Autumn hunting

Autumn hunting is a gentle introduction for young hounds, new hunt staff, horses and followers to the forthcoming season.

If you wish to take part, arrangements should be made through the secretary, whose details you can find from your local hunt website. If you haven’t been out before let the secretary know and they will try to pair you up with an more experienced follower.

While smart turnout is expected, you are not required to plait and tweed hacking jackets (ratcatcher) should be worn, rather than black hunt coats.

Autumn hunting takes place when the harvest allows, usually from late August up to the opening meet at the end of October or first week in November. Meets are held early in the morning to maximize scenting conditions, which helps the young hounds follow the trails that have been laid.

As the season goes on, the start times get later due to the hours of daylight. Generally, a 6.30am meet would be expected in early September, although many packs organise afternoon meets followed by social events to encourage as many people as possible.

Once you have paid your money to the secretary, it’s up to you how long you remain in the field. However, if you wish to leave before hounds go home, make sure you ask the secretary which way to go to ensure you don’t get in the way of the hounds, nor ride across land you shouldn’t.