When hounds are running in cover, you cannot be too quiet. If the fox be running short, and the hounds are catching him, not a word should then be said : it is a difficult time for hounds to hunt him, as he is continually turning, and will sometimes lie down and let them pass him.
I have remarked, that the greatest danger of losing a fox is at the first finding of him, and when he is sinking at both of which times he frequentiy will run short; and the eagerness of the hounds is too apt to carry them beyond the scent. When a fox is first found; I wish every one would keep behind the hounds till they are well settled to the scent ; and when the hounds are catching him, I wish them to be as silent as they can.
When he is caught, I like to see hounds eat him eagerly. In some countries, I am told, they have a method of treeing him: it is of use to make the hounds eager;
it lets them all in ; they recover their wind, and eat him more readily. I should advise you, at the same time, not to keep him too long, as I do not imagine the hounds have any appetite to eat him, longer than whilst they are angry with him.
Text taken from Peter Beckford, Thoughts upon hunting : in a series of familiar letters to a friend (London, 1782), p. 214-215. Full text from Hathitrust.
Picture: John Wootton, Viscount Weymouth's Hunt - Mr Jackson, the Hon. Henry Villiers and the Hon. Thomas Villiers (England 1733-36).