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The Clean Boot Hunting Association


Hunting The Clean Boot

"Hunting the clean boot", is exactly what it says on the tin - it involves hounds hunting human runners that neither wear nor drag any form of artificial scent enhancement. There are two forms of this sport - an activity where owners of pure bred bloodhounds use their hounds, singly or in pairs, on foot to hunt the scent of a single human runner that has set off between 1 and 24 hours in front of the hounds. Usually, the hounds are hunted on leads, but at an advanced level, they can be off leads.  This is a 'field trial' activity that has no mounted followers, although spectators are permitted.  However, this is not the activity we are dealing with here.


The Clean Boot Hunting Association (CBHA) has been set up to support and promote clean boot hunting by packs of hounds/hunts.  The CBHA is NOT and does not pretend to be, a 'governing body', but will only accept membership from hunts that follow CBHA "Format and Protocols" (F&P).  


This sport should not be confused with Draghunting, which follows a similar, but slightly different F&P, or Trailhunting, which follows a completely different F&P. Currently, all mounted clean boot packs use cross bred bloodhounds to hunt human runners, known as Quarries, across ground over which permission has been sought and granted by the landowners and farmers. Masters of Bloodhounds will then look for, and set a route on a map and again, get this cleared with the landowner/farmer.  In some case this route will be as tight as a few metres wide, or  the full width of a field or wood, the latter giving the Quarries room to twist and turn and try to throw the hounds off their scent, because this is very much a 'hound work' sport, which also offers their mounted followers a good ride across countryside they wouldn't otherwise have access to.

The mounted hunt followers getting a good ride.

The length of the day, and lengths and numbers of hunts, will depend on the time of year.  Most Hunts start off with training meets around the time of the end of the farming harvest season, and these can be in the form of hound exercise rides, where hounds don't actually hunt, or a series of short hunts of 1 to 2 miles, or a mixture of both. Then around the middle of October, most hunts have their Opening Meets, which is the start of the formal season. A hunting day consists of a number of hunts, with a short break between each hunt to let the Quarries get a good way ahead on the next hunt.  You do not have to stay the whole day, you can leave when you or your horse has had enough.  Just make sure you get directions back to your horse box and do not cross private land without permission.

Prior to the hunting day, it is possible that at least one of the Quarries will have been involved with the planning of the route, but whether or not they have, the map that was approved by the landowners/farmers will be used by the Quarries, who may also use an Ordinance Survey app, to keep them on route.  The huntsman and Field Master (the person responsible for the mounted followers) will also know the route to ensure the hounds and riders do not deviate from the route and cause any threat to wildlife or other people's property and/or interests.

Sometimes the boots of a clean boot Quarry aren't so clean!

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