Hunting traditions have evolved over the centuries to bring them in line with the changing times or country characteristics. However, in reality hunting continues to be practiced internationally following the original basic principles.

Hunting etiquette is the 'unwritten code' associated with the sport and encompasses those tried and true traditions of procedure, dress and conduct that have been found to be practical to ensure the hunt day is organised, safe, enjoyable and in the best interest of the sport.

Before the Hunt

  • On arrival to a hunt (referred to as a meet) it is customary to greet the Master with “Good Morning Master”. 

  • It is customary to use “Good Morning” as the welcome greeting on the day of a Hunt, even if it is afternoon.

  • The Hunt is, at all times, the guest of the Landowner and it is a privilege to be invited on to their land. It is expected that when Landowners are present, they are acknowledged by members with greetings and thanks. 

  • If you bring a visitor to the Hunt, please introduce the visitor to your Master.

  • It is customary for members to attend the stirrup cup and be addressed by the Master at 11.30 am. Please be dressed in hunting attire, have your horse ready and caps paid to the Field Secretary in plenty of time beforehand.

  • All members and visitors are expected to contribute a plate of food to be shared at the "breakfast" after the hunt, please make sure all food requiring heating is cut and put in the pie warmer before the stirrup cup.

  • Members are expected to put up their Hunt collar and wear a name badge.

  • Children under the age of 12 years must be accompanied by a mounted parent or guardian.  

  • Dogs are not permitted on Hunt properties.

  • Members should refer to the Hunt as Northland Hunt and not Northland Hunt Club.

  • Make sure you are aware of the photography and social media guidelines.

  • The hunt "throws off" at midday (12.00 pm). All riders should be mounted at this time and assembled with the Master ready to ride out. 

  • As in all sports there is terminology associated with hunting. For example, ‘Hunts’ are referred to as such and not as ‘Hunt Clubs’. ‘Hounds’ are not called ‘dogs’ and they ‘speak’ or ‘give tongue’ and do not bark. This is referred to as ‘music’ and not barking.

  • There is also etiquette associated with counting hounds.  Traditionally, Hounds were often coupled together to allow better control when being walked to meets, thus hounds are referred to as “couples’.

During the Hunt

  • Please do not overtake or pass the Master, override the hounds or take short cuts. 

  • When on a run please follow the line the Master rides, or within reason close to it. Give the hounds plenty of room and if you end up in the wrong place stand still until the hounds have moved on.

  • Sometimes we encounter young grass, crops, airstrips and wet areas.  Please keep to the edge of such areas in order to avoid causing damage.  Please also avoid ploughing the country by galloping down steep hill sides.

  • When the field is jumping, riders who prefer to use a gate must not open the gate until all jumping has ceased.

  • Always ride straight to your fences and exit on a straight line to avoid interference with other riders. 

  • When riding through a gateway please ensure the person following you acknowledges whether or not the gate needs to be closed or left open before continuing on.  Call “Gate please” if the gate is to be closed.  If in doubt, please close the gate.

  • Members of the field, when standing on a track or in a gateway, should immediately make way when the hounds are approaching, turning their horse’s head towards the hounds.  

  • Members of the field should always give way to the Huntsman, Whippers-in and Master, particularly when the hounds are running.

  • Land owners are very special to the Hunt and at all times their property should be respected.

  • Accidents do happen on the Hunt field, so please report any damage to property to the field masters. If you break a tape, stop and fix it.

  • Any noise or disruption will cause the hounds to lift their heads, break their concentration on the scent and lose the hare.  When watching the hounds work, particularly if they are close, please keep as quiet as possible.

  • If you hear the call “Hold hard”, stop immediately and keep quiet so you don’t disturb the hounds’ concentration or the scent of the hunted hare.

  • If your horse has a refusal you should give way to those coming through behind you, after three refusals at a fence you should look for a gate.

  • When stock are in a paddock please ride with caution.  Avoid crowding stock into a corner, keep stock together and do not split mobs of stock into groups.

  • Should you retire from the field early, advise either the Deputy Master, Field Master or committee member.  This is a safety precaution and is a courtesy to your Master.  Do not jump on the way home!

  • Be helpful to visitors or young riders who are having trouble with their mounts.

  • Car and motorbike followers should keep together as much as possible and avoid heading the hare or getting between the hounds and the hare.  Switch off engines as exhaust fumes destroy the hounds’ scenting ability

  • Hazards may include implements parked in long grass or behind hedges, high wires above fences, wire fences behind hedges, electric wires remaining ‘live’, holes, rough or slippery ground.

After the Hunt

  • It is etiquette to remain in hunting attire and stay for the Hunt “breakfast” (afternoon tea) so you will be present when the Master thanks the land owners for the great privilege of hunting over their property.

  • It is customary to wait till the Master has taken food before helping yourself.

  • Please remove spurs prior to the Hunt breakfast.

  • It is appreciated by the Master and particularly the land owner when members thank the land owner on a personal basis before leaving the hunt breakfast.