Full text of "Hunting"
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Wu.:;;... . .- .^^ ....... .y of Veiennary yedicine
Cummings Schoo! of Veterinary Medicine at
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, MA 01 536
" / want you- to gj-ow up good countjy gentlemen, doing
your duty to yo7ir Sovereign^ your country and neighbours,
rich and poor, and fitlfilling all the obligations of your
station, and versed in all those pursuits and occupations
which make a country life so pleasant and happy.''''
VINTON & CO., Ltd.,
8, Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, E.C.
These Notes on Hunting, primarily written for
and dedicated to his grandchildren by Lord North,
were only intended for private circulation, but the
advice given is so sound and of such a practical
character — in fact, just what should be put into the
hands of every young sportsman — that they were
felt to be worthy of a wider publicity ; and so his
Lordship has been prevailed upon to give the
necessary permission to publish the Notes in the
TO MY GRANDCHILDREN.
W7'oxton Abbey ^
When I had a bad fall in 1898 and was laid up a
long time, I put a little book together of the notes
I had made from my own observations and what I
had learned from experience while hunting the
hounds myself, and from the maxims of celebrated
old huntsmen with whom I had the advantage of
being acquainted. These notes are only intended
as headings to draw the attention of young sports-
men to what they ought to know and what they
ought not to forget.
In a reduced form I had a few copies printed in
the early part of this year, but some of my friends
were kind enough to say it was too short, so I
have restored the original text, and I now dedicate
the little book to you, my dear grandchildren,
because I want you to grow up good country
gentlemen, doing your duty to your Sovereign,
your country and neighbours, rich and poor, and
fulfilling all the obligations of your station, and
versed in all those pursuits and occupations which
make a country life so pleasant and happy, when
you have leisure to follow them. Beckford says
that Hunting is the soul of a country life, so I
want you to grow up sportsmen — not, mind you,
sporting men — for there is a vast difference between
a sportsman and a sporting man — the latter is
generally a very objectionable person.
This raises at once the question — What is
sport ? Sport is the wit, courage and endurance of
man pitted against the instinct, cunning, courage
and endurance of the wild animal.
In England, then, hunting, shooting and fishing
are legitimate sport.
Wild Stag hunting.
Otter hunting and the
pursuit of the carted Stag.
As for this last, though I personally agree with
Mr. Jorrocks that you might as well " 'unt a hass,"
I include it in the list of sport because the same
qualities are required of man, horse and, to a great
extent, of hound, for it as in other hunting, and in
game countries, where Fox hunting is next to
impossible, it is distinctly desirable. Such packs
also afford great pleasure to the residents within
their limits, and to those professional gentlemen
who cannot afford time to hunt with Fox hounds.
They are also the cause of large sums of money
being spent in the districts in which they hunt.
TO MY GRANDCHILDREN. vii
All wild shooting.
But though the pheasant battue requires quick
decision and skill in shooting, I rather doubt if it
really comes under the head of sport. Still, it is
useful in training the mind and eye to quickness of
decision and action.
All fly fishing, trolling, and, I suppose, sea
But what we have to consider here is the grand
old national sport of Fox hunting.
Hunting is a science, and you must remember
that what is a pleasure and recreation to you, is as
serious a matter of business to the Master of the
hounds, and his huntsman and his whippers-in, as
law is to the lawyer, or surgery to the surgeon.
If you study the science of hunting you will find
your pleasure wonderfully increased and you will be
able to form a more just opinion of huntsmen and
The great outlines and rules of hunting remain
the same, but the application of them varies with
the countries in which hounds hunt. Thus a quick
mode is suitable to some countries and a slower
mode to others.
It is therefore well to visit other packs occasion-
ally and see what goes on there, and so improve
your knowledge of the craft, but for sport, it is far
better to stick to one pack, taking the "good and
bad " meets as they come. Selecting " good
meets " often ends in disappointment.
Study the nature and habits of the fox. Study
the points of the hound, so that you may be able to
tell a good-shaped hound from an indifferent
animal. Study his nature, his habits and various
qualities. Some hounds are better at finding a fox,
some can carry the line over dry fallows and down
hard roads better than others. Study their pedi-
grees and you will find these qualities are hereditary.
Learn their names, watch them at work, and you
will find that what to the generality of the field has
been a dull day's sport, " a good day for hounds,"
as some call it, has been a most amusing, enjoyable
and instructive day for you.
To pick up the above knowledge it is of course
necessary frequently to visit the kennel. Huntsmen
like people who really take interest in them, to go
and see the hounds, and I have often heard them
regret so few people come to look at the hounds
during the summer months.
By visiting the kennel you will also learn a
lot about the interior economy ; the feeding, the
doctoring of the hounds, and endless useful know-
ledge ; and you will be surprised to find how
absolutely ignorant nine people out of ten are who
go out hunting, and how the most ignorant talk
Your affectionate grandfather,
Hunt servants are in a somewhat exceptional
position. They should never forget, and gentlemen
should always remember, that they are the Master's
servants, and not the servants of the public.
All hunt servants, huntsmen, whippers-in,
kennelmen, stud^rooms, second horsemen, should
be sober, respectable, trustworthy men, smart and
clean in appearance, civil and well-mannered. The
character of the hunt may be fairly judged by the
manners and turn-out of the servants.
A huntsman should be keen about his pro-
fession, good-tempered, persevering and patient ;
firm in his opinion but not conceited — conceit is
a fatal failing in a huntsman. He should be
thoroughly acquainted with the nature and habits
of the fox, and with those and the diseases of the
hound. He should be fond of his hounds and
always with them, walking them out and playing
with them, and let him remember Captain
Anstruther Thomson's excellent advice, " Stay at
home with your hounds and wear a white neck-
cloth." In the field he should be a man of resource,
for a fox is a wild animal and cannot be hunted
mathematically, and able to adapt himself to the
circumstances of the moment and not be afraid of
being bold when boldness is required. It is there
that a huntsman shows his genius.
Of course huntsmen have their talents like
other men. Some are better in the field than in
the kennel, and so on, so you must not expect to
get an absolutely perfect huntsman any more than
A huntsman should be a good horseman, so as
to be able always to be with his hounds ; that is a
good careful rider, for the art of riding to hounds
consists in being as near as possible to hounds, with
the least exertion and fatigue to the horse.
It is absolutely essential, and masters of hounds
should always remember, that huntsmen and
whippers-in should be well and safely mounted.
They cannot do their work properly if they are not :
and, indeed, their lives depend on it.
That the whippers-in should be good is of vital
importance to the pack.
They should study their duties and perfect
themselves in them, both in the kennel and in the
field, and they should study their huntsman's ways
so as to understand and even anticipate his wishes ;
they should always address him as ''sir," and
should work cordially together and whip-in loyally
to their huntsman, doing their work quietly and
efficiently, and they should be good and careful
The first whipper-in should certainly, as a rule,
be with the huntsman when hounds are running,
HUNT SERVANTS. 3
but if they get awa)^ on the side where the second
whipper-in is posted, he should go on with the
huntsman, leaving the first whipper-in to bring on
any hounds left behind. On the arrival of the first
whipper-in the second whipper-in should fall back
again into his place.
If by any accident the huntsman is not with the
hounds, the first whipper-in should go on with
them till he comes up, but he must on no account
whatever steal the hounds from his huntsman, and
jealously try to kill the fox without him.
The second whipper-in's place is behind, but
not so far as to prevent his being able to render
the assistance his duties require of him.
He must be careful not to leave any hounds
behind in cover, to stop and bring on any hounds
which may have divided on another fox, and be
for ever " making" his hounds, so that none may
be away unnoticed.
It is true that generally hounds which have
been left behind either get on the line of the pack
and rejoin it, or trot away home ; but being left out
leads to all sorts of mischief and trouble — they may
be bitten by cur dogs and so introduce madness
into the kennel, &c., &c. Nothing in short is so bad
for a hound as being left out.
He should hover about observing which way the
hounds are tending, and so place himself as to be
able if necessary to head the fox from a cover, or
drain, view a fox coming back, get on to some point
where he is likely to be required, and so on. In
short the duties of whippers-in afford a wide scope
for their talents, but it by no means follows that
an excellent whipper-in must make an excellent
huntsman, their duties being widely different.
The boiler should be a man in whom implicit
confidence can be placed.
Nothing is so upsetting to a huntsman, when
young hounds are coming in from walk, and
distemper and yellows may be raging, as to be
obliged to go out hunting in mortal fear of what
may happen in his absence.
He should be so far acquainted with the art of
doctoring the hounds as to be able to carry out the
huntsman's instructions perfectly, and in cases of
necessity to know what steps to take during the
Earth stopping is a very important matter, and
in these days when the number of drains has
increased to an enormous extent, is all the more
difficult, because land owners like their own men to
do the stopping, and occupiers are disinclined to
allow others than their landlord's keepers, or their
own men to do it, and neither of those are under
the absolute control of the hunt, though they are
paid by it, and farmers often trust too much to
their men, who neglect to do it.
It is well, therefore, to keep a list of the earth-
stoppers and their districts, and deduct something
from their pay whenever a fox gets to ground
through their negligence in their " stop."
EARTH STOPPING. 5
" Stopping " means stopping the earths during
" Putting to " means when it is done in the
Great care must be taken not to stop the foxes
in, and this can easily be done by a lazy or careless
man stopping the earths too late, and great care
should be taken to unstop them at night.
All main and large earths should be stopped
for the season as soon as hunting begins, and
opened as soon as there are signs of cubs. Great
care should be taken when thus stopping them not
to stop any unfortunate animal in. In the spring,
then, they should be " put to " when necessary,
later in the morning, so as to be sure the vixen has
returned to her home and so avoid any accident
happening to hen
Drains should be run with terriers and then
stopped at the beginning of the season with stakes
or small drain pipes (which are best) made so as to
allow the water to run freely. Iron grates are
Form your pack according to the country in
which it is to hunt.
Breed from the very best blood that you can
get, but stick to the same sort.
Without nose hounds cannot hunt, and without
pace they cannot catch a fox. These two things
must therefore be combined.
A badly shaped hound cannot gallop, and with-
out good neck and shoulders he cannot stoop to a
Good straight legs, with the bone carried well
down, good shoulders, loins and thighs, back, feet,
chests and with plenty of room for the lungs are
Breed with plenty of bone, and never breed
A FAULTY HOUND.
from a faulty hound, however good ; but exception
may be made in favour of a dog whose lineage has
been so perfect as to justify the assumption that
the defect complained of is accidental, but special
care must be taken that the bitch he is put to is of
perfect symmetry and inheritor of it, and remember
a vice cannot be bred out.
POINTS OF A HOUND.
Points of a Hound.
Feet. — Round and close like a cat, a wee bit
Knees. — Big and flat. To be back at the knee
Foreleg. — Straight, with plenty of good bone
sai" ^ -,T^
A PERFECT HOUND.
well carried down to the foot and quite straight
and short between the knee and the foot. Bone
may be very big without being ponderous, for
example, the Belvoir Weaver entered in 1906
measures : — (Girth 34J inches, Arm 8J inches.
Below knee 5J inches, Height 24 inches.)
Forearm. — Strong, with plenty of good muscle.
If the elbows turn out a wee bit it does not much
matter. If they turn in it matters a great deal.
Thighs. — Big and muscular.
Quarters. — Round and strong.
Hocks. — Well let down ; big, clean and strong.
There should be great length between the hip and
Stifles. — Powerful and well bent.
Couplings. — Short, as distinct from slackness of
back and shortness of ribs.
Back. — Broad, muscular and flat, not chopped
off" at the stern, which should be well filled on
to the back. A roach back, i.e., a bent one, is
Neck. — Well set on ; muscular, long, arched
Shoulders. — Long and sloping, well back, strong
at the withers, which should be narrow at the top,
muscles flat at the side.
CJiest. — Deep and broad.
Ribs. — Strong, and springing well from the
Head. — Not too flat ; long, strong and refined.
Forehead strong and long. Jaws square ; under
jaws are bad. Lips deep and loose. In bitches the
head should be more elegant.
Nose. — Large and nostrils wide.
Eye. — In the dog the eye should be bold. In
bitches more refined, but showing determination.
Always ascertain personally the qualities of a
hound you propose to breed from, and be sure he
is good in his work and has plenty of tongue.
POINTS OF A HOUND. 9
The Dam is of quite as much importance as the
Sire, even more so, for she g-enerally imparts all
the good qualities of her blood more than the dog.
Never breed from, or keep a hound because of
his good looks only, and never breed from a mute
Do not be in a hurry to draft a young hound
because he does not enter well the first season ;
many such hounds turn out excellent hounds in
Some hounds become jealous, and so sometimes
take to running mute.
A babbler, a laggard and a skirter, are as bad
as a mute hound. Draft them at once.
Treatment and Training of Hounds.
A puppy at walk should have plenty of good
nourishing food ; but he should not be allowed to
get too fat, as it is apt to make him crooked,
and if distemper should attack him it will go all
the harder with him. He should have full liberty
and never be tied up.
Give instructions that on the first sign of
distemper a dose of castor oil is to be given at
once and the huntsman informed.
Puppies with distemper should be kept clean
and warm, but with plenty of fresh air ; keep them
out of draughts.
Mr. Vyner in his " Notilia Venatica" recom-
mends the following pills. I have found them
excellent as a tonic after distemper. They make
up rather large, but can be divided and two pilk
given instead of one.
. 24 grains
Gentian powder .
Bark powder ....
I J drachms
To be made up into 8 pills with syrup, one to be
given every morning fasting.
Feed your hounds each one according to his
constitution, and so that they may run well
Feed cold and thick ; but after hunting- luke-
warm, with a moderate quantity of flesh, but the
less the better and be very careful indeed about the
broth, which is apt to turn sour if left in the copper.
Take care your oatmeal is good old meal.
New meal ferments and makes hounds purge. It
should be thoroughly well boiled and become as
hard as a rock after being poured into the coolers.
In summer feed thin, plenty of vegetables,
young nettles, &c., should be given, and sometimes
use biscuits instead of oatmeal for a change.
Don't wash your hounds, use brushes and hair
gloves. As your young hounds come in from walk
keep them separate from the pack and watch them
carefully in case of any infection or rabies. Round
them and physic and dress them in due time, and
get the couples on them as soon as you can and
walk them out on foot till they are ready to go to
exercise with the pack.
TREATMENT OF HOUNDS. ii
Keep your hounds light and strong. The great
art is to convert flesh into well-developed muscle.
Keep their skins loose, and their coats clean, shiny
Give your hounds plenty of long steady exercise
during the summer and show them all sorts of riot.
Go out as early as possible in the morning, and
have them in good working condition before
A huntsman should never rate or strike a
A whipper-in should always correct a hound on
the spot. If he cannot get at him at the moment,
he should wait till he repeats the fault and then
correct him sharply.
He should take care how he strikes a hound
amongst others, as he may strike the wrong one.
It is no use damning a whipper-in if things go
wrong, it will only confuse and very likely irritate
a man who is doing his best. Speak to him
seriously and point out his mistakes to him on the
first opportunity while going home.
Never hurry your hounds in going to covert
or returning home ; 5 miles an hour is about the
pace. Let them have plenty of reasonable
freedom. Nothing looks so bad as a pack of
hounds whipped up close to a huntsman's heels.
In going from covert to covert, and indeed
when hounds are not running, avoid riding over
seeds and wheat, &c., and breaking down fences
Whippers-in should " make " their hounds on
every possible occasion ; prevent their picking up
bones, and see if any are lame.
We know no more about scent than we did lOO
years ago. It depends on the state and nature of
the soil, and the state of the atmosphere, and
therefore is subject to rapid variations, and I think
also on the fox itself.
Some people now-a-days advertise their cub-
hunting meets, but I think it is a bad plan, because
cub-hunting is for the instruction of the young
hounds, and the fewer people you have out with
you, at any rate during the earlier stages of it, the
better. It may, however, save a little trouble in
sending round to the landowners and farmers where
you are going, and who of course must be informed.
In cub-hunting remember that not only your
young hounds have to be trained, but your two and
three year old hunters, in which the pack should
always be strong, have to be looked after and kept
up to their work, which is of the greatest possible
importance to the pack.
It is better not to take hounds into thick big
woodlands until the undergrowth has fallen a bit.
Hounds cannot so well, until it has fallen, force
their way through it, the heat chokes them. They
get dispirited and exhausted, and in well-rided
woods young hounds may take to skirtling.
In cub-hunting rout out your litters well. Let
your hounds find their fox themselves, and when
they find keep quite quiet. This applies also to the
whippers-in. Let them stick to him and let the
others go. The more cubs you kill the steadier
will your young hounds be, but do not murder a
lot of foxes in one place. A brace of well-killed
cubs will do your hounds more good than a dozen
mopped up ones. It is better to return another
day and kill a brace more if it is necessary. It is
best always to draw those places where you know
there are litters. If cubs go to ground, dig them.
It teaches your young hounds to mark them to
In an enclosed country never let them into the
open till nearly the end of cub-hunting, because
whippers-in cannot get to them readily and they
may get into mischief. When you do let them go,
if they get on the line of an old fox, do not stop
them if you desire to do so, till they get to some
natural obstacle, such as a park wall, or throw
up of themselves. Stopping them is likely to
Teach your hounds to trust to themselves, and
when you do assist them do so in such a way that
they do not perceive it. It is a pitiful thing to see
hounds staring up helplessly at their huntsman the
moment they get into difficulties.
You must, of course, encourage hounds, but
mind how you do it. With too much encourage-
ment, you may make them speak to anything or
nothing at all.
In drawing big woods and coverts, draw up
wind, or on a side wind, your second whipper-in
should be handy to you, down wind, that he may
hear what is going on and stop to you quick when
necessary — your first whipper-in should be forward,
but not too forward ; you can use your second
horseman to watch particular points. When
hounds are drawing whippers-in should be silent.
In drawing small places, whether gorses or
spinnies, make as much noise as you can to prevent
chopping a fox. Drawing down wind gives a fox a
better chance of getting on his legs. If you are
drawing a succession of small breaks, send on your
second horsemen, or people you can trust to view
away any fox that may be disturbed in those which
are further off.
After a stormy wet night gorses are more
likely to hold a fox than breaks, on account of the
Use your horn as little as possible. In a big
wood you can use it more freely and have a
particular note to tell them when you are away
with a fox. They will fly to it. Do not blow your
horn behind hounds unless you want to stop them.
It is well also to have a particular call for the
It is said you should not leave a covert while a
single hound remains in it. This may be carried
too far and teach your hounds to hang. If hounds
DRAWING COVERTS. 15
are inclined to hang, keep moving on blowing them
out. They will come to you sooner than if you
stand still. Do not allow a hound to be struck or
rated on coming out of cover. If you do he will
only hang the more next time.
It is better not to draw a big strong cover late
in the afternoon, and indeed, it is better not to draw
so late that you may be obliged to stop your
hounds. When you do stop hounds from their fox
make as much of them as you possibly can ; stopping
them always discourages them.
When hounds have been running hard in cover
for some time and throw up, then is the moment to
look out for him to break away. Most likely they
have been too close to him for him to do so. But
if he breaks, unless he is very beat, let him go.
They will kill him quicker in the open.
When a fox breaks away he should not be
holloa'd till he is fairly gone. It is well to see him
safe in the next field before holloaing him ; a holloa
may turn him back if given too soon, and foxes
sometimes go out for a field and run back under the
fence again. Don't holloa a fox over a ride in
covert till he is well over it, you are likely to turn
him back by so doing.
If you want a fox " held up " in cover, the
whippers-in should stand well out in the field and
tap with their whips against their boot or saddle.
If he is to hold a fox in a particular quarter of a
cover he must tap with his whip, but not shout,
especially if hounds throw up, or he will get their
When gone away, the second whipper-in must
see no hounds are left behind. If any are left, he
should bring them on as quickly as possible, but
without noise. In stopping hounds he should get
to their heads, stop and rattle them back. Riding
after them, cracking his whip and bawling is of
no use whatever. If he has to turn hounds, after
he has done so he must not then ride after them
rating them, or he will drive them over the line,
and in no case must he get between the hounds
and the huntsman.
Get away as quickly as ever you can with your
fox, but if you have only a few hounds with you,
stop them till the body comes up. If the body is
tied to another fox, go back to it with the hounds
you have got.
It is very often better and quicker to go and
fetch your hounds than to stand blowing your
horn and holloaing outside a covert. It is best to
get up wind of them, blow them out, and then lay
them on the line.
When hounds are running keep your eyes well
forward to see what is likely to bring on a check
and be prepared for it.
Watch your leading hounds and if you see them
turn their heads, remember it, as if a check quickly
follows and the field is pressing on them, that is
very likely the place where he turned. The tail
GONE AWAY. 17
hounds will often tell you how far they have carried
If you see a sheep dog or cur dog running back
to where the hounds have thrown up, you may be
pretty sure he has run your fox.
If once a fox turns down wind he rarely ever
turns up again.
In hunting a fox, never be in a hurry and never
dawdle. Remember a fox is always moving. Make
up your mind what you have to do and do it
quickly and quietly, and always remember what
really is " forward," that is, what his point really is,
and from which he has been driven from some
cause or other, and which he is sure to make if
he possibly can. This I think is especially the
case in the spring, when there are travelling foxes,
also after a long frost or snow.
Checks are brought about either by the scent
failing, by the fox having been headed and driven
off his line by something or other, by being run by
a dog, or by the field having ridden the pack off
Let your hounds alone, and never cast them till
you see they cannot recover the line by themselves.
When you do cast them, cast them well in front
of you. This is not so easy as it seems. Hounds
and huntsman must have great mutual confidence
in each other, and the huntsman must be free
from all pressure from behind. The late Lord
Willoughby de Broke and Tom Matthews had this
power over their hounds to an extent I have never
seen in others except old George Beers. On a good
scenting day and on good scenting ground cast
them quickly. On bad scenting days and bad
scenting ground cast them more slowly.
The hounds nine times out of ten will have
cast themselves up wind and have indicated by the
way they swing themselves which way your fox
turned ; but whether he turned to the right or to the
left, it is almost a certainty that he turned down wind.
If therefore they do not pick up the line by them-
selves, prolong their up wind unaided cast, just to
satisfy yourself he has not gone up wind, and then
cast them down wind without loss of time.
Make your casts wide enough and over the
best scenting ground you can find.
Remember your fox may have got in somewhere
inside your circle.
It is well to remember that a fox will pass over
earths that are open and then change his mind and
turn sharp back to them.
Do not make any fancy casts until you have
made all the orthodox ones.
While casting whippers-in should leave the
hounds quite alone. They are often too fond of
interfering with them. Nothing sounds so bad as
" Let 'em alone, Bill."
Be cautious before going to a holloa. With
most people every fox they see is the hunted fox.
They will sometimes holloa because they see the
hounds, sometimes because they saw the fox an
hour ago. It is therefore often the quickest way in
the end to send a whipper-in, or some one you can
really trust, to make sure the holloa is a true one,
GONE AWAY. 19
that the man holloaing is doing so where he saw
the fox, to ascertain for certain in what direction
the fox was travelling, and how long it is since he
saw him, and remember that generally they ex-
aggerate the time, also that a fox nearly always
turns as soon as he is lost sight of
If you do decide on going to the holloa, go as
quick as ever you possibly can, but do not start off at
a mad gallop holloaing and blowing your horn ; if
you do you will get your hounds' heads up, and
when you want them to hunt they will be looking
up at you, and be careful of running heel, when you
lay them on.
Lord Henry Bentinck, referring to a huntsman
galloping off with his hounds flogged up to him,
remarks : " Often enough in being whipped up in
this way to their huntsman, when crossing the line
of the fox with their heads up, they first catch
his wind and then as a matter of course they must
take the scent heel-way, the fox as a rule running
Avoid " lifting " your hounds as a general rule.
Sometimes, however, it is necessary to do so. For
instance, you get on to a bit of very bad scenting
ground, and are getting further and further behind
your fox ; the pack can hardly work out the line,
and you are virtually at a standstill. There is
better scenting ground some fields beyond, and it
is necessary to get on to it as soon as possible.
Stop your hounds altogether, and take them
quickly but quietly to the point you wish to lay
them on at, but if that point is not far off, or sheep
or cattle are the hindering cause, then it is better
to press them on than to " lift " them.
Sometimes when a fox runs into a small covert
huntsmen stop their hounds and hold them round
it on the chance that he has gone through it, and
so save a few minutes. It is far better to let them
hunt him through it. You may change foxes or
another fox may go away with your hunted fox and
there will then be two lines, and so on. If, how-
ever, the manoeuvre is adopted, let your whippers-in
keep a sharp look-out that your hunted fox does not
With a sinking fox and he running short, do not
get excited, let your hounds work it out. Get their
heads up and you will lose him.
With a sinking fox, unless you are getting very
close to him, if the scent appears to get better take
care you may not have changed foxes, because the
scent of a sinking fox is weaker than that of a fresh
Old hounds know this, therefore watch them
well. If they hold back you have changed foxes.
If a fox gets to ground always cast carefully
round to be certain he is really there. He may
have tried the place — gone in for a moment and
come out again — or gone right through. Through
neglecting this precaution some extremely ludicrous
If a beaten fox goes to ground it is better to dig
him out if you can. People say, " Oh, spare a good
fox for another day," but he will most likely die
GONE AWAY. 21
It is useful sometimes to dig a fox for the good
of the hounds, especially if they are short of blood,
but the frequent digging of foxes is likely to en-
courage loafers to unstop drains, &c., in order to
earn a few shillings.
Always let your hounds have a good worry
when they kill their fox.
Mr. Jorrocks says " It Is clearly the duty of
every man to subscribe to a pack of 'ounds even if
he has to borrow the money." The late Mr. T.
Drake, speaking of a certain gentleman, rem_arked,
" He doesn't know the rudiments of hunting. He
doesn't know how to subscribe." It stands to
reason that those who hunt should subscribe
liberally to those packs with which they take
their pleasure. The Secretaries of neighbouring
hunts should combine to prevent niggards from
shirking their duties.
Gentlemen should always turn out properly
dressed for hunting. It is an insult to the master
and the hunt in general not to do so.
The present fashion of turning out second
horsemen in a sort of mufti which makes them
look like third-class helpers in a livery stable is
most objectionable. If a gentleman can afiford a
second horse, he can afford to dress his servant
properly, that is in livery.
There are three hints with regard to riding to
hounds which are often forgotten.
Take care at a fence to give the man in front of
you plenty of room in case he should fall.
If you want to wake your horse up on nearing a
fence remember that the spur is likely to stop him
and put him out of his stride, therefore apply it
GENERAL NOTES. 23
some strides from the fence, press him with your
legs and keep his head straight.
In riding at a fence in company always keep a
fair interval between you and the next man,
especially if on the left-hand side of him, for horses
generally, if they refuse, run to the left, and you
then will avoid a collision.
In going to cover, gentlemen should always
avoid doing damage by riding over seeds, wheat,
&c., and should never disturb a cover Hkely to be
drawn in the course of the day, by going through
or near it. Motor-cars have come into general use
since these notes were made. If you use one for
going to cover always slow down when passing
horses led or ridden ; always stop at least a mile
from the meet, and never allow your car on any
pretence whatever to follow the hounds.
Gentlemen should never talk to a whipper-in
when on duty, and avoid assembling behind him
when watching a ride in covert. Conversation is
sure to ensue, which is certain to take off his
attention from what he is doing, prevent his
hearing what is going on, and very likely head
the fox back or cause him to let the fox cross
Gentlemen should never ride amongst the
hounds, nor should they ride too close to hounds
when going from covert to covert, and when
running should never press on them so as to drive
them over the scent. Many a time what might
have been a good run has been ruined by this, nor
should they follow a huntsman about when casting,
but stand perfectly still. When a fox is being
broken up they should keep their horses well away
from the hounds. The smell of blood excites them
and causes them to kick at the hounds.
Gentlemen should watch hounds closely, and
see and learn what they are doing ; many fancy
they are on the line again when they are really
only casting themselves forward, and begin to
niggle on, which interferes greatly with the cast and
is most irritating to a huntsman.
If a gentleman is wide of the pack and sees the
hunted fox and the hounds are on the line and
within sight, he should not holloa, but wave his hat.
If he lays down, let him be.
If they are at a check and well within hearing,
he should stand exactly where he saw the fox and
holloa and wave his hat, but he must be very
careful not to ride the fox. If they are out of
hearing he should mark the place exactly and go
and tell the huntsman as quickly as possible.
Gentlemen, especially strangers, should always
treat the farmers with courtesy. They are as a
body most excellent, kind, hospitable men, who
walk the puppies admirably, are always glad to see
hounds, and even when they do not hunt them-
selves do all they can to promote the sport, and it
is through them that hunting flourishes.
Gentlemen who do not farm themselves should
purchase their forage from the neighbouring farmers
if possible. I say if possible, because often farmers
do not grow the necessary quality of oats. When
possible, too, they should buy their horses from the
GENERAL NOTES. 25
farmers. It is by these means that hunting benefits
Enormous sums are spent in hunting which
would be spent elsewhere were it not for hunting,
and though some people cry out and say they get
but little good out of it, still the whole country
most certainly does reap the benefit, and in all
sorts of ways profits by hunting, and would soon
find out the loss were it given up. Hundreds of
hunting men subscribe to Agricultural Societies,
Horse Shows, etc., in counties with which they are
in no way connected, except that they come and
hunt there, and I would beg of them always to
subscribe to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent
A cheery word of good morning or good
evening and a sixpence for services rendered goes
a long way with the foot people out hunting, and
these too can be of the greatest help and assistance
to the hunt. Depend upon it, the more you keep
in with them the better it will be for you. They
are quite as keen as you are about the sport, and
Masters should do all they can to encourage the
good feeling and never disappoint them by meeting
at one place and going off to draw at another.
I would recommend young gentlemen to
remember the following lines. The rhymes are
perhaps imperfect, but the advice is excellent : —
If jyou happen to think that the huntsman is wrong,
And imagine yo?i know where bold Reynard has gone,
Keep that thought to yourself^ for the language is strong
That's addressed to the young British sportsman.
HINTS FOR SECOND HORSEMEN.
A second horseman should always be a steady,
sober, trustworthy man, a good horseman, smart in
appearance, sharp and quick-witted, should always
think what he is about and keep his head on his
He has special care of the horses which are to
hunt that day, and in company with the head groom
and the farrier, see that the shoeing is all right,
that the horses are properly turned out, and that
the saddles, bridles, etc., are properly put on, and
the girths and safety bars in safe and proper order.
He should never be behindhand, but start in
good time. Five-and-a-half miles an hour is about
the best pace to travel at. He must not dawdle
along, and on no account whatever stop at a Public
House on his way to cover. Nothing looks so
disreputable as a second horseman drinking on the
In going to the meet and returning home he
should avoid riding over seeds and wheat and
doing other damage, and on no account pass
through or disturb a covert likely to be drawn
If a horse should fall lame, and he cannot detect
on which leg, he should trot the horse, which will
most likely toss up his head as he puts down the
sore leg or foot.
On arrival at the meet, he should get his horses
HINTS FOR SECOND HORSEMEN. 27
into a stable or stackyard, get them to stale,
examine their feet all round, get them tidy, and see
to their girths, etc.
He should keep a look-out for his master, so
that on his arrival he may not have to look for his
He should communicate any instructions the
groom may have given him regarding the horses,
especially if his master has been away from home,
and tell him how the horses came to covert, if they
He must remember that the master of the
hounds is supreme in the field, and obey any
instructions he may receive from him.
He should remain with the hunt second horse-
men, and keep to the bridle roads and lanes,
carefully shut all gates behind him, and never jump
his horse if he can avoid doing so.
He should come up to his master when a fox is
killed or run to ground, taking care never to ride
into the pack. He should keep his eye on his
master at a check, if the second horses happen to
be near enough, that he may see if he is wanted.
By keeping with the hunt second horses he will do
less damage and his master will find him more
He should learn the country thoroughly, the
names of the villages and coverts and their positions,
the roads, lanes and bridle roads. Experience will
soon teach him the probable run of a fox, and let
him remember that a fox which has once turned
down wind rarely turns up wind again.
He should bear in mind the three following rules,
though they apply more especially to hunt servants
than private second horsemen.
1. If he sees the hunted fox and the hounds are
on the line and in sight, he should stand still and
wave his hat. If he lays down, let him be.
2. If they are at a check and well within sight
and hearing, he should holloa and wave his hat ; he
must take care not to ride the fox, but note exactly
where he saw him and in which direction he was
3. If they are too far off to hear his holloa, he
should carefully mark the place and go at once as
quickly as possible and tell the huntsman.
He should get his horse to stale whenever he can.
Never give a heated horse cold water or let him
stand in the cold ; it is apt to bring on colic.
When he is sent home when hounds are drawing
a covert, he should wait till they have gone away
for fear of heading the fox or doing other mischief.
He should travel home at an easy pace, not slow
enough to allow a horse to get a chill, nor fast
enough to tire him, but he must not dawdle.
He should ride on the grass by the side of the
road when it is not deep. If it is deep, then, on
the side of the road. If the horse is tired, the road
itself is the best ; anyhow, always keep on the road
when it gets dark.
If he puts his horse up at an inn, he should
throw the rug over him inside out, for fear of
When he puts a horse up, he should loosen his
HINTS FOR SECOND HORSEMEN. 29
girths, take off his bridle, give him some chill
water, that is very lukewarm water ; that is better
than gruel, which is apt to turn sour, and give him
a bit of good old sweet hay. On no account give
him hay which is at all musty. A few handfuls of
good oats are better than that. Pick up his feet
and examine them all round and get him to stale.
Some horses stale better after having had their
drink. Ten or fifteen minutes is quite long enough
On arrival home report at once to the groom
what the horses have done, whether it has been a
hard day or not : if they have coughed or fallen
lame, hit themselves or been down, and if he has
put up, and where.
The claims sent in for loss of poultry have
become a very serious question in hunting finance.
Were you to see the enormous number sent in you
would imagine all the poultry in the Empire was
hatched and reared in your country, and all the
foxes in England were collected in it to devour
them. No doubt the majority of these losses are
bond fide losses, but people forget that poultry have
other foes than foxes. Disease, cats, dogs, rats
and other vermin, to say nothing of two-legged
foxes, are often the real culprits. But if they lose
poultry they put it all down to " the fox " without
enquiry. Many, too, are utterly careless about
shutting up their fowls at night, which, of course,
is exposing them to almost certain destruction. I
regret to say, too, that there is a class of man in
every country who desires to get a certain sum out
of the hunt and sends in claims, expecting only to
get a certain proportion. These claims are gener-
ally fictitious, and fowls are charged for that have
never been in existence at all. I have heard of
men who, on taking a new farm, have calmly asked,
" How much can be made out of the hunt .'' " Great
care is therefore necessary in dealing with these
claims, which should be at once investigated, and, if
just, paid promptly.
Foxes are often accused of killing lambs.
POULTRY CLAIMS. 31
Sometimes they do, but it is very often, indeed,
that the real culprit is the shepherd's own dog.
Shepherds often give the dead lambs to their dogs,
and hence the mischief. One of the uses of
advertising the meets is to enable farmers to know
when to expect hounds, and so shut up their sheep
and stock and prevent any accident which might
possibly occur through hounds running through
Webster Famiiy Library of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings Schooi of Veterinary Medicine at
200 Westboro Road