Saturday, April 9, 2011

H: Hunting

My current novel project deals a lot with hunting. This is a little intimidating because Medieval hunting was a big deal. There are so many terms and intricate rules and I've only begun to scratch the surface of my research.

Here is a simplified account of one of the processes taken form Widepedia:

Quest: Before the hunt started, an expert huntsman, accompanied by a lymer, would seek out the quarry. By the help of tracks, broken branches and droppings he would try to locate the lay of the hart as accurately as possible, ideally he would see it.

Assembly: Then, early on the day of the hunt, the hunting party would meet, examine the huntsman's information and the deer's droppings, and agree on how best to conduct the hunt. This would be a social gathering also, with breakfast served.

Relays: When the path of the hart had been predicted, relays of dogs were positioned along it. This way, it was assured that the dogs were not worn out before the hart.

Moving: Also called the fynding. Here a lymer was used to track down the hart.
Chase: This was the hunt proper; here it was essential to keep the hounds on the track of the selected quarry.

Baying: When the hart could run no longer, it would turn and try to defend itself. It was said to be "at bay." The hounds should now be kept from attacking, and the most prominent man in the hunting party would make the kill, with a sword or spear.

Unmaking: The deer was finally dissected in a careful, ritualistic manner.

Curée: Lastly, the dogs had to be rewarded with pieces of the carcass, in a manner so that they would associate their effort with the reward.

I need to ballance the aristocratic sophistication with the wilder celtic side of hinting while still remaining accesable to my readers and . . .

its enough to make a poor girl call for her hounds to wade through the labrinths of informationneeded for her, sniffing for what might be. But alas, a researching huntress can only make use of her spoils if she finds them herself. I must embrace the chase . . . and be patient with the slow progress of my word count.


  1. very interesting post! and i like the tapestry.

  2. I had no idea it was so ritualistic. Makes sense, though, that they would practically have the poor beast cornered before the aristocracy set out on the hunt. Wouldn't want to have them come up empty handed. Good stuff. There's a lot to play with there.

  3. lovely H word.
    stay balanced and fit on everything you do.

  4. Hmmm.. know the problem, I'm 'learning' to sail a 19th century vessel down the Severn for one of my children's books. I've just finished a fantasy, holding my breath, it's with an agent, and I studied medieval history many moons ago... :0)

  5. We used to all be hunters and gatherers. Now we are just consumers. You have begun an interesting and courageous undertaking here. I think research is fun.

  6. Yeah, I tend to get impatient with my word count too. I want to do everything faster when I should really be concentrating on making the words the best they can possibly be.

  7. It's better to be slow and thorough that go to fast and have to write it all over again. Good luck with the research!