A fox hunting

Rules of Terrier Work


Rules are set by the N.W.T.F. and M.F.H.A. in conjunction with each other. In fox-hunting with an associated Pack of Hounds the rules of the M.F.H.A. are to be applied in cases where the N.W.T.F'.s need amplification or adaption to circumstances.

N.W.T.F. ( National Working Terrier Federation) Rules:

Hunt Terriermen are encouraged to join The National Working Terrier Federation. Members are expelled if they are found to have broken the NWTF's Code of Conduct, which is summarised below:-
  • Work is solely to provide a pest control service which is at all times to be humane,efficient and selective.
  • Care is always be taken to minimise any risk of injury to either the quarry or the terrier.
  • Wherever practical only one terrier is to be entered to ground at a time.
  • The risk to the animals is to be minimised by either digging to the quarry, removing the terrier and dispatching the quarry in the hole by shooting with a humane killing round or by causing it to leave the earth (bolting) into a net or to standing guns. Foxes caught in nets are to be dispatched immediately by shooting with a humane killing round or are to be transported elsewhere and released. In all instances the landowner's expressed wishes are to be followed.
  • Where the landowner requires that a fox be released elsewhere, its safety welfare and comfort are to be paramount considerations. It is to be noted that an animal becomes "captive" if restrained in any way, in which case the Protection of Animals Act 1911 is to be observed. Injured foxes are never to be released and are to be dispatched as soon as possible. Foxes are only to be released where the landowner or his agent has given specific permission.
  • The terrier is to bark at the quarry continuously to bolt it or to indicate its location so that it can be dug down to and dispatched. There are to be no unnecessary delays in digging down or arranging to dispatch a quarry which is to be bolted.
  • All excavations are to be back-filled and the earth and surrounding area reinstated to as close as possible to its original condition. Particular attention is to be paid to the safety of stock and the earth's future use.
  • The use of locator collars to assist in quickly locating the quarry is strongly recommended.
  • All persons working with terriers are to be familiar with the Five Rules for the Terriermen given in the Consolidated Badger Act 1993.

M.F.H.A. (Masters of Foxhounds Association) Terrier Work Rules

  • When a fox is run to ground it is for the Master to decide what is to be done and he shall have regard to the wishes of the landowner concerned. If the decision is that the fox be killed it must be humanely destroyed.
  • When a hunted fox is run to ground in a natural earth, there should be no digging other than for the purpose of humanely destroying the fox.
  • A Fox, which has been handled, must be humanely destroyed immediately,, but under no circumstances left.
  • The practise of bolting a fresh fox is permitted.
  • The practise of bolting a hunted fox, which has taken refuge in any man made structure such as drains, stick heaps, straw bales and the like, and also in rocks and places in which digging is impossible, is permitted.
  • The practise of bolting should only be undertaken when hounds have been taken away such a distance that they are out of sight of the place of refuge and unable to hear any operations thereat. In any event, a fox when bolted must be given a fair and sporting chance of escape before hounds are laid on.
  • You are reminded that digging is allowed only at the request of the landowner, farmer, or shooting tenant. This may be verbal and may be received before the Hunting season. The decision on whether to dig remains with the Master.
  • When digging or bolting, only one terrier may be used at a time, except in clitters of rocks or large stacks of bales.
  • It is forbidden for Terriermen to bring on a dead fox to be broken up by hounds. All carcasses of dead foxes, whether caught by hounds or dug out, must be picked up and disposed of.