top of page

Glossary of Terms

All on - All hounds present and accounted for.


Babbling - When hounds are giving voice or barking for no good reason. It is not good because it distracts other hounds from working.


Biddability - The hounds’ desire to please and willingness to be controlled.


Burning Scent - The English definition is when hounds run almost mute, owing to the strength of the scent. An American definition is when scent is where hounds can carry the line without putting their noses down and the cry turns to a roar.


Buttons - Hunt buttons are awarded with hunt colors. Each button has the logo of the hunt engraved on it. Hunt buttons are only worn with formal attire.


Cast - When the huntsman sends hounds into a cover or brings them together and then sends them another direction, he is said to be casting his hounds.


Check - When hounds in chase stop for want of scent, or have overrun it.


Colors - Every hunt has their particular color. This color is worn on their collar and lapel when wearing scarlet. When hunting in formal attire riders have either scarlet or black coats, but the colors on their collar are always the same. Only members who have been awarded colors can wear that color on their coats.  When a member has been awarded their colors it is considered an honor acknowledging them as full status members of the hunt. Once awarded colors they must wear hunt buttons on any coat with colors.


Country - The area where a pack of hounds operates.


Couple - Two hounds (any sex). Hounds are always counted in couples.


Cry - The sound given by hounds when hunting.


Cub Hunting - Hunting early in the season. A period where hounds go out very early.  Usually very short early morning hunts in informal attire. 


Drafted - When hounds are given to another hunt they are drafted.


Drag -  The scent left from a lure dragged on the ground for hounds to follow simulating a live fox in a drag hunt.


Entered Hound - A hound which has been hunted for one season or more. During his first season of hunting a hound may be referred to as an unentered hound


Field - The group of members and guests, excluding the MFH and staff, gathered to follow hounds on any particular day


Field Master - The person who is responsible for the field while out hunting


Field Secretary - The person a hunt designates who when people arrive at the meet collects caps, gets waivers signed and directs parking is sometimes called the field secretary.


Fixture Card - The printed schedule of hunt meets, listing times and locations.


Full Cry - When the whole pack is running hard and throwing or giving tongue.


Hold Hard - "Stop please"


Honor - One hound honors another when he gives tongue on a line that another hound has been hunting


Hunt Whip - Consists of a crop and lash specifically for mounted hunting. Only staff are allowed to use around hounds and is seldom if ever used to hit them. It can be cracked to get hounds heads up or shown to get a hound to move in a particular direction. Field members can carry a hunting whip, but it is only used if they are asked to help whip-in, to open gates or pick up something that has dropped.


Huntsman - The person who hunts hounds and is responsible for the care, breeding, and training of the hounds.


Lark - Jumping fences unnecessarily when hounds are not running.


Master - This almost always refers to the Master of Foxhounds (MFH), the person responsible for the hunting and the organization of the country.


Open - When a hound first gives tongue on a line.


Panel - A jump built into a fence line specifically for foxhunting.


Pinks - A term used to describe the red or scarlet hunt coat. Originated from a fable of a tailor whose last name was Mr. Pinque who supposedly made the first red hunt coats. People started calling red coats pinks after the tailor and it caught on. Maybe this came about because some red coats bleach out to pink after enough use or it was a name dropping trend for those in the know. The correct term is red or scarlet.


Point - Straight line distance made good in a run.


Ratcatcher - Informal hunting attire, correct for cubbing or weekday hunting.


Reaching - Reaching means hounds reach forward well ahead of the huntsman. The term can also be used when describing hounds’ action at a check. Once hounds have lost at the check, they should fan out and reach well forward, covering large areas.


Scarlets - Formal function attire. Individual hunt colors are worn on the collar and lapel. Scarlets are traditionally a swallow tail. It is traditional that ladies wear black or white gowns at formal hunt functions like a ball or dinner.


Speak - When a hound smells the scent, it is sometimes said such a hound speaks to it.


Staff - The Huntsman and Whippers-In.


Stern - The hound's tail.


Territory - The area officially designated by the MFHA where a hunt is allowed to operate.


Ware - Shortened form of beware. To take note of something you need to avoid. Usually ware hound, ware wire, ware hole.


Whipper-In - The staff members who assist the huntsman with discipline and behavior of hounds in the hunt field.

bottom of page