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Hunting Terms

Accounted For - Hunting euphemism for the killing of a fox. Also known as Bowled Over, Rolled Over, Brought to Book, Punished, Dealt with.

AMHB - See Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles.

Angler's Mail - An angling paper, containing details of matches.

Angling Times - An angling paper, containing details of matches.

Anti - Derogatory term for hunt saboteur, generally only used by hunting folk.

Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles - The governing body of british hare hunts.

Babble - A hound babbles when it speaks unnecessarily.

Bailey's Hunting Directory - published annually, containing details of hunt countries, officials and brief histories.

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

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

Blank - A huntsman and pack draw a blank when they fail to put up a quarry from the area in which they were searching. Thus a covert can be said to be blank.

Bolt - A fox is bolted when terriermen chase it out of the one remaining exit from an earth using terriers, before it is hunted again.

Bowled over - Hunting euphemism for the killing of a fox. See also Accounted for.

Brace - Two foxes, hares or game birds.

Break Up - (of hounds) To eat the fox.

Bring to Bay - Hounds bring a deer to bay when they run it to exhaustion, and it is forced to turn and face them.

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

Brush - Hunting term for a dead fox's tail, or the penis of a buck deer.

Buck - A male hare, or a male roe or fallow deer.

Campaign for Hunting - A society which campaigns on behalf of hunting.

Cap - A donation paid by hunt followers who are not subscribers on the day of the hunt.

Cast - A huntsman is said to be casting his hounds when he encourages them to spread out and search for the quarry or the line of the quarry.

Charles James - Hunting term for a fox, after the eighteenth century politician Charles James Fox. Also known as Charlie, and Todd (Mr).

Charlie - Hunting term for a fox. Also known as Charles James and Todd (Mr).

Check - A pack checks when it loses the scent of a fox, usually because it has jinked.

Chop - Hounds chop a quarry when they kill it immediately they put it up, before it has a chance to run.

Couch - See Scrape.

Country, Hunt - Each hunt has its own territory, regulated by the relevant governing body. If the hunted animal crosses into another hunt's country, the hounds may be taken off the scent and the animal given best.

Countryside Alliance - The main society campaigning on behalf of hunting in the UK.

Couple - Two hounds. Packs are always counted in couples.

Covert (pronounced 'cover') - Generally used to describe a wood but also encompasses any copse, thicket, hedge or field where a fox may lie for shelter.

Crook necked - A hunted animal that habitually jinks. See also Straight necked.

Cry - See Speak.

Cubbing or Cubhunting (aka Autumn Hunting)- The period immediately preceding foxhunting, when fox cubs are hunted.

Dealt With - Hunting euphemism for the killing of a fox.See also Accounted For.

Dig Out - A dig out occurs when a fox has gone to ground and terriermen are called to block all the exits, locate the fox with terriers, and then dig it out and kill it.

Doe - A female roe or fallow deer, or a female hare.See also Puss.

Drag - Scent left by a hare or mink.

Drag Hunt - Drag Hunts conform in every respect with fox hunts, except that the hounds follow anartificially laid line of scent instead of that of a hunted animal.

Draw a blank - To draw a covert without finding a fox.

Draw - The act of encouraging the hounds through a covert in search of a quarry.

Earth - An earth is any underground hollow in which a fox may take refuge It can be a rabbit warren, badger set, or even a drain.

Earth Stopper - An earth stopper is paid by the hunt to block up the entrances to fox earths.

Field - Collective term for mounted hunt followers.

Fixture List - See Meet Card

Foil - scent is foiled if it is spoilt for some reason, for instance if the quarry cross the line of other animals, a stream, or strong smelling fertiliser.

Form - See Scrape.

Given best - A fox is given best when it is allowed to escape, probably to be hunted on another day.

Gone to ground/earth - A fox has gone to ground when it has taken refuge in an earth.

Gone away - See Tally-Ho away.

Hacking Gear - See Rat-catcher.

Hind - Female red deer.

Holding Up (Fox hunting) - Positioning the field around the covert to keep cubs and hounds inside during cubhunting. (Hare hunting) - Keeping the hounds in a tight group around the huntsman. 

Holloa (pronounced 'holler') - A loud high pitched screaming shout by supporters or staff, oftenaccompanied by holding a cap in the air, to point out the direction taken by the quarry.

Horse and Hound - Weekly magazine, published on Thursdays, which contains information on hunts.

Hound - Hunting dogs are always referred to as hounds.

Hound Parade - Hound Parades take place at local country shows and are often an opportunity for the hunt to improve their public relations.

Hounds - Monthly magazine for hound hunting enthusiasts, available by subscription only.

Humus - Rotting leaves and forest debris, used by earth stoppers to block the entrances to fox earths the morning before the hunt.

Hunt Ball - Hunt Balls raise money for the hunt(s) concerned. Hunt officials wear 'special occasion' hunt dress.

Jink - A sharp, almost right angled turn by a hunted animal, made to throw off its pursuers. See also straight and crook necked, and left and right handed.

LACS - See League Against Cruel Sports.

Law - A fox is said to be given law when it is allowed a 'fair chance' to run after being bolted, before hounds are laid on.

Lawn Meet - A meet taking place at a subscribers home.

League Against Cruel Sports - society which campaigns against hunting.

Left handed - A hunted animal that habitually jinks to the left is said to be left handed. See also right handed.

Leveret - A young hare.

Line - The route taken by the quarry.

Mask - Hunting term for a dead fox or hare's head.

Master of Foxhounds Association - The governing body of British fox hunts.

Master of Deerhounds Association - The governing body of British deer hunts.

MDHA - See Master of Deerhounds Association.

Meet - The meet is where all the hunt and followers collect before a day's hunting. It can be a pub, village green, crossroads, or other suitably accessible place.See also lawn meet.

Meet Card - A list of meets is drawn up before the season starts and is distributed to all subscribers.The hunt follows a similar list each season, but much relies on crop rotation and fox distribution.

MFHA - See Master of Foxhounds Association.

Over Over Over! - See Tally Ho Over!

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

Pads - Hunting term for a dead fox's paws.

Point - The distance from putting up a quarry to the place at which hounds kill or lose it (e.g. 2 mile point.)

Point Rider - A 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.

Point-to-Point - A large part of the hunt revenue comes from these events. The programme is organised and run by the hunt, in conjunction with the jockey club, and entries come from riders both inside and outside the hunt. It is a one-day social event, usually taking place in early summer. Most hunts have a permanent course which they may share with another hunt to cut down costs.The race itself takes place over brush hurdles.

Pony Club - Nearly every hunt country has its attendant pony club, registered with the British Horse Society. Occasionally a hunt will organise a special meet for the children belonging to these clubs. (There are some pony clubs that do not have any connection with hunting.)

Priest - A club for killing game fish.

Punished - Hunting euphemism for the killing of a fox. See also Accounted For.

Puss - Hunting term for a hare.See also Doe.

Put Up - An animal is said to have been 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.

Rat-Catcher - Hunting dress worn for Cubbing (e.g. tweeds).

Rate - A huntsman or whipper-in rates a hound when it riots, strays too far from the pack, or responds to calls from saboteurs. He will usually shout "leave it" or "git back to 'im", or some variant thereof.

Right handed - A hunted animal that habitually jinks to the right is said to be left handed.See also left handed.

Riot - Hounds riot when they chase after animals other than the hunted quarry (for instance deer, birds, cats).

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

Root Crop - Kale, beet, turnips, potatoes, mangold, amongst others.

Run short - A hunted hare, tired from the chase, is said to run short when it increasingly twists and turns in an effort to escape the hounds.

Run to ground - Hounds are said to run a fox to ground when they chase it into an earth.See also Gone to ground.

Sab - Affectionate abbreviation of 'hunt saboteur', generally only used by sabs themselves. Can also refer to an act of sabotage, as in 'an effective sab', 'a good day's sabbing', etc.

See Ho! - Hare hunting equivalent of Tally Ho!

Scrape - A small divot scraped out of the ground, in which a hare will live. Also known as forms orcouches.

Smeuse - Gaps in hedges, fences or undergrowth, that a particular animal will habitually use.

Speak - Hounds speak, that is yelp in a manner peculiar to hounds, when on the scent of a quarry. Also known as giving tongue or voice, and being in cry.

Stag - Male red deer.

Stand at Bay - An exhausted deer is said to stand at bay when it can run no longer, and turns to face the hounds.

Steeple Chase - Steeple Chases are occasionally organised by beaglers to raise funds.

Stirrup Cup - A drink offered to members of the field at Lawn Meets or meets at Public Houses.

Straight necked - A hunted animal that does not jink.See also Crook necked.

Strike - Anglers strike when they pull back on the fishing rod to impale a fish.

Subs - The yearly subscription paid by members of the field.

Tally-Ho Away! - A call to indicate that the fox has left covert. Alternatively "Gone Away!"

Tally-Ho Back! - A call to indicate that the fox has returned to the covert.

Tally-Ho Over! - A call to indicate that the fox has crossed a road, track, or open space in a covert. Alternatively "Over Over Over".

Todd (Mr) - Hunting term for a fox. Also known as Charles James and Charlie.

Tongue - See Speak.

Trencher Fed -Hounds kept not at a single kennels but at individual supporters' homes.

Tufter - Hounds used to put up the harboured stag.

Voice - See Speak.

Ware - A huntsman's call to reprimand hounds, e.g. "Ware Riot!", "Ware Sheep!", "Ware Noise!"

Warrantable - A stag suitable for hunting, usually at least five or six years old.

General Observations

When describing the death of a fox, the word 'kill' is not normally used. The usual terms are 'bowled or rolled over', 'accounted for', 'brought to book', 'punished', 'dealt with' and 'broken up'. The fox is usually termed 'Charles James' or 'Charlie' (after the statesman Charles James Fox); Todd/Mr Todd (in Wales and Scotland) and 'the Pilot'. According to the way it runs, it is referred to as a 'straight-necked' or 'crook-necked' fox (depending on whether it has run straight or turned). An adult fox usually weighs 14.5lbs although weights of up to 23lbs have been recorded. A fox can foil his scent by running through manure, flocks of sheep or herds of cows, rolling in mint, crossing the path of another fox, crossing a stream and other such methods of outpacing the pursuers. As in all hunts, the longer the chase, the better the hunt - the kill is less important. A red ribbon around a horse's tail indicates that the horse kicks. A rider wearing a green sash over the shoulder indicates an appointed gate shutter.

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