The Hunting Office Training

Essential Hound Handling Course – Taunton Vale Kennels

Over 40 members of hunt staff and volunteers who help in kennels across the country, attended the Essential Hound Handling Skills Course run by The Hunting Office at the Taunton Vale Kennels. 

Presented by Patrick Martin, the experienced former professional huntsman and Hunting Office Hunt Staff Liaison Officer, the day aimed to introduce young hunt staff and volunteers to the principles of working with a pack of hounds in kennels, kennel routine and handling hounds. 

The content of this course is both theoretical and practical, and candidates are encouraged to ask questions throughout the session regarding both the content covered on the day, as well as individual queries they may have, in order to benefit from Patrick’s huge depth of knowledge on hunting and hounds.  

The Taunton Vale kennels were immaculate and with the help of Taunton Vale Huntsman, Dan Hammett, and Ilminster Beagles Huntsman, Charlie Durman, Patrick was able to use the kennels as a good working example of an efficiently run and effective set up – showing the yards, lodges, valeting room and flesh house.  

Patrick commented afterwards “We are so pleased that the day was so well supported.  It is great that there is such a strong interest from hunt staff and volunteers to forward their careers and gain valuable knowledge.  The more we can help the up and coming hunt staff the better, passing down historical knowledge for the future good of hunting and hounds”.  

The Hunting Office Training Programme aims to encourage and maintain professional standards of hound husbandry, welfare and management.  Developing knowledge and skills so staff have a good foundation to work with care and confidence. 


Recent Trail Laying Seminar


Since the Hunting Ban came into effect in 2005, many hunts across the UK have been hunting within the law by Trail Hunting.  practises as they were before the ban, the general conduct of the day remains as it was prior to the hunting ban and keeps the traditions and practises alive.  Trails are laid by various methods, but often by dragging a scent infected cloth along the ground, aiming to take the line that the traditional quarry would have taken, to simulate the natural movement of the prey as much as possible. 

Having received multiple requests from various hunts asking for more direction and guidance on Laying Trails and Keeping Records, The Hunting Office ran a very successful Trail Laying Seminar on Wednesday 22nd August 2018. 

The Seminar was aimed at all those Masters, hunt staff and other hunt members who are involved with the organisation, record keeping and laying the trails for the days trail hunting. The seminar focussed on organising the trail laying, the practicalities of laying the trails as well as best practises for evidence gathering and record keeping. 

With a focus on evidence gathering and record keeping, various examples were demonstrated on methods of data storage.  With the increase of anti-hunt propaganda, misrepresentation on social media from anti-hunt groups and spurious allegations from anti-hunt monitors that hunts are operating illegally, the need for the retention of evidence to demonstrate that hunts are operating completely within the law is becoming more important. 

The day was extremely well attended, with over 170 people present, representing packs from all over the UK.  The presentations were extremely informative and covered a wide range of topics and experiences. 

The Hunting Office would like to thank all those who took the time to come to the day, especially those who presented, added to the discussions and shared their knowledge with those present. 

Haddon Animal Care portraitThe Hunting Office Apprenticeship Scheme, run in conjunction with Haddon Training, and supported by the Hunt Servants' Fund, aims to recruit and train young people wishing to pursue a career in hunting and offers a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Animal Care.  Participating hunts can offer a practical, structured and supportive framework for apprentices to gain the appropriate transferrable skills and knowledge within the hunting industry. 

The apprenticeship is based on practical training within the working kennels environment, supplemented by group teaching days throughout the course.  The syllabus centres around the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Hounds in Hunt Kennels and gives an insight into all aspects of the Hunt. 

Placements start during the summer and last for 18 months - meaning that candidates remain with the training hunt for at least 2 seasons, building a good foundation of knowledge to further their careers in Hunting. 

Apprentices are required to attend several group teaching days, to complete coursework and training records and, finally, complete an assessment at the end of the programme. 

Alex Warden Portman 2

Participating hunts should have the necessary support and appropriately capable and knowledgeable staff in place to train the individuals on the bursary scheme.  Should any hunts wish to consider taking on an apprentice and feel they have the required set up and ability to provide the necessary standard of training and support, please contact The Hunting Office or Haddon Training directly. 

George Grigg VWH 5Applications to join the apprenticeship scheme are open to anyone between the ages of 17 and 23, who wishes to begin a career in hunting.  Please contact The Hunting Office should you wish to be considered for a Apprenticeship placement

The Hunt Servants Fund is charity set up to help provide education and training to hunt staff as well as to provide some financial support to hunt staff and their families in times of hardship.  To donate to the Hunt Servants Fund please contact Miss Lucy Stevens This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.