The River Hills Foxhounds territory encompasses the farm and forestland in southern Lancaster County and southwestern Chester County. The Hunt would not be a success without the kind generosity of the landowners. River Hills Foxhounds underlying principle is to further well-prepared staff and pack of hounds.
History about Fox hunting
Fox hunting is an activity involving the tracking, chase, traditionally a red fox, by trained foxhounds (scent hounds) and a group of followers led by a master of foxhounds, who follow the hounds on foot or on horseback. Fox hunting originated in it's current form in the United Kingdom in the 16th century, but is practiced all over the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and the United States. The sport is controversial, particularly in the UK, where bans were introduced for Scotland in 2002, then for England and Wales in November 2004. Proponents see it as an important part of the rural culture, useful for conservation and pest control, while opponents argue that it is cruel and unnecessary. The use of scent hounds to track prey dates back to Assyrian, Babylonian, and ancient Egyptian times, and is known as venery. Many Greek and Roman influenced countries have long traditions of hunting with hounds. Hunting with Agassaei hounds was popular in Celtic Britain, even before the Romans arrived, with their Castorian and Fulpine hound breeds which they used to hunt. Norman hunting traditions were brought to Britain when William the Conqueror arrived, along with the Gascon and Talbot hounds.
Commonly Used Terms
Brush- A fox's tail is always called a brush.
Cast- A planned move in searching for a line (trail) or to make a cast. Hounds may cast themselves, or the Huntsman may cast them.
Check- An interruption of the run caused by hounds losing the line. Hounds check when they lose the line temporarily.
Couple- 1.Two hounds, for convenience in counting. 2. A device for keeping two hounds attached to each other for convenience in control or training. To attach two hounds together by use of couples.
Covert- A patch of woods or brush where a fox might be found.
Babble- To give tongue on scent other than fox, on no scent at all, or on a scent too faint to follow.
Cap- 1. The headgear reserved to the MFH and staff. 2. To "pass the hat" amongst the field. Visitors may be "capped" or asked to pay a "capping fee". A hunt may have a "cap" for some particular purpose, such as paneling, charity, etc.
Colors- 1. The distinctive colors which distinguish the uniform of one hunt from another. Usually a distinctive color of collar on a scarlet coat. 2. To be awarded or given the colors is to be given the right to wear them and the hunt button.
Cry- The sound given by hounds when hunting.
Cub- A young fox.
Cub Hunting- Early hunting before the formal season. Hounds are encouraged to stay in covert, foxes that go away being permitted to do so in peace, if practical. This gets cubs in the habit of running straight, rather than circling in covert.
Double- To "double the horn" is to blow a series if short sharp notes. Signifies a fox is afoot.
Draw- To search for a fox in a certain area.
Earth- Any place where a fox goes to ground for protection, but usually a place where foxes live regularly- a fox den.
Feather- A hound "feathers" when he indicates, bu actions rather then voice, that he is on a line or near it. The stern is waived, and activity is concentrated and intensified.
Field- The group of people riding to hounds, excluding the MFH and staff.
Field Master- The person designated by the MFH to control the field.
Fixture- The time and place of the meet, or assembly of the hunt.
Ground- "go to ground". To take shelter (usually underground).
Head- To head a fox is to cause it to turn from it's planned direction of travel. This usually causes a check, and is not recommended.
Heel- Backwards. Hounds following the line the wrong way are running "heel".
Hold Hard- "Stop please". If used twice to the same individual, it probably means "Stop please, damn you".
Honor- A hound "honors" when he gives tongue on a line which another hound has been hunting.
Hounds- Hounds are hounds, not dogs. A male hound is known as a dog or a hound. A dog which is not a hound is known as a cur dog, even if his pedigree goes back to 900A.D. or further. Likewise a female hound, not matter how exemplary is known as a bitch.
Lark- Jump fences unnecessarily when hounds are not running, or on non-hunting days.
Line-The trail of a fox.
Mark- (To ground) a hound marks when he indicated that a fox has gone to ground.
Master- The MFH. The person in command of the hunt in field and kennel.
Meet- The assembling of the hunt for a day's sport.
Open- A hound is said to "open" when he first gives tongue on a line.
Panel- The portion of any jumpable fence between two posts.
Point- The straight line distance made good in a run. Also, the location to which a Whipper-In sent to watch for a fox to go away.
Ratcatcher- Informal hunting attire. Correct for cubbing.
Riot- Anything that a hound might hunt that they shouldn't.
Run- A period during which hounds are actually hunting on the line of a fox. Usually implies a gallop for the field, as opposed to a "hunt in covert after a twisting fox".
Speak- To give tongue.
Staff- The Huntsman and Whipper-In.
Stern- Tail of a hound.
Tongue- A hound "gives tongue" when he proclaims with his voice that he is on a line.
View- To view a fox.
View Holloa- The cry given by a staff member on viewing a fox.
Walk- Puppies are "sent out at walk" in the summer and fall of their first year, preferably on farms where they learn about chickens, etc.
Ware- A caution to riders. An abbreviation of beware.
Whelp- A young puppy.
Whipper-In- A staff member who assists the Huntsman in the control of hounds.