This section is from the book "Hunting: A Manual of Fox, Hare, Stag & Otter Hunting", by J. Otho Paget. Also available from Amazon: Hunting: A Manual of Fox, Hare, Stag & Otter Hunting.
The abbreviated term 'whip' is the word now generally used, but the headline to this chapter is the correct name and full title.
There have been instances where a man over thirty has taken a whip's place and has done well, but it is much better he should begin when quite young, and it is all to his advantage if he has been brought up in the kennel from a boy. He should be quick, active, and intelligent, a good horseman and a fearless rider.
Perhaps it is as well to consider the whips as men serving an apprenticeship for the post of huntsmen. The second whip is ready at any moment to take the part of first, and the first should be perfecting himself as an understudy-to the huntsman. The whip must always remember he is to obey the huntsman implicitly, whether he thinks him right or wrong. If hounds divide, he may have an opinion, but he must keep it to himself and stop those furthest away from his superior. He must always be at hand to render assistance when the huntsman requires it; his eye should be continually roaming the surrounding country to view the fox, and yet nothing the pack may do should escape his notice. When a cast is being made, or when hounds are being taken to a halloa, he should always be in a position to stop them in case they run heel.
The death of nine foxes out of ten is due to the whip as much as to the huntsman, and the former should remember he shares in the glory of the final triumph. Unless huntsman and whip work together in cordial co-operation, the hunt they serve will never attain satisfactory results. Of course, if the huntsman has a bad fall and is unable to come on, the task of hunting hounds falls on the whip's shoulders, but he should never attempt to handle them unless the master gives the order. By close observation, and watching the mistakes of his huntsman, he will learn much more than by trying to take on himself the duties of his superior.
A whip should count his hounds at every opportunity, and he will then know, if any are missing, whereabouts to look for them. The huntsman has quite enough to think about in hunting his fox, and he should be able to rely entirely on his assistants without bothering whether the pack are ' all on ' or not. When a fox goes away quickly down-wind from a large covert, the whip on the up-wind side should ride through the middle of the wood and call on any hounds that may have been left behind. Of course, nearly every master and huntsman has different rules, but in large woodlands I prefer to see the first whip accompany the huntsman into covert. I consider he will be quite as much wanted there as he would in the open. Hounds may divide, run riot, or the huntsman may want to lift them to where a fox was last seen, and in any of these contingencies a whip's aid is necessary. He should not, however, follow at the huntsman's heels, but should keep abreast or get on to the next ride, though he must never get out of hearing.
A whip should be a second pair of eyes and ears to the huntsman. If he sees a hound do anything wrong, at a time or place when the huntsman cannot observe it, he must remember to report the offender at the first convenient opportunity. There are many little faults and vices which, if nipped in the bud by an all-observant whip, may be cured before they have had time to become confirmed habits.
A hound that has been allowed to hunt by himself when at walk will often have acquired a trick of independent hunting, and will also be inclined to skirt. This is a culprit the whip must ever keep his eye on, and when caught in the act the lash should be laid on with no sparing hand. For obvious reasons the skirter is not often seen by the huntsman in the act of sinning, and the whip, knowing the inclination of a certain hound for this particular vice, should keep his eye on him. An inherited tendency to skirt is generally incurable, but when it is merely an acquired bad habit the necessary punishment administered at the right moment will bring the sinner to see the error of his ways. Independence, which is a virtue in a man, is a deadly sin in a hound, and, as I have already said, very frequently is the result of being allowed to hunt at walk.
I think I have said elsewhere that a whip should never hit a hound unnecessarily, but there is no harm in repeating the advice here. Punishment should be for the purpose of curing some fault, and unless the offender knows for what he is being hit, the act is one of sheer cruelty. Whips, I am afraid, are often rather thoughtless in this respect, and they also fail to measure the severity of the stroke in accordance with the seriousness of the offence. I dislike seeing a hound get the full swing of the lash from an expert arm, for some trivial fault that a light touch or stroke would have been adequate to reprove.
Foxes very often use the same smeuses as hares, and the whip must therefore not jump to the conclusion that hounds are running a hare because one is in front of them. On these occasions he must ride close up to them, and by carefully watching the old hounds he will be able to see where the ways of fox and hare parted; but that is more the business of the huntsman, if he is there, and the whip must hold himself in readiness to stop the pack, or a portion of it, the moment he gets the order. When there is any doubt as to whether hounds are running their legitimate quarry, huntsman, whips, and every one else should maintain a strict silence, and then the older members of the pack, who may have only been following on, will soon discover they are being led astray.
When a whip is bringing on hounds that have been left behind, he must make as little noise as possible. I have seen thoughtless fellows halloa and cheer on these occasions, so that the pack, who are only a field or two in front down-wind, hear him and get their heads up. At the end of a day, when a hound is missing and the whip has to go back to find it, he may be allowed a horn, but I would never let him have one at any other time.