A fox hunting

THE ORGANISATION OF A MEDIUM SIZED HUNT

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The Hunt Committee usually own the Hounds, horses, coverts and other assets of the Hunt. They are, therefore, responsible for its finances including all debts.

Each Joint Master is responsible for an aspect (e.g. the Hunt's horses) and an area of country, where he/she liaises with the farmers. The Field Master of the day ( often the Joint Master of the area where the hunt will take place or a leading mounted follower) is responsible for the conduct of the day's hunting. He decides where to draw (i.e. search for foxes), what to do if a fox goes to ground etc. All the mounted followers should stay behind the Field Master and go where he orders. The foot and car followers should also obey the Field Master. All mounted, car and foot followers must take particular care not to get in the way of the fox or people not involved in the hunt (eg: road users). They must keep off parts of roads and tracks towards which a fox may be running and not shout when he is near them, lest they frighten him and turn him towards the hounds. Farmer's crops, livestock, fences etc must be respected and all gates closed immediately a group of followers has passed through. Any livestock that gets out of their field or yard must be returned at once. Any damage must be reported to the Country Maintenance Team as soon as possible then the Field Master informed. He must also be informed where it has been impossible to return escaped livestock. At the end of the day or the next day he or the area's Joint Master will visit any farms which have been inconvenienced or where damage has been done and will arrange follow up; compensation etc.

Organisation

The Huntsman (who may be a Joint Master or a professional), assisted by the Whippers-in, is responsible for handling the hounds and for conducting the day's hunting as required by the Field Master.

The Whippers-in are responsible for helping the Huntsman look after the hounds in the Kennels and when out hunting to keep the hounds together, particularly to keep count of them and to go and get back any that have got far separated. They, assisted by selected followers, also help the Huntsman to know where foxes have left cover.

The Kennelman assists the Huntsman and Whippers-in to look after hounds in the Kennels. Normally this team also operates the Fallen Stock Service, which removes animal casualties from farms. At a well discounted price for farmers who allow the Hunt over their farm. The Team butchers the carcases, recovers anything of value ( to feeding the hounds etc.) and the rest is taken away by renderers, who normally charge for doing it.

The Terrierman with a maximum of two assistants is responsible for using terriers to locate and destroy any fox which has gone to ground and which the farmer or land owner wants despatched. For details of Terrierwork please click here.

The Country Maintenance Team repairs any damage done by the Hunt and assists farmers to keep the countryside in good condition to harbour a just acceptable number of foxes and to cross on horseback.

Joint Masters are not paid. Hunt Staff (Huntsmen, Whippers-in and Kennelmen) may be amateurs with very little, if any, monetary reward. However, many are professionals. Quite often an amateur Huntsman is backed up by a professional Huntsman, known as a Kennel Huntsman.

Many of the grooms are paid but are part time, particularly those working directly for mounted followers.

The Terrierman and/or the Country Maintenance Team are often part time and may well do the job for the love of it rather than for any or anything like full payment.

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