Images and descriptions of Hash Marks
Hash marks are used to set the trail. The hare usually uses flour or sidewalk chalk to leave these signs that help the hounds find the path or true trail.
The arrow serves two purposes, the most important one is that it shows you are on true trail, if an arrow is used there should be no question that you are headed in the right direction. An arrow also shows change in direction, around curves, up hill, down alleys, etc. When the hounds see one of these marks, they should yell On-On, or On-Arrow, or On-Right etc. to let those behind them know about the true trail or direction change.
A line, dash, or small pile of flour is dropped by the hare to show the trail the hounds are supposed to run. The two symbols above don’t mean you are on true trail, they could mean you are headed for a false trail. When the hounds see this sign they should all yell On-On to alert others that they are on trail.
The check mark is the most misunderstood symbol. All check marks mean the hounds should be looking for true trail. Check marks mean that the trail could change direction or it could continue to go the same direction it has been going. People who see one of these signs should yell checking, and continue to look for other trail markings. Hashers who look for trail should yell that they are checking. Those who stay behind at the check and wait for others to guide them are referred to, as check suckers (not a bad thing to be). All the symbols above are used to demonstrate a check, the two circles with flour dropped in the middle is used to denote a boob check, or a check that can only be run by women. Male hashers should wait at the check until a female hasher has found true trail. Another idea is to drop an extra bit of flour in the middle of the mark so the flour can be kicked in the direction of the true trail. This helps the people in the back of the pack find the direction without having to check.
The turtle check is used to gather all the hashers together. No one should leave the turtle site until all those hashers that are on the run have joined the group. A turtle check is a good tool to use before changing terrain, (like running from the foothills to a subdivision to make sure the pack stays together.) Turtle checks are also good for night runs where safety is an issue. A turtle check should not be used on a “live hared run”. In this case the turtle check should be treated like any other check.
The trail end, back check, or false trail mark is used to tell the hasher to go back to the previous check mark to start looking for true trail again. If someone says that all trails end, they are referring to the fact that one of these signs, or true trail can be found from every check. If the statement is made saying all trails don’t end, it means that there isn’t necessarily one of these marks to show a false trail, there just might not be any sign. There should never be more than 2 hash marks before a false mark. If you have three hash marks, you should be on true trail. If you see one of these marks you should instruct the group to go back, or “On-Back”.
The Beer Near or Beer-check is used to tell the runner that he can rest and look for a mid-run beer. This is the best check! When the hashers see this symbol they should yell Beer Near, or Beer Check.
On Beer means the run is over and the beer begins. The symbol might be in front of the place the hash will meet, or it could be down the trail a ways once it is obvious that the meeting place is close and along the direct route.