING No longer in use. Now called “informal” or “autumn” season.
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.
DRAW To search for a fox in the covert.
DRIVE The urge to get forward 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 is “entered” when he is first regularly used for hunting. Puppies in their first season of hunting are referred to as “young entry.”
FEATHER A hound “feathers” when he indicates, by actions rather than voice, that he is on a line, or near it. The stern is waved and activity is concentrated and intensified.
FIELD The group of people riding to hounds, excluding the MFH and Staff.
FIELD MASTER The person designated to lead the field. The Field Master may, or may not be a MFH.
FIXTURE CARD The card sent out to list the times and meeting places for the given period, usually one month.
FORMAL ATTIRE During the “formal” hunt season, proper attire includes a gray (black for all intents and purposes) Melton coat, a white hunting, or stock tie with simple horizontal gold safety pin, a canary waistcoat (vest), black boots, buff, or canary breeches (no rust or white, please), wash, black, or brown leather gloves, or white string gloves, and a safety helmet. Optional formal wear would include a frock coat, or a shadbelly (a double-breasted coat with long tails). Bowlers and top hats were once de riguer in the hunt field, but are no longer allowed for safety considerations. (See LCH attire requirements)
GROUND “To go to Ground” means that the fox has taken shelter, usually in a groundhog hole.
HARK (1) “Be quiet and listen!” (2) Hounds rushing to a hound that has opened on a line.
HEAD To “head” a fox is to cause it to turn from its planned direction of travel, not a wise move for any hunter.
HEEL Hounds following a line the wrong way, backwards.
HILL TOPPERS Those who follow hounds on horseback at a distance behind the regular field without jumping. This is referred to a “Second Flight/Second Field” in some hunts, as the “Third Flight/Third Field” in others
HOLD HARD STOP! If the Master or a Staff person tells you to “Hold Hard,” do not make them repeat the command!
HONOR A hound “honors” when he gives tongue on a line that another hound has been hunting.
HUNTSMAN A Staff member who trains the hounds, hunts the hounds, and controls them in the field. Some hunts have a professional Huntsman; others have a Master, or Joint Master who acts as the Huntsman, while others have a dedicated volunteer Huntsman.
INFORMAL SEASON Early hunting before the formal season begins. Used to train the “young entry,” or foxhound puppies.
LARK To jump a fence unnecessarily when hounds are not running. Considered very bad form, and the source of a surprising number of accidents.
LIFT To carry hounds forward.
LINE The trail of the fox.
LITTER Young born of the same mother at the same time. In foxhunting it applies to whelps (puppies), as well as 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 way quite different from his hunting voice. Hounds are congratulated at this point and are called off, leaving the fox for another day.
MASTER The MFH (Master of Fox Hounds). The person who is in command of the hunt, both in the field and in the kennels.
MEET (1) The assembling of the hunt for a day’s sport. (2) The actual place where the hunt assembles can be called either the “meet” or the “fixture.”
MELTON A traditional gray (black) hunt coat is made from Melton cloth. Melton cloth is heavy dense wool that repels water and can withstand being dragged through thorns and other obstacles of the hunt field without damage.
NOSE The ability of the hound to detect and interpret the scent.
OPEN A hound is said to “open” when he first gives tongue on a line.
PAD The foot of a fox, or the center cushion of a hound’s foot.
PANEL A jumpable fence between two posts. Often fences are solid panel, “chicken coop” style.
POINT (1) The straight-line distance covered in a run. (2) The location to which a whipper-in is sent to watch for a fox to go away from the covert.
RATCATCHER Informal hunting attire. This could include a lightweight tweed or madras (it gets hot in August) hacking jacket, buff, canary, or rust colored breeches, black or brown boots (field boots are acceptable), a cotton blouse with a choker collar (for ladies), an oxford style shirt with tie for men. A stock tie is always acceptable. Gloves should be wash, brown, or black leather (black gloves can stain hands when wet). String gloves are also appropriate. A hunting bowler, or a safety helmet is a must.
RATE A warning cry given to correct hounds.
RIDE A lane or path cut through the woods.
RIOT Hounds hunting game other than fox.
RUN When the hounds find the line of a fox they quickly move off in pursuit. This usually means a nice gallop for the field.
SCENT The smell of the fox, and the physical and chemical phenomena by which the smell is transferred from the fox’s footprint to the hound’s nose. Scent can be good or bad, meaning easy or difficult to follow. The science of “scent” is constantly debated and generally not well understood. There are some broadly agreed upon determinants of scent including humidity (high humidity is favored), temperature (cool temperatures are favored), and moisture content of the ground (scent does not hold well if the ground is excessively dry).
SPEAK For a hound to give tongue.
STAFF The Joint-Masters, Huntsman, and Whippers-In.
STERN The tail of a hound.
THONG 1) A skimpy bathing suit, not appropriate hunting attire. (2) The long flexible braided leather portion of a hunting whip.
THRUSTER OK, OK, this is serious! A “thruster” is a member of the field who rides too close to staff or hounds.
TONGUE Watch it, now! 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 have a view, they should quietly inform the Master.
VIEW HALLOA The high-pitched cry given only by a staff member on viewing a fox breaking covert.
WALK To exercise the hounds. Puppies are walked during the summer for training.
WARE A caution to riders: “Ware hole!” “Ware wire!” “Ware hound!”
WHELP A young puppy, or to bear puppies.
WHIPPER-IN A Staff member who assists the Huntsman in controlling the hounds.