The Hamilton Bloodhounds are based in the village of Easton in Suffolk. There has been a Hunt in the Village of Easton since (1875) – which was formed by the Duke of Hamilton.
The Hamilton Bloodhounds are the newest evolvement of this tradition, and were formed in 2019.
Bloodhounds are tracking hounds and have an incredible nose for the scent of a human! Bloodhounds follow the scent of a human by hunting what we call ‘the clean boot’. This means our hounds follow the completely natural scent of human, not a dragged artificial sent.
All of our meets are by held by the generous invitation of the farmers and landowners, which is especially appreciated as this type of hunting offers no clear benefit to farmers.
A day’s hunting involves an exhilarating two to three hours in the saddle, with the thrill of riding behind a working pack of hounds, jumping a range of ditches and fences.
The Hamilton Bloodhounds usually meet on a Wednesday and Sunday.
Our Human Runners ‘quarry’ run a pre-planned route or ‘line’ which is planned by the Master of the day and Huntsman.
These ‘lines’ are then run by a single runner, in advance of the pack of hounds, with the mounted field following to give chase. Each line will usually be about 2 miles, and about 20 minutes long, with a break in between each line – so that the quarry can start to run the next line.
When the quarry is caught, the hounds receive biscuits, and the quarry receives slobbery licks from the hounds!
Our pack consists of Bloodhounds crossbred with Foxhounds, this gives them speed across open countryside and enthusiasm to cope with natural obstacles. They follow a natural human scent with voice, speed, agility and drive.
The Hamilton Bloodhounds are registered with the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association.
what to expect
What happens at the meet?
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the meet.
- Please check the Meet card for parking details, or ask if you are unsure. The meet time will be advertised in advance, and this means you need to be mounted and ready at the stated time.
- Please make sure you have Emergency Contact Details on you and please ensure you have (at least) Third Party Insurance cover for you and your horse.
- There is often refreshments available prior to the meet – so it is advisable to be at the meet 30 minutes before hand. This gives you a chance to chat to others, pay your cap, and settle your horse.
- If it is your first time out, then please identify yourself to the Hon Secretary, who will show you who’s who, and will be able to answer any questions you may have.
- Remember to say a ‘Good Morning Master’ to the Master of the Day.
- The Huntsman and Whips will be in Green Coats, and both Masters and Committee Members will have buff collars. If you have any problems during the day then do approach a Master or Committee Member and they will be able to advise you. The Huntsman and Whips will be busy with hounds.
- The Field Master of the day will then welcome everyone, thank the landowners, and give out any important information or instructions for the day. It is hugely important to listen to these instructions.
- The Field Master will then say ‘Hounds Please’ to indicate to the Huntsman that it is time to ‘move off’. The Huntsman will blow his horn, and he and the whips will take the hounds to the first line.
- At any time during the day the field Master may say ‘Field Please’ – and you must follow them.
- The Field Master will lead the Field, to follow the Huntsman and Hounds. When the quarry is found, the horses and hounds will have a rest before the next line.
what sort of country do you cover?
The generous landowners in our country kindly allow us to cross varied country. There will be days mainly on farmland, with grass margins, sandy tracks and woodland. Some meets will have ditches and/or jumps – which are usually optional.
how fast do you go?
The type of country and strength of scent determine the speed of travel.
In tighter country the quarry will run tighter lines so the pace will be slower, and in open country there will be a faster pace.
All riders are encouraged to place themselves in the field according to their preference and ability. Should you wish to go at a slower pace, then placing yourself at the back of the field is preferable. There will always be an experienced hunt member near the back of the field to ensure that nobody is left behind, or without assistance.
how fit does my horse need to be?
Prior to Opening Meet, we will be doing lots of walking and trotting, over shorter distances – so this is an ideal way to get both horse and rider fit. If you are coming after the Opening Meet then your horse will need to be reasonably fit, as we can cover approximately 10 to 15 miles (with rests).
what happens at the end of the day?
Please listen to any instructions from your Field Master whilst the Huntsman puts the hounds away, and before the mounted field return to their vehicles.
After you have washed your horses off, there will usually be refreshments available. This is an important part of the day, and donations of cakes and savouries are gratefully received. There will be a small cash donations tin, to keep the tea, coffee and port flowing on hunting days.
Remember to thank our hosts if they are there, and to wish Masters and Hunt staff a ‘Good Night’.
Please ensure you clean up after you and your horse before driving away – so that we leave the meet as tidy as when we arrived.
car and foot followers
Car and Foot Followers are very welcome. Please make yourself known and there will be a designated Hunt Supporter to meet and guide car followers around safely and on permissive routes.
Foot followers should remember we are hunting the scent of a human, and take care not to cross the scent line, otherwise it could disrupt the hounds hunting line – and they may start hunting you!