Hunting Guide | North Norfolk Harriers |

                                                      Hunting Guide

This guide is aimed at helping newcomers to hunting who are planning their first day out, but we hope it will also serve as a useful reminder for more experienced hunt followers.

A day's hunting involves considerable planning, time and effort on the part of the Master and Huntsman, Field Masters, and other Hunt officials, and the basic rules of hunting are there to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe day. Appropriate behavior, dress code and well turned out horses show courtesy and appreciation to farmers and landowners who allow us to ride over their ground.

It is compulsory for all mounted followers to have third party indemnity insurance.

We hope this guide will help you to feel more at home and don't worry if you can't remember it all at once. If in doubt: don't be afraid to ask! 

Before coming to a Meet

The first thing is to phone the Secretary, Amanda Brownlow 01263 740446 to ask permission to join us for the day and check the amount you will need to pay (the "cap"). She will also be able to tell you where the Meet is and the best place to park.

Children

Children are welcome but must be accompanied by a competent responsible adult at all times.

What to wear

Our approved dress code is a black or blue Hunt coat with a white stock or a hacking jacket, with a coloured stock or tie, fawn or cream breeches or jodhpurs, black or brown boots, and a black, brown or blue hat.  For your own safety your hat should be of an approved standard with a properly fitting chinstrap/harness.   Barbour type jackets are acceptable if the weather is bad. Spurs are optional. You will find gloves are essential in cold weather! If you wish to wear a back protector, please feel free to do so.

It is customary for female followers to keep their hair "up" by wearing a hairnet or arranging their hair neatly under their hat throughout the day.

The Masters, huntsman, whips, and Secretary wear a green coat with red collar.

Going to the Meet

Allow plenty of time! You'll find it much less stressful if you have ample time to get parked, unload and get your horse and yourself ready. Please park only at the approved place the Secretary has told you: never park in gateways or block or restrict farm or public access.

In your pockets

We suggest you should carry:

Money for your cap

Some baler twine and a penknife

A mobile phone

Possibly a hip flask and chocolate!

At the Meet

The Field Secretary will collect the "cap" from mounted followers at the Meet. This is normally Amanda Brownlow, Jane Cadman, Polly  Baker or Sarah Kemp. Although they will be aware of "new faces", it's your responsibility to find her and pay your "cap"!

Stand your horse in a quiet place out of the way of the hounds. You will usually be offered a glass of something and a "nibble" at the Meet.

You should note who the Field Master is for the day: this is usually Buffy Willcox or Helen Love, and will be announced by the Master. The Field Master guides the mounted followers during the day's hunting and knows where the field can or can't go and the best routes to follow. Make sure you keep behind him/her at all times and follow their instructions immediately. 

Hounds

Hounds must be respected at all times. Be alert to move out of the way if the pack shifts position or comes towards you: always turn your horse to face hounds if they are passing (to minimise the risk of your horse kicking out).

Your horse

If your horse is liable to kick make sure other mounted followers are aware: and you have a red ribbon in its tail. If you have a young horse and you are unsure of its temperament around other horses, it should wear a green ribbon in its tail. In each case, you should keep to the back of the field.

Jumping

Never jump unless the Field Master has gone first or indicated that it is okay to jump. Always give Hunt staff priority and don't attempt to jump if a hound is anywhere near the jump. If your horse is an uncertain jumper, let others go first: if your horse refuses, let others have their turn before you try again. If you break a jump, make sure it is made stock proof before your go on and make sure you report the breakage to the Field Secretary or the Field Master.

Non jumpers

If you don't want to jump: don't worry. There are always a number of non jumping members of the field who will be able to guide you to the nearest gate.

Gates

All gates which are shut must be shut after you pass through, in order to prevent stock escaping. If in doubt whether a gate was open or not, shut it!

Livestock

Always slow down near livestock and give them a wide berth. Spooked livestock can easily break through fences. If stock bunch up in a corner, stop and wait for them to shift before moving on.

Traffic

Please don't hold up traffic unless absolutely necessary: keep well in to the side to let vehicles pass, and thank them for slowing down or waiting. On roads, listen out for a shout of "Car, please" which means traffic is approaching and you should get in to the side. If you pass pedestrians, a smile and "Good morning" or other greeting will usually be appreciated.

Ground conditions

If conditions are wet, please be careful over grass fields: keep right into the edge where possible and don't canter if the ground is cutting up. Be aware of young grass/new seeds and keep off it at all times: if in doubt, ask a more experienced member of the field. Listen out for instructions from the Field Master.

Going home

It is traditional to say "Goodnight", at whatever time you leave, or at the end of the day.

                                                       Hunting terms

The Meet - This is the place where the hounds, the hunt masters and followers/supporters will gather and this normally centres around a point in a village such as a pub, the village green, a house or a local landmark. The Meet is a social occasion that gives everyone a chance to talk and discuss conditions for the day.

The Master(s) - is in control of the hunt and his or her word is final.The Master will decide where and when the hounds will meet, what coverts are able to be drawn and when hounds will go home. This role is often divided between several Joint Masters.

The Field - is the name given to all the followers on horses who are controlled by the field master. The field master will ride at the end of the field and all followers should keep behind him/her. He/she is responsible for making sure that the field does not get too close to the hounds and that they cross country in a responsible manner.

The Huntsman - Uses a horn by which to control the hounds and send messages to the hunt staff and the field. He will make sure that hounds work together as a pack by encouraging them with a series of signals.

The Whipper-In - there is often more than one whipper-in and their most important duty is to assist the huntsman in controlling hounds. They often collect hounds up at the end of the day and make sure that they are kept together as a pack whilst hunting the trail. Only the huntsman will give orders to the Whipper-in

.The Secretary - is normally in charge of the hunt paperwork in terms of subscriptions and organizing and promoting events. Usually your "Cap" (amount charged for the day) will be taken by the hunt secretary at the meet but they may nominate somebody else! They also sort out any problems with Landowners and any broken jumps or gates should be reported to the Secretary or nominee.

 The Cap - The daily charge for everybody.

 The Cast - When hounds search for a lost line.

 The Check - When hounds loose the sent.

The Country - The area within which a hunt operates with the permission of Landowners/Farmers.

The Covert - Pronounced "cover"- a wood or other area of vegetation where a scent may be found.

The Draw - To send hounds through a covert to find the scent.

The Foil - Any smell or disturbed ground which spoils the scent line of the trail.

The Line - The scent left by the trail layer.

Speak - Hounds do not bark, they speak or give tongue when they are hunting a scent.