AskDefine | Define coursing

Dictionary Definition

coursing n : hunting with dogs that are trained to chase game by sight instead of by scent

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of course


  1. The "sport" of chasing wild animals, especially hares, with dogs by sight rather than by scent

Extensive Definition

Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs —chiefly Greyhounds and other sighthounds— catching the prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practiced both by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, as well as commoners with sighthounds and Lurchers. In its oldest recorded form in the Western world, as described by Arrian the sport was practiced by all levels of society, as remained the case until Carolingian hunting law (Forest Law) appropriated hunting grounds, or commons, for the king, the nobility and other land owners.
Animals coursed include hares, rabbits, foxes, deer of all sorts, antelope, gazelle, jackals, wolves. Jackrabbits and coyotes are the most common animals coursed in America. Competitive coursing in Ireland, the UK and Spain has two dogs running together. In America, generally speaking three dogs are run together.
The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act and the Hunting Act 2004 (in England and Wales) made it illegal to course hares under any circumstances or to course rabbits without the landowner's permission. In Australia coursing is illegal under common law . In some countries such as Ireland, Poland, Spain, Russia and in parts of the USA coursing hare is legal.


  • Steve Copold Hounds Hares & Other Creatures: The Complete Book of Coursing 1977/1996
  • A.A. Phillips & M.M. Willcock Xenophon & Arrian On Hunting with hounds 1999
  • Grant-Rennick Coursing, The Pursuit of Game with Gazehounds 1977
  • "Dutch" Salmon Gazehounds & Coursing 1977/1999
  • Stable & Stuttard A Review of Coursing 1971
  • Walsh Longdogs by Day 1990
coursing in Norwegian: Hetsjakt
coursing in Polish: Coursing
coursing in Russian: Травля
coursing in Finnish: Metsästys ajavan koiran avulla
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