Hunting Terminology

“The Hunting world has a language all of its own!”

Autumn Hunting
The early part of hunting, usually from mid to late August until the Opening Meet.

Babbler or babbling
A hound that speaks when it is not hunting is said to be a babbler or babbling. However it is quite normal for bloodhounds to babble when they move off from the meet or when they approach the start of a hunt.

Brace
Two foxes.

Cap
A daily charge for non-subscribers. You should always offer your cap, not wait to be asked for it.

Casting
Hounds are looking for the line. The huntsman may cast the hounds towards where he thinks the hounds will pick it up.

Check
When the hounds lose the line.

Cold Marking
If hounds find a hole with a fox already in it, but which they did not hunt, they cold mark the hole.

Couple
Two hounds. Couples are also two collars linked on a chain and can be seen hanging on the hunt staff’s saddles.

Enlarge
The quarry is said to be “enlarged” at the point where the hunt starts.

Entered
An entered hound is a hound that has done a season’s hunting. Feather
Hounds are said to feather or be feathering when they have the line but are unable to speak to it.

Field
The mounted followers.

Field Master
The person in charge of leading and controlling the Field during the days hunting.

Foot-Follower
Hunt members who follow hounds either on foot, bicycle or in a car.

Foil
Any smell or disturbed ground which spoils the scent line of the quarry.

Gone Away
When the quarry breaks out of cover and runs he has gone away Gone to ground
When a fox goes down a hole to get away from the hounds.

“Good Morning”
The appropriate greeting at the meet – should always be said to the Master at the start of the day.

“Good Night”
The correct way to say goodbye at the end of the days hunting, even if it was an Autumn Hunting morning which ended before midday.

Green Ribbon
Should be worn on the tail of a young horse.

Hand behind the back
Means this horse might kick if you crowd it.

Hand in the air by gateway
Signal to people coming towards a gate, but out of hearing, that the gate should be shut. The response to which should be to hold your hand in the air to show you have got the message and will shut the gate.

Heel
Hounds are hunting heel when they hunt the reverse direction on the line of the quarry.

“Hold Hard”
Shouted by the Field Master means to stop and stay where you are.

Hot Bitches
In season bitches.

Holloa (holler)
The call given when the quarry has been viewed. You should never holloa when hounds are speaking as they might lift from the scent.

Hoic Holloa
When the Huntsman has heard a holloa but needs to check the direction he shouts “Hoic holloa”. You should then holloa back to him.

Hound
All scent hunting dogs are referred to as hounds. It is the duty of mounted followers to keep out of the way of the hounds, NOT vice versa.

Huntsman
The man who hunts the hounds. There is only one huntsman on the hunting field, and he has absolute right of way at all times.

Hunt Button & Collar
Subscribers who have gained knowledge and been helpful to the hunt may be awarded the hunt button and collars of the hunt. The buttons are black for women and brass for men, with the hunt logo. The collar is varied individual to the hunt.

Hunt Staff
The people responsible for working the hounds. i.e. Huntsman and Whippers-in, both professional and amateur.

Kennel Huntsman
The kennel huntsman is responsible for the hounds in kennels, for feeding and execising them etc. A professional huntsman is his/her own kennel huntsman but if the master hunts the hounds the hounds him/herself then a kennel huntsman is employed  who is normally also the whipper-in.

Kennelman
The kennelman works in the kennels under the kennel huntsman and looks after the hounds in kennels, assuring that all tasks are completed when the pack and hunt servants return from hunting.

“Kick on”
You may get this response when you make way for a Master or Huntsman at a gate or jump. It means you don’t have to wait for him/her and should carry on.

Leash
Three foxes.

Line
The scent left by the quarry.

“Loose Horse”
Shouted when someone has fallen off and the horse is running away.

Marking
When hounds chase a fox to ground, they “mark” the hole where he is.

Master
These are the people responsible for the running of the hunt and particularly for liaison with the farmers and landowners. They should have right of way at all times second only to the hunt staff”.

Master/Huntsman/Whip/Hound please
This means give way to these people as they have a job to do. If it is heard on a road or a track everyone should move to one side and turn their horse to face the person. This will reduce the chances of them kicked “.

Master/Huntsman/Whip/Hound on the right/left”
This means the Master/Whip/Hound should be let through on the side shouted. Mixed pack
A pack consisting of dogs and bitches.

Mute
A hound which hunts without speaking is mute.

Opening Meet
The start of formal hunting. Usually the last Saturday in October or first in November.

Rat Catcher
A Tweed jacket worn during Autumn Hunting. Rat Catcher is also an acceptable form of dress after the Opening Meet for those who have not been given a hunt button, or as a visitor.

Red Ribbon
Worn on the tale of a known kicker. These horses should be kept at the back of the field until they become educated and no longer need to wear a ribbon.

Riot or rioting
When hounds hunt something other than their intended quarry, they are riotingScent
The smell of the quarry.

Season
Runs from 1st May until 30th April of the following year. Autumn Hunting will start once the harvest is under way, usually towards the end of August and will consist of short hunts in the early morning or early evening. Formal hunting starts with the Opening Meet and will go on usually to the middle of March.

Secretary
Usually the Honorary Hunt Secretary (unpaid) who deals with day to day enquiries from subscribers and those wishing to hunt on a daily basis. It is more correct to make enquiries about hunting with a pack of hounds through the Hunt Secretary rather than through the Master or the Kennels. Visitors should contact this person before coming out with a pack and then seek this person out at the meet and offer to pay their cap to them.

Speak or speaking
Hounds do not bark, they speak or are speaking when they are hunting a scentStern
A hound’s tail.

Subscriber
Someone who pays an annual subscription to hunt with a pack of hounds.

Tally-ho back
The call given when the quarry breaks out of cover but then turns back in.

Throw up
When hounds lose the line and check they lift their heads and look round for help or “throw up”.

Walk
Hounds at walk, often known as Puppy Walking, is where whelps are sent to private homes, from the age of eight weeks until they get too big and boisterous for the walkers, at which point they return to kennels to learn how to fit in to the pack.

“Ware Hole/Wire/Glass”
Ware is often pronounced “War” and means beware. Therefore if you hear “War ‘ole”, or “Ware ‘ole” it actually means mind out there is a hole in the ground coming up! Similarly any other hazard.

Whelp
A new born hound is a whelp and remains so until it comes back from being walked.

Whip in the air (usually by Field Master)
This means stand still where you are, NOT wait until you get level with the Field Master and then stop

Whip held to side by huntsman
If the whip is in the huntsman’s right hand he will be keeping the hounds to his left. You should therefore let him pass so that his horse is between you and the hounds.

Whipper-in
The person who helps the huntsman control the hounds. This person has right of way at all times and will only give way to the Huntsman. He may be a professional or an amateur.