Lamping foxes is an art and everyone has their own way of doing it. There are the calls, the transport, the shooting rest and of course your lamp, strength of beam, colour and the way you throw it around the place. Well, tonight fox shooting fan, Roy Lupton, is trying a new lamping system which is on the market.
The Night Master 800 is designed to make life that little bit easier, especially for the lone foxer, delivering a strong beam from a tiny unit which can be hand held, or attached to your scope.
The good thing about these torches is that not only are they obviously very small, ergonomic and easy to use, but they also come with different coloured LEDs.
Roy sets up with the different colours. The first is set up on top of a rifle and has a white light. “If we have got an area where we are going out and the foxes are reasonably easy, not over lamp shy, we will go straight in with the white light and see what we can do,” says Roy.
Roy also has an amber light, red and a green, and these units can be used as an IR illuminator for night vision. “You we get out to about 800 yards with one of these TAClight torches,” says Roy.
A change of LED gives you the colour of choice and the manufacturers claim the small rechargeable battery is suitable for a four-five hour lamping session.
We are also going to play with a Night Master infra-red unit this evening, and we have a cute digital night vision prototype on Roy’s rifle to show it off to its best.
Roy starts the evening by throwing the beams from the Night Master and a conventional lamp on to an accommodating fox 120 yards away across a field. OK- it’s a wooden target with reflectors for eyes. “We have got a fantastic result there,” says Roy. “You can see the eye shining through and, if you were looking through your binoculars or a scope, then that would be illuminating the target really well.”
He tries the red LED in the torch and, again, fantastic illumination. “There is no mistaking you have got the eye reflection there – eye shine,” says Roy.
“The green LED is not quite as strong, but if you have got a tricky customer, tricky fox then that could work quite well. There is good illumination from the amber.”
Roy and his torch
Right, time to throw some light on to some real foxes. Roy’s first customer is in the second field his mate Andy takes him to. The white light gives Roy plenty of scope for a shot. “We have opened the count for the night,” says Roy. “It’s a young dog fox from that year. For me, that was superb because we spotted the fox out in the field. He then bolted back into the wood and we had the white light on it.”
Roy does a little bit of squeaking on the hand and the fox creeps out again. “He was fully illuminated and he actually sat down and had a look at us,” he says. “I managed to squeeze a shot off. So yes I am thoroughly pleased with that so far.”
Roy and Andy
It’s a great start, but then Roy has a barren hour-and-a-half, which means time for a refuel at a little place Andy knows – a cafe – “and we didn’t even need to book ahead,” says Roy.
With the blood sugar levels restored, Roy keeps working the Night Master with the red LED. A slight change in technique brings a young dog fox in close.
The Silva fox whistle can be a little bit harsh for early cubs and just after the harvest, but it works very well later on in the year. “With the young cubs it is worth toning it down a little bit and trying a few different squeaks,” says Roy. “Andy did a fantastic job there with the polystyrene and the glass. He came in at a beautiful pace, really, really well.”
Roy now swaps to the other unit he has on test. The Night Master 800 IR.
The torch at work
“What we have got now is the infra-red unit fitted to the rifle and we are going to put the TAC light IR illuminator on top,” says Roy. “That should give us the perfect combination for getting fox number three for the evening – as long as we can find another one. We are going to try and film through the actual scope unit and see what results we can get with that.”
With this unit we have no idea if this fox we are calling is lamp shy or not because it doesn’t matter. A camera attached to the night vision unit picks it up and Roy takes his third fox of the night. Roy describes the shot: “We finally came across this lad working along the bottom of the hedge row here. We had to move in to about 200 yards and luckily we made a count for him and that was number three for the night.
“So, very impressed with the lights. All of the colour modes worked really well and the infra-red illuminator is spot on as well. So fantastic bit of kit and I think a must have for anybody who is heavily into their foxing.”
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