THE BRAY HARRIERS- CODE OF CONDUCT
This Code is intended as a guide to both newcomers and seasoned followers of hounds.
Black/Navy Hat, Black Jacket, White or Biege Breeches, White Stock and Black Boots. Landowners may wear Rathcatcher (Tweed). Hunting is a highly regulated and organised sport that depends entirely upon the goodwill of the farmers over whose land we hunt. There are 47 packs of hounds fully registered with the Irish Masters of Harriers Association (IMHA). Each registered pack of foxhounds has its own defined territory or hunt country and the hunt kennels are usually situated in the heart of that country.
Organised hunting plays an important part in rural life not only as a recreation but it also plays a critical role in habitat management and preservation. Through hunting many small bogs, coverts and hedgerows, which
provide habitats for many small mammals, birds and insects, are protected and preserved. This voluntary conservation role goes largely unrecognised as most of the coverts, bogs and hedgerows that are preserved belong to farmers and supporters of the hunt.
Hunting also contributes enormously to the local economy. Amongst the many trades and professions that earn some of their income through hunting are the farmers and feed merchants who sell hay, straw, haylage and oats to local horse owners, equestrian centres who provide hirelings, livery or who sell horses, farriers, saddlers, vets, hoteliers and publicans. To some degree each of these trades depend upon the activities of the Hunt Club as part of their income.
Hunting takes place in public and every hunt is publicly accountable for its actions and behaviour. Familiarity with this Code and with all codes of the Hunting Association of Ireland [HAI] and the Irish Masters of Harriers Association [IMHA] will help to ensure that those who participate in hunting understand their obligations to maintain the highest standards of sportsmanship and good behaviour at all times.
Masters of hounds or their appointed agents are solely responsible for conducting the day’s hunting and are bound by the strict rules and instructions of the Irish Masters of Harriers Association. Their authority and responsibility is absolute and their instructions must always be cheerfully obeyed.
The field should remember that the hunt staff is accountable only to the Master or Masters on the day or his or their appointee.
At no time should a member of the Field instruct or interfere with the job of either any member of the Hunt Staff in the hunting field, in kennels or in the hunt country.
Prior to each hunting day the farmers or landowners within the area to be hunted will be notified. Such canvassing ensures the minimum of disruption to farm livestock or the normal activities on a farm.
The Duties of the Field. I.E Those Hunting on the day
Because the hunt meets by arrangement and is a registered member of the HAI and the IMHA, mounted followers enjoy access to large areas of countryside denied to other people. When following hounds mounted, you
(a) Conform to local standards of behaviour. Make yourself familiar with whatever local conventions or traditions need to be observed by hunt followers.
(b) Have a brush and shovel in your horsebox to tidy up any dung or straw when unboxing.
(c) Ensure that your personal turnout is neat, clean and safe and that your tack and horse are clean and presentable. Mounted followers should wear a black jacket, a stock, light coloured breeches/jodhpurs with appropriate riding boots. Headgear should consist of CE approved hat or helmet as a minimum with black peak.
(d) Have your subscription paid before you go hunting. “Cap” must also be paid on each hunting day. Have the correct “cap” ready for the Hunt Secretary.
(e) Ensure that you are not causing an obstruction to roads, gateways or public amenity areas. When parking your horsebox, ensure that you have permission to park there. Be sensitive to the fact that not everyone
enjoys the presence of a hunt or the evidence it may leave behind.
(f) It is important to be punctual at the meet. If you are late, under no circumstances try and follow hounds across country. YOU MUST join the hunt on the Road at the next available opportunity.
(g) Do not cause damage to farm boundaries or hunt fences. If you break a fence or cause or notice damage of any kind, report it immediately to a Master on the day.
(h) Leave gates the way you find them. If in doubt close any and all gates behind you. If there is any doubt contact a master, the huntsman or other member of the hunt staff.
(i) Go slowly through or around livestock to prevent disturbing them. Never cross a planted field. Go around the headland. (j) Above all, obey the Master or Masters or their appointee
and the Field Master. (k) Exercise due care and courtesy to all road users. When on
the road do not hold up traffic.
(l) Always turn your horse’s head towards hounds. In this way your horse is less likely to kick one.
(m) If your horse has been known to be of unfriendly disposition, tie a red ribbon to its tail so as to alert other followers and stay to the rear of the field.
The Duties of Car Followers Car followers are welcome but they must also obey the rules.
- a) Do not interrupt the flow of traffic. Courtesy must be shown to every road user and pedestrian.
- b) Do not obstruct gateways or driveways or enter into private residences, farmland or open country unless you are sure that proper permission has been obtained.
- c) Be careful not to obstruct a farm gateway where the hounds or field might emerge onto a road.
- d) Avoid turning at the driveway into a private residence.
- e) Keep together as much as possible and try to avoid getting between hounds and their line.
- f) Exercise due care and courtesy to all other road users. Do not double park or hold up traffic.
- g) If hounds or horses are nearby, stop in a safe, legal place and SWITCH OFF your engine, exhaust fumes mask scent and irritate hounds’ noses.
- h) Please do all you can to help the hunt. When you leave your vehicle, follow the code for foot followers.
The Duties of Foot Followers
If you leave the road, you become a guest on the farmer’s land and you should behave accordingly.
Be prepared to open or close gates at the request of the hunt staff.
Report any damage or loose stock to a member of the hunt staff Leave gates the way you found them.
Many people use the countryside, some of which have no interest in hunting. We must make every effort not to offend these people in any way. Common courtesy, in the form of a simple ‘please’, ‘thank you,’ or
‘smile’ costs nothing. Politeness and a pleasant manner will go far to ensure the future of hunting.
Finally but most importantly, please remember at all times that hunting depends upon the goodwill and generosity of farmers and landowners. To be invited onto their land is a great privilege and we must never do anything to abuse this great honour.