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Terminology


 

Foxhunters do tend to have a language all to themselves.
The following is a short glossary of the terms you will hear while out in the field and discussing the day with fellow hunters.

 


 

All on.  All hounds are present.
Babbler.  A hound that speaks to a nonexistent line out of sheer excitement.
Biddable.  A hound that is particularly responsive, easy to train and will take direction.
Bike.  A term used to call hounds back when they get too far in front of the huntsman.
Bitch.  A female hound.

Blank.  When game is not found in a covert.

Brush.  The tail of the fox or coyote.
Burning scent.  Scent so strong that hounds pursue the line without hesitation.
Bye day.  An additional, unscheduled hunting day, not on the fixture card.
Cap.  The fee nonmembers and visitors pay to hunt for a day. Originally dropped into the outstretched cap of the Field Secretary.

Cast.  When hounds spread out in search of scent.  They may cast themselves or be cast by the huntsman.
Check.  When hounds lose the scent and stop.  The field must wait quietly while the hounds search for the scent.
Coffee house.  When members of the field chatter amongst themselves rather than pay attention to hounds.  A good rule of thumb is, if you can hear the huntsman, he and the hounds can hear you.
Colours.  The distinguishing colour that identifies a hunt.  Worn on the collar of formal hunting coats and for gentlemen on their formal dress tails.  Colours can be awarded only by the Masters. 
Coop.  A jump resembling a chicken coop, usually built over a wire fence line.
Couples.  Two-strap hound collars connected by a swivel link.  Hunt staff will often carry these on their saddles and are sometimes used in the training of young hounds.  Hounds are always spoken of and counted in couples. 
Coursing.  When a hound views game going away and follows by sight rather than by scent.

Covert. A patch of woods or brush where a coyote or fox might hide or have a den.  Pronounced “cover”.
Cry.  The voice of hounds ‘giving tongue’ (speaking) to the line of the game.
Cub.  Young fox or coyote.
Cubbing.  The informal hunting in the late summer and early fall, before formal hunting.  The main purpose is to enter young hounds into the pack.
Cur dog.  Any canine that is not a hound.
Dog fox.  The male fox (or coyote).

Dog hound.  The male hound.
Double.  A series of short, sharp notes blown on the horn to alert all that game is afoot.  The ‘gone away’ series of notes is a form of doubling the horn.
Draft.  When hounds are received from or given to another hunt, they are drafted.  A hound always maintains the name of the hunt where they were born.  All hounds are registered with the MFHA where their lineage and current ownership is tracked.
Drag.  The line the fox or coyote has traveled and left its scent.  Today, commonly meant to refer to an artificial scent laid by humans for the hounds to follow.
Draw.  The plan by which game is searched for in a certain area, such as a covert.
Enter.  Hounds are ‘entered’ into the pack when they first hunt, usually during the cubbing season.
Earth.  Underground holes or dens where foxes or coyotes lie for protection.
Field.  The group of people riding to hounds, exclusive of the Master and hunt staff.
Field Master.  The person appointed by the Master to control the field.  Often it is a Joint Master.
Fixture.  A card sent to all dues-paying members, stating when and where the hounds will meet.  A fixture card, properly received is an invitation to hunt.

Full cry.  When the entire pack is speaking on the line of the game.
Give tongue.  When hounds ‘speak’ to the line of the game.
Gone away.  When the game leaves the covert and the hounds are running on the line of the fox.
Gone to ground.  When the game has taken refuge in its den or other hiding place, it has ‘gone to ground’.
Good night.  The traditional farewell to the Master after the hunt, regardless of the time of day.
Hark.  A command from the huntsman to hounds to honour another hound that has found a line (scent).  From the Master, an order to stop all conversation, listen and pay close attention to what the hounds and huntsman are doing.
Headlands.  Usually a command from the Field Master (Headlands Please) to stay to the edges of the field and off the crops or grass, in single file.
Hilltopper.  A rider who follows the hunt but does not jump.  Hilltoppers are also called the Second Flight.  The jumpers are called the First Flight.
Hireling.  A rented horse for hunting.
Hold hard.  To stop immediately.  It is also used by the huntsman to tell the hounds to stop fa
st and wait.

Honour.  When hounds respect another hound’s find and rush to its assistance.
Hunting Heel. When hounds hunt the line in the opposite direction to which the quarry has run.
Huntsman.  The person in charge of the hounds, in the field and in the kennel.
Huntsman Please (or Whip Please).  Staff always has the right of way.  When the Huntsman or Whip needs to pass the field, riders need to turn their horses heads toward the Huntsman and hounds and allow them to pass. 
Lark.  To jump fences unnecessarily when hounds aren’t running.  Masters frown on this since it is often an invitation to an accident. 
Lieu in.  The huntsman’s command to hounds to enter the covert and search for game.
Lift.  To take the hounds from a lost scent in the hopes of finding a better scent in a different l
ocation.

Line.  The scent trail of the coyote or fox.
Livery.  The uniform worn by the professional and honourary members of the hunt staff.  Usually it is scarlet and has the colours on the collar and the insignia of the hunt stamped on the buttons.
Mask.  The coyote or fox’s head.
Meet.  The site where the day’s hunting begins.
MFH.  The Master of Foxhounds.
Nose. 
The scenting ability of a hound.
Override.  To press hounds too closely.
Overrun.  When hounds shoot past the line of a scent.
Pinks. 
Often used to refer to the scarlet hunting coats worn by hunt staff, Masters and gentlemen who have been given their ‘colours’.  Formal dress pinks are also correct for gentlemen members when 
white tie is appropriate.

Ratcatcher.  Informal dress worn during cubbing or spring season.
Riot.  When the hounds chase game they shouldn’t, such as deer.
Stern. 
A hound’s tail.
Strike hound.  Those hounds that, through keenness, nose and intelligence, find the scent first and press it.
Tail hound.  Those hounds running at the rear of the pack.  Often older, steadier hounds.
Tally-ho.  The cry used when the game is viewed.
Tally-ho back.  A phrase used when the quarry has been viewed going back into covert (pronounced tall-ho bike).
Vixen.  The female fox (or coyote).
Walk.  Puppies are ‘walked out’ in the summer and fall of their first year.  Volunteer walkers take puppies home and help them to learn to socialize and be obedience to basic commands and learn to respond to their 
name.  They are returned to the kennels and begin their formal training under the huntsman.

Ware.  A contraction of ‘beware’, used to alert riders to potential hazards, such as in “Ware hole”.  (pronounced ‘war’)
Whelp.  A puppy.  A bitch is whelping when she is giving birth to a litter of puppies.
Whippers-In. 
Also called ‘whips’, these are the staff members who assist the huntsman.






       
   
       
 
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