Ask the Experts
By Hugh Robards
The author explains how a huntsman deploys hounds when drawing covert for a fox, and the considerations that dictate his tactics. Drawing is what the huntsman does when seeking a fox, not to be confused with casting for the fox when hounds are at fault.
Hugh Robards and the foxhounds of the Middleburg Hunt / by Middleburg Photo
On leaving the meet, you might want to keep close to the Field Master so you are in a good position to observe what is going on at the first draw. The whippers-in and other helpers have gone to various point of the covert to view the fox away. Notice on approaching the covert, not one hound leaves the huntsman until he tells them to leu in, at which time hounds enter the covert and begin searching for the scent of a fox. The huntsman wants all hounds in covert when a fox is found so they will all be there to apply pressure, push it out, and be together on the line when it goes away.
If it is a large covert, the huntsman will draw it into the wind, thereby giving the pack every opportunity to wind and rouse their fox. He will also ride into the covert, cheering and encouraging his hounds: “Lieu try, try in there, leu wind ’im, push ’im up old dogs.” That may be what it looks like in print, but most huntsmen make guttural noises that few people can understand!