Coursing

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The Hunter, oil on canvas, Alfred Kowalski

Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs—chiefly greyhounds and other sighthounds—catching their prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practised by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, and commoners with sighthounds and lurchers. In its oldest recorded form in the Western world, as described by Arrian, the sport was practised by all levels of society, as remained the case until Carolingian forest law appropriated hunting grounds, or commons, for the king, the nobility, and other land owners.

Animals coursed include hares, rabbits, foxes, deer of all sorts, antelope, gazelle, jackals, wolves. Jackrabbits and coyotes are the most common animals coursed in America. Competitive coursing in Ireland, the UK and Spain has two dogs running together. In America, generally speaking three dogs are run together.

The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act and the Hunting Act 2004 (in England and Wales) made it illegal to course any type of mammal except rabbits and rats. Dogs are still permitted to chase (flush) game into the path of a waiting gun, as long as no more than two dogs are used.

In Australia, dogs may be used to hunt feral animals such as foxes, deer, goat, rabbit and pigs.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Steve Copold Hounds Hares & Other Creatures: The Complete Book of Coursing 1977/1996
  • William Dansey Arrian On Coursing: the Cynegeticus London: J. Bohn, 1831 [1]
  • A.A. Phillips & M.M. Willcock Xenophon & Arrian On Hunting with hounds 1999
  • Grant-Rennick Coursing, The Pursuit of Game with Gazehounds 1976 [2]
  • "Dutch" Salmon Gazehounds & Coursing 1977/1999
  • Stable & Stuttard A Review of Coursing 1971
  • George Turbervile The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting 1576. See page 246 "A short observation ... concerning coursing" [3]
  • Walsh Longdogs by Day 1990