Foxes by lamplight

Foxes by lamplight
Foxing with Mark and Roy

Do you ever get that feeling it’s going to be a long night? Tonight we are off lamping foxes with Roy Lupton and Mark Gilchrist and it does not start so well. Low fuel in the Argo means a trip to the nearest petrol station. Then Mark starts talking about fashion and fabric conditioner.

“Billabong or something like that, apparently it is the height of fashion” observes Mark as he glances at the logo on his jumper.

“Apparently it has that lovely Lenor fresh smell. Then they just get covered in …”


“Something disgusting that stinks” concludes Mark.

It’s so cold tonight that it’s all about layers. A promising night’s foxing can quickly be ruined without proper thought and consideration for one’s attire.

But it’s amazing what a fox in your sights can do to shut the cold out. Roy drops the first fox of the night.

“Perfect shot. Look at that. Perfect” comments Mark as he points to the entry wound at the shoulder of a dog fox he has just retrieved for Roy.

We’re pretty exposed out here on the marshlands. With no night vision or urban light pollution, we could be on the moon. Happily this moon has foxes. Roy gets on to another.

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Mark is marking the spots of the kills tonight using the latest version of his App, G4EMA. Every fox and rabbit we pick tonight will be logged. That includes the date and location. This is logged into a database and then automatically passed on to the farmers computers. It’s a shame it doesn’t record size as well, as it’s a big dog fox. The farmer has already complained about the fox noises from a few nights back. Mark confesses that he missed one another night at a spot 800 yards from the current location. He reckons we should be in for three or four tonight. “Onwards and upwards” says Mark.

The man dropping the foxes, Roy Lupton
The man dropping the foxes, Roy Lupton

The next call produces a great response. A fox comes charging in. She’s too close for the rifle and yet a change of position keeps her in the game. Roy is chuffed and Mark is genuinely impressed. That vixen steams straight towards Mark and Chris. They shout at her, attempting to stop her coming to close. The vixen does not take heed and carries on, 15 yards in front of the Argo. Had a shotgun been in the arsenal then she would be dead then and there.

Not to worry, she continues on and over the brow of the hill. The boys take the Argo back around and edge over the brow of the hill catching sight of the vixen. A quick squeak on the call, she has a curious pause and then drops, followed by the crack of Roy’s rifle. This vixen was obviously a hungry fox, keen to get her jaws on anything. Roy is enthralled by the experience, especially with the white light. “I love going out with the night vision and it is great going out with the red filter. When you have got foxes which are not lamp shy what so ever and they are coming in and when you have got the white light out. You just can’t beat it because you see so much more” exclaims Roy

Mark is still astonished by the effectiveness of the fox call.

“As soon as you put in your mouth I thought … well you have got more toys than me. I don’t want to come across as all jealous, but I thought another gimic, but no I am pretty impressed with it” Mark says to Roy.

Curious more than cunning
Curious more than cunning

Midnight comes and goes. It takes a while before our next fox, but it’s another nice one. And now it’s surely time to call it a night? Nope, Roy is keen to see if there are any more on the way home. David, the camera man, isn’t let off that easy.

“He is bleating on though isn’t he?” teases Roy, referring to David’s suggestions of going to bed.

“It is childish, you are in the wrong job. You are in the wrong job” adds Mark

“I want to work in an office. At ITV we clocked off at five o’clock. I need a tea break, my bottom hurts. Can I have a sandwich?” says Mark imitating a high pitched child version of David

“Come on David” commands Mark to David

David has asked for it to be known that Gilchrist finally dragged himself out of his pit the following day at 11am when Roy phoned him.

Will Mark make it through the night?
Will Mark make it through the night?

The tally at the end of the night is four foxes, cracking shooting from Roy. Mark taking out a few extra bunnies as well swells the bag.

Roy is pleased with the night.

Both Mark and Roy realise that a return trip is in order for the foxes that did not want to play the game tonight. Their lamp shyness can be overcome with the night vision.

Roy is finally feeling the chill and that is when it time to call it a night.

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