General Information for Hunt Followers
Foxhunting is a highly regulated and organised sport that depends entirely upon the goodwill of the farmers over whose land we hunt. There are 41 packs of hounds fully registered with the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association (IMFHA). 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 foxhunting 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 foxhunting may small bogs, coverts and hedgerows, which provide habitats for foxes, 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. Foxhunting 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. Masters of Foxhounds 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 Foxhounds 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 on the day or his appointee. At no time should a member of the Field instruct or interfere with the job of either a Professional or Honorary 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.