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Woodford Hounds in Utah


BLANK – A blank day is one where no fox was found.

BRUSH – The tail of the fox or coyote.

BUTTON – The distinctive button of each hunt. To be awarded your button, means you have been given the right to wear the colors and button of the hunt.

BYE-DAY – A hunting day other than one that was regularly scheduled.

CAP – Sometimes called “cap fee.” The amount paid to the hunt for a day’s hunting by someone who is not a subscriber. It is paid to the hunt secretary at the meet.

CAST – The attempt by hounds to find the line of a fox. The huntsman can cast the hounds or they can cast themselves.

CHECK – A pause in a run caused by hounds losing the line.

CHOP – The fox is chopped if he is caught and killed immediately by hounds without having had an opportunity to make a run for it. Very much regretted when it happens.

COLORS – The distinctive colors worn on the collar of members of the hunt. To be awarded your colors means you have the right to wear them and to wear the hunt button on your coat. Having your colors makes you a “member” of the hunt.

COOP – Short for “chicken-coop.” Term used to describe the angled wooden panels placed in wire fences to facilitate safe jumping. Usually painted black and from 3’ to 4’ high.

COUNTRY – A defined area of countryside in which the landowners have given the Hunt permission to hunt on a regular basis. Recognized foxhunts have their countries registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America, the sport’s governing body. When a hunted fox or coyote goes onto land the hunt doesn’t have permission to cross, it is said to have run out of our country.

COUPLE – Hounds are numbered in couples. Seven hounds would be referred to as “3 and 1/2 couple.” The linked collar used to attach a young hound to an experienced hound for training is also referred to as a couple.

COVERT – Pronounced “cover.” Any patch of woods or undergrowth that might hold a fox or coyote.

CRY – The noise hounds make when hunting.

CUB HUNTING – Also “Cubbing.” Now called “Autumn hunting,” in the United Kingdom for reasons of political correctness. The period from September to the opening meet, usually in November, when the huntsman introduces the young hounds to the business of hunting.

DRAW – The process of hunting through a particular covert. 

EARTH – Another name for the fox’s den.

FEATHER – The actions of a hound when it is on or near the line of the fox. It waves its stern and trembles and keeps its head down, but does not speak.

FIELD – The group of mounted followers of the hunt, not including the Master and staff. At the Woodford Hounds, we have two fields; the “jumping field,” sometimes also called the “first field,” and the “hilltoppers,” or “second field.” The hilltoppers don’t jump. 

FIELD MASTER – A person appointed by the Master to be in charge of the field. Can be the Master himself or another member. If there are two fields, there are two field masters. 

FIXTURE – The time and place of the meet.

GO TO GROUND – A fox or coyote goes to ground when he gets into a hole, under a ledge, or any other place where hounds cannot get to him. 

HEAD – To head the fox is to cause him to turn from his intended direction of travel. It should usually be avoided as it generally leads to a check.

HEEL LINE – The line of the fox going away from the direction he is traveling. If hounds are following a heel line, they are going in the wrong direction.

HILLTOPPER – A mounted hunt follower who does not jump. So called because, rather than closely following the path taken by hounds when hunting, they seek vantage points from which they can observe the course of the hunt. Hilltoppers have their own field and field master. The hilltoppers frequently see more game and hound work than the jumping field. 

HOUND – Foxhound. Never referred to as “dogs.” Females are “bitches,” and males are “dog-hounds.” 

HUNTSMAN – The person who controls the hounds. May be one of the Masters or another member of the staff.

LARK – To jump fences unnecessarily when not on a run. Frowned on.

LINE – The scent trail of the fox or coyote.

MARK – Usually “mark to ground.” Hounds are marking when they indicate that the fox has gone to ground in a hole or other refuge. They bay and dig at the entrance. The sound they make is quite different from their hunting voice.

MASK – The head of the fox or coyote.

MASTER – The Master of Foxhounds, or MFH. The person (or people – there may be several joint-Masters) who is in charge of the Hunt.

MEET – The assembly of the hunt for a day’s sport, as in “The meet tomorrow is at Eli’s Woods.”

MEMBER – A subscriber to the hunt who has been awarded his colors and button.

MUSIC – Commonly used term describing the cry of hounds.

OPEN – A hound opens when it gives tongue on hitting the line.

PAD – The foot of the fox or coyote.

QUARRY – The fox or coyote.

RATCATCHER – Informal hunting attire. Worn during the cub-hunting season. In the Woodford Hounds, ratcatcher is generally worn on bye days and weekday hunts.

RATE – To verbally correct a hound, as in “Leave it!”

RIOT – Anything that hounds might hunt that they shouldn’t. 

RUN – The period when hounds are actually hunting the line of the fox. Generally the field is at a canter (or gallop).

SCENT – The smell given off by the fox or coyote. Fox hounds hunt by scent with their noses, not by sight.

SPEAK – Hounds speak when they give tongue.

STAFF – The huntsman and whippers-in.

STERN – A hound’s tail.

SUBSCRIBER – One who pays an annual subscription, or dues, to the hunt for the privilege of hunting on a regular basis.

TALLY-HO – Yelled by the staff member who views the fox or coyote. Can also be given by a member of the field if no staff view. More often transmitted to the huntsman by radio in the Woodford Hounds. A screeching holler is also often used instead. Members of the field should be very careful to only tally-ho when they are certain they are viewing the hunted fox and that staff haven’t. 

TONGUE – Cry. A hound “gives tongue” when he is on a line.

VIEW – To see the hunted fox or coyote.

WARE – Short for “beware.” Used to warn following riders of some danger, as in, “Ware wire!” or “Ware hole!” When said, you should do so in a voice loud enough to be heard by whomever is behind you, but not at the top of your lungs. Point to the hole, wire, etc. as you speak. 

WHIPPER-IN – Also commonly called “Whip.” A staff member who assists the huntsman in hunting hounds. There can be any number of them.