This article is from the Lure Coursing FAQ, by Bonnie Dalzell with numerous contributions by others.
Lure Coursing is a humane sport which attempts to imitate the coursing
of the rabbit or hare by sighthounds but without the hare. The
sighthounds chase an artificial lure, usually a white kitchen garbage
bag, sometimes tanned rabbit skins, or fake fur strips.
To set up the "lure" coursing course a line composed of braided
fishing line (usually 100 pound test 'trolling' line) is passed around
a series of pulleys staked to the ground within a large field (at
least 5 acres).
The lures (most clubs use at least two lures set 10 feet apart on the
line - this reduces contention among the hounds at the end) are
attached to the main line and the whole system is driven from a lure
machine, a device constructed from a 1955 to 1962 Ford starter motor
mounted in a frame. This particular type of starter motor has a long
drive shaft upon which is mounted a drive wheel that rather resembles
two very sturdy pie plates welded back to back -- the line runs in the
groove between the plates.
Since the starter motor is DC the normal power source is provided by
deep cycle 12 volt marine batteries, by 2 or 3 car batteries in
parallel, or by jumper cables running to a running car or tractor. The
lure machine must be capable of driving the lure at speeds up to 40
miles per hour. Control of the lure is provided by using an on-off
type thumb-switch (connected to the low-current side of the starter
solenoid). One such switch can be made out of a door bell switch
mounted in a grip made from a bicycle handle bar grip. It is important
to have a lure machine configuration that provides enough speed to
keep the lure safely in front of the fastest hounds. Lure machines
used in terrier trials or made with AC washing machine motors lack the
power to accelerate the lure quickly enough.
The competition within a breed consists of allowing the hounds to run
in braces or trios (provided that there are two or more hounds per
breed) within each stake in the breed, twice. Solitary breed entries
usually run alone although, with permission of the handlers, solitary
entries with similar running styles may be grouped to run together -
but they will be scored separately by the judge(s). For example if
there was only one Pharaoh Hound and only one Ibizan Hound entered at
a trial the handlers might be given the option of having those two run
In order to individually identify the hounds for purposes of scoring
they are clothed in a coursing blanket. The blanket colors are intense
pink, yellow or cyan. The blanket color is assigned to the hounds by
random draw. Depending on the trial each hound receives scores from
one or two judges for each run. The final placement within the stake
is determined by adding together all of the hound's scores and
comparing that score with those of other hounds in that stake.