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Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs—chiefly greyhounds and other sighthounds—catching their prey by speed, running by sight and not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practised by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, and commoners with sighthounds and lurchers. In its oldest recorded form in the Western world, as described by Arrian, the sport was practised by all levels of society, as remained the case until Carolingian 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 any type of mammal except rabbits and rats. Dogs are still permitted to chase (flush) game into the path of a waiting gun, as long as no more than two dogs are used.
In Australia, dogs may be used to hunt feral animals such as foxes, deer, goat, rabbit and pigs.
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