Hunting by Scent

Abstract

EVEN a Poet Laureate would find difficulty in expressing the diversity and extent of the influence of fox-hunting. Farmers, breeders, saddlers, tailors, veterinarians, surgeons, painters, sculptors, poets, composers, to name but a few, have been affected in some way or another by Reynard the Fox; and through them, innumerable others are involved. When practical experience in hunting the fox is blended with a capacity and zest for hunting data, the chase involves the world of science. When, in addition, an ex-Master of the Bicester and Warden Hill Hounds discloses keenness, perseverance, humour, and a great kindliness, the resulting expression is a book which is not merely of scientific interest, but is also endowed with a charm that can only be described by the word English. The author has succeeded in writing a book “with the object of explaining the fundamental principles of scent in such a manner that they can be grasped by those who have not had the advantage of a scientific training”. The scientific fields and coverts surveyed can only be adumbrated here in part: the significance of the sense of smell; conditions under which scent is good or bad; the effects of light, temperature, humidity and wind; inhalation and exhalation by the soil; special experiments and apparatus (for example, the author's electric scent indicator) for determining scent conditions; the nature of trails followed by hounds; the examination of scent trails left by different quarries over various surfaces; the distance over which scent can be detected by various animals; olfactory fatigue; the obliteration and neutralisation of scent tracks; the microscopic examination of the odorous particles forming a track; the bearing of the sense of smell on animal behaviour. Especially to a dog, "smelling is believing", and canines communicate with each other by means of signal posts or "scent-telephones"as described by Seton.

Hunting by Scent.

By H. M. Budgett. Pp. xi + 122 + 22 plates. (London: Eyre and Spottis-woode, Ltd., 1933.) 25s. net.

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