Fieldsports Britain - Stalking, hunting with hounds and Britain's angriest vixen

Uploaded by fieldsportschannel on 07.03.2012

Welcome to Fieldsports Britain.
Coming up:
Roy Lupton is out after rabbits and spots this rather unusual fox on fox action.
We're out with the Ledbury hunt in this beautiful piece of gloucester countryside.
It's the last of our series of films field testing Norma ammunition and we end with the
but first Jerome K Jerome would have written it if he had thought of it. It's three men
in a pigeon hide.
This week on Taylor's travels I am in Kent with game chef Mark Gilchrist to learn a bit
more about crop protection. The rape is starting to get a bit too much attention as the pigeons
have had the last of the acorns.
Mark how long have you been shooting this area of land?
Well, I have done this bit for about two or three years, I don't think we are going to
score very well today. It's not cold enough, the birds aren't under pressure and the birds
have got a lot of options. So I probably wouldn't be going, but the farmer has asked me to go
and I don't have a sporting lease on all the few acres I have got. It's done on doing the
job properly and if he would like to see me out here making an effort, then I have got
to go for him really.
Is he seeing a lot of damage?
Well, he's not, but the problem you have got now is if you look into the plant it's starting
to make a flowery head.
If you look there, it's just starting to come through and what the pigeon does is it will
eat that, nip that bit out.
When it does that it will grow two more shoots, but they never have the same density of flowers
as the first head has and also it's late as it grows behind the rest of them. So you get
a lower yield and - doesn't come at the right time - the farmer has to apply chemicals to
the damaged bit which he doesn't want to do.
He doesn't want to spend time and the money on the diesel and the sprays.
Also joining us is Neville Gill, who works in the shooting industry and looks after Browning.
He's brought along a couple of B725s, the sporting and game gun, for us to play with.
So let's have a look. It fits me. Is this brand new?
There's dust. There's dust in the mouth. Sorry. I'm not one of those rap stars, but if it's
been used I can't touch it.
We all muck in to build the hide. I end up being chief stick collector while Neville
keeps an eye on the quality of the camo.
If you walk away from a pigeon hide and squint your eyes and you can still see it, then the
pigeons can still see it. Ok, so what we will try and do is put this out to break it up
to make it look more natural and then we'll put some branches over the top, hang on we
want to try and stretch it out a bit.
Mark said pop over here and look at the hide, squint your eyes and just see what you can
see, if it disappears then you have done a good job with the hide. Yup can't see it,
that's good.
With a hide built for three we take it in turns and get a few shots off.
What the...? did you see...?
Keep an eye, keep an eye, keep an eye, it's going to drop...
There we go, gun works then. I do like a Browning actually.
What do you think?
Well, it comes up very nicely on me. It's got nice action. I like it. It's the sort
of thing I would use on a game day. I'm a Maxus man in the hide, because I don't like
all the fiddling around.
With a few on the ground I am interested to know what they are feeding on, if not the
The best way to find out is to take them off the cradle and see what is in their crops.
That one there is empty. I think it's empty. We'll pull it open and see what we can find.
It's empty in there. Little bit of rape left in there, not quite digested yet. Odd - you
would think they would come back on the feed fairly soon. Maggie's done her favourite trick
of retrieving one from the cradle, for which she will want quite a lot of congratulations.
However, we then can't find the cradle, can we Maggie? and that is one we shot yesterday,
so that's not really relevant for... Maggie, where is the cradle?
Mark is frustrated as the birds just aren't moving and heads off to see if he can get
some airborne at the other end of the farm. It gives me and Neville a chance to chat.
Before setting up his own business, Neville used to work for the Alliance.
You shot a pigeon earlier on today, but how much pigeon shooting do you normally do?
I have done very little pigeon shooting, though this is quite good fun, but pigeons aren't
coming round this afternoon, but we have had a few goes. It's great to be in a hide, just
to be out in the countryside, out of the office and not looking at a computer screen.
So I have got the 725.
You've got the 725 Sporter which is more for clay shooters although you can use it as a
game gun as you were using it earlier.
How well has it been received?
It has been very well received both by the trade and by shooters. It's got a great feel
as I shot that pigeon earlier. It's fast. It's quick. You can swing through quickly.
It's well balanced. I like it.
The bag is nothing to get excited about, but the farmer wanted the job done.
To find out more about the Countryside Alliance visit
Now from three men on a hiding to nothing to David on the Fieldsports Channel News Stump.
This is Fieldsports Britain News.
Britain has a new biggest fox. While out protecting his lambs, Aberdeenshire farmer Alan Hepworth
shot a 38lber, which featured in Sporting Rifle magazine. Shooter of the now second
biggest British fox, Fieldsports Channel contributor Roy Lupton, has been doing the rounds of the
television studios, and radio studios promoting foxshooting - and he has come up against some
truly amazing arguments and insults.
We have reached new heights of unpopularity all the way through. We have had death threats
apparently referring to my very small genitalia, so they obviously knew me better than I realised.
They really have gone to town. It's quite shocking the views that these people have
Fishing for Schools is heading for the toughest inner cities. The initiative by the Countryside
Alliance Foundation is at work in Manchester's Moss Side.
There are lots of parks with ponds and what have you. The park keepers will not let them
go fishing. How stupid is that? They complain about the kids doing nothing and now they
are putting barriers in their way to stop them doing things they want to do, so we are
going to be hopefully working with Prince Albert Angling Association - they have got
a ring of waters all around Manchester - and make it happen for them. It's important we
The Countryside Alliance has handed out its prestigious "Rural Oscars" at a reception
in the Houses of Parliament. The panel of judges led by Clarissa Dickson-Wright awarded
titles to businesses all over the country and the Republic of Ireland.
The Rural Hero of 2011 title goes to a Co Antrim angler who founded a trust to combat
river pollution. Michael Martin is vice president of the Six Mile Water Trust.
And we finish with another award, a grouse moor gamekeeper, who was born a townie, has
won a prestigious national rural award - the Bellamy Trophy - for his work promoting countryside
conservation and education:
George Thompson, who is head grouse moor keeper at Spaunton Moor, near Pickering, North Yorkshire.
The prize, now in it second year, is awarded annually by leading environmentalist Professor
David Bellamy and the National Gamekeepers' Organisation Educational Trust.
You are now up to date with Fieldsports Britain News. Stalking the stories fishing for facts.
Thank you David.
Now to Nicky Sadler who is with a gang of people standing around in groups, chatting
in the middle of the British countryside. What can they be doing?
Guess what we're doing today?
My name's Nicky Sadler and we're out with the Ledbury Hunt.
It doesn't need big houses, it doesn't need lawn meets, most of the fun is getting horse,
hounds and followers together at a pub. And what could be more appropriate than the Foxhunters'
Inn at Buckbury?
It's a farmer's pack, it's been hunting this area for all of my life and my parents before
me. It's two days a week. We hunt on a Monday and a Friday. We have 100 subscribers. Today
we will have probably 60-70 mounted people out.
And many people following on foot?
Yes, there'll probably be 200-300 people following on foot. They are the people I would call
the salt of the earth. They are local people - a lot of retired people as well. It's the
foot followers which make it for me, because with all the markets closed around a lot of
farmers don't see their friends as such.
I noticed the pub obviously is very popular.
Oh yes. We had a ball there last year. It's a good, proper hunting pub. Everyone out hunting
today will most likely be there tonight talking about their day's fun. It's just a great social
thing. We all do it. If we have a good day's hunting it's a bonus, but we are out here
to enjoy ourselves.
Roger is a beef farmer. Out today the field includes a nurse, a civil engineer, a dentist,
a welder and lots and lots of farmers. There is also a school near here which lets the
children go out hunting as part of their physical education curriculum.
Lavinia Westlake used to whip in she. Now has fun following on foot.
Hopefully next season I will get on a horse, but this season I have written off, just take
her on my back and see how we go.
It's just as much fun following on foot though isn't it?
Yes, earlier on in the season was a bit more fun, I could keep up with them, but now it's
a bit too much ground for me on foot.
Fridays are quite a fast day.
Yes, Fridays are usually set sail fairish. It's a bit more difficult to see as well.
Some of the Monday country as a foot follower you can see a bit more. The ground is easier
to see. On a day like today as a foot follower it is ideal. Might not be for the horses.
The Ledbury has a reputation for fast and hard hunting types on a Friday. Its Monday
country is aimed at hunters who like lower hedges. And here is one of hunting's most
spectacular characters.
I notice you have got a badge on there, on your hunting coat, can you tell me a little
bit about that?
Felix he is still there, still hanging on, just, been a few years now. I was one of the
eight that went into the House of Commons on the hunting protest and the ban was set
up after that and every day we go out with a pack of hounds there is a risk that we will
be prosecuted for hunting unlawfully and as long as that is the case we are putting undue
pressure on our staff and for me that is a critical thing. These guys they work day in
day out. Talk about Will - he probably works an 18-hour day willingly because it is his
way of life. He loves it. But the one thing I don't think we can continue subjecting them
to is the risk of prosecution. And the problem is when you have a pack of fox hounds, something
they have been bred for centuries to do they are not going to forget it and if they happen
across a fox they will hunt until you can pick them up and accidents do happen and that
puts a huge amount of pressure on the staff and apart from the fact that we are not doing
the job we are supposed to be doing, certainly not to the degree that we are supposed to
do it, which makes a mockery of the thing. We can't put our staff through that anymore
and that is the reason why repeal is critical.
Like all hunting, foot followers spend much their day just looking for the hunt.
They ran as far as Gotts which is on Elderfield Marsh and now they have gone back to the Mitre
which is up Course Lawn and it's on the left before you get to the crossroads.
Even members of the field can get a bit lost, but if you have a horse and if you like jumping
there is enough action for a whole website dedicated to Ledbury hunt jumps. It's run
by Vicki Ross.
They look at the video as much as they look at the website where people all over the world
are looking at my photos on the website.
Fantastic. And do you think that is because they are interested in hunting or because
they want to see people falling off.
It's the hunting, the whole thing. Lots of ex Ledbury - we have people in Australia who
log onto the site every Friday and a lot of the subscribers come back after hunting and
go straight on to the website and if they are not on there I get text messages saying:
when are you putting the photographs up?
Lovely, and you stream some of the videos onto the web as well, on to YouTube?
Yes, some of the big jumping. If I've got somebody with me they'll video it.
We are having fun today, but it will be much better when the act is repealed.
This hunt is right at the very heart of its community, in the three counties of Herefordshire,
Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. The Royal Navy has a Hunt Class destroyer named after
this hunt. Its record crowd for a Boxing Day meet in the market town of Ledbury is 6,000
people, and Top Gear chose the Ledbury in order to ‘hunt' a car.
The Countryside Alliance is working for hunts everywhere. For more information visit
The .308 is surely Britain's deer stalkers' favourite round. It's the biggest bullet we're
testing and we've been all over the country trying it out on reds, muntjacs, fallow and
Chinese water deer. Rupert Haynes who imports and distributes Blaser rifles in the UK is
out to neck shoot a Chinese water deer. Oliver Power chest shoots a muntjac and an old stalking
buddy of Oliver's is out after one of Britain's bigger deer, the fallow with a neck shot.
It's always a privilege joining someone for their first time, in this case Rupert Haynes
of Open Season which distributes Blaser in the UK has been asked by Oliver to shoot his
first ever Chinese water deer with a .308 in the neck. Rupert is of course using a Blaser.
They tend to lie down in the middle of the day as well?
Yes, basically at this time of the year they live in the field really, full stop, yes.
Very similar to hares, have a little seat, get out of the wind somewhere and they live
out in the field.
Just hunker down and feed every so often.
Yes. Right let's go.
Guiding him is Zeiss professional stalker Paul Childerley. There are deer about. It's
just a question of getting near enough for a shot. There are no trees to hide behind
here - working with the wind and the landscape is the only strategy available.
We spot a couple of animals who don't like the look of us and bound out of range. A pair
of CWDs through the hedge are not so wary. We have to slither across the ground. They
don't stick around long enough, but Chinese are not like fallow, disappearing into the
next county after getting a whiff of you. We follow on and find a comfortable position
for Rupert to take the Chinese water deer in the neck.
Yes bottom position is good, you shoot him in the neck. OK - all clear - take the shot.
It's a great shot and Rupert is chuffed to bits.
I've been stalking for 18 years - red, roe, muntjac, all over Africa and Europe, never
Chinese, absolutely first, thrilled to bits. I'm really pleased, good stalking as well,
all the way through, really happy.
Oliver is pleased with the shot and the performance of Norma's.308 plastic tip round.
So following our Scottish trip with Don Heath, he showed us the very capable round, 150-grain
plastic tipped .308 Norma round, and we came out here with Paul Childerley to do some culling
on Chinese water deer. What we wanted to do which we achieved was a neck shot with this
particular round. I mean, as we see, this animal is going to the game dealer so we want
minimum meat damage on the animal, but as you see the 150-grain plastic point has done
its job, ripped right through and ripped apart all the major blood vessels and ripped through
the spine and dropped this animal on the spot.
So that was the devastating impact of the .308 plastic tip. What about the soft point
180-grain Oryx round? It is autumn and Oliver is managing his muntjac numbers on his ground
near Cirencester. Although the .308 is a lot of gun for an animal the size of a muntjac,
he wanted to show that even this calibre delivers an effective and importantly a clean exit
wound if the deer is being taken by a trophy hunter.
This morning we are setting up at the end of what's been a very productive ride for
Oliver The pheasant feed bin has proved too tempting for all species. This roebuck stays
in shot for a good ten minutes.
Becasue Oliver is anticipating a reasonable wait for an animal he's using an Extreme shooting
rest by Bogpod. It takes the strain so you don't have to.
From the cover a buck follows a doe into the open. The muntjac are unaware of us 100 yards
away from them. Oliver takes his time and waits for the doe to turn taking a broadside
As illustrated by that young buck we took with the .243 100-grain softpoint, I want
to talk about shot selection for capes. So, very small entry wound, we turn her over,
got quite a - about an inch of an exit wound on her and if you have a good taxidermist
they will be able to sew her up for you to preserve on the cape for a shoulder mount.
Internally the damage is clear, the heart intact, but lungs and liver taking the full
force of this round.
The .308 is traditionally used on the larger of our deer species - red, sika and fallow.
The fallow on Oliver's ground have proved to be incredibly elusive but we are hoping
tonight is our night. Oliver's old shooting buddy is the man with the job of pulling the
trigger. As he's in the forces he'd rather keep his face mask on, which is a shame as
he is a very attractive man.
We check field margin after field margin with no sign of fallow. Oliver plans it so as we
approach last light we take up a position just along the edge of a block of woodland.
We see hares but no deer - that is until we start walking again. About eight deer cross
our path. Fortunately one stops long enough for Oliver's friend to take a shot.
With just the head above the crop the shot has gone in under the chin and exited at the
top of the neck.
Right we have shot a fallow hind, a fallow doe right on last light this evening. We shot
it at about 70 metres off sticks and we are using Norma 180-grain Oryx round. If you look
down at the head, immediately around the grass on the side you'll see there is a lot of blood
there which is a good indication of something fairly catastrophic in short order. A quick
look at the head and we have had a round go in directly under the neck. We could only
see the head and neck of the animal at the point the shot was fired and straight away
we have a large exit wound which has severed the spine as well. So the round has come in
under the neck, severed the spine, you can hear a bit of crunching there and it's probably
severed both of the main blood vessels on the neck as well with the shock wave, so that
is an immediate and effective clean kill on the animal.
Oliver's pal is also an accredited witness for the deer stalking qualification level
two, so runs through an external inspection for us.
What we do after the animal is down, we start at the head and work our way along. We'll
do a quick external inspection so that you get an idea straight away of the health or
some pointers in the direction of the health of the animal. Quick look at the head, look
at the eyes, nice clear eyes, nice clean eyes, we look in the ear as well and see if there
is any indication of parasites or parasitic infection in there. We would also look at
the teeth to age it and we would look at the tongue, because of the blue tongue disease,
but you can see where the animal has been shot there is quite a lot of claret in there
at the moment so that's something to look at when we get to the larder. Stroke your
hands along the side of the beast: are there bones sticking up? Run your hand down the
spine: does she feel as though she has some meat on her? and yes she does. Is she skinny?
can you feel her ribs? no. So in terms of confirmation and size she is coming across
as quite a healthy animal. Another notifiable disease would be foot and mouth. Quick look
between her cleated hooves to see what we have got in there. Again, quite tricky, but
there are no obvious signs of swelling, pustules, redness or disease there, and at the time
she was running she wasn't running with an unusual gait. So she is probably quite healthy
in that department. And again another place. Obviously it's a bit warmer on the inside
of the leg. That's a classic area for looking for things like keds and lice, and there is
no indication there of any kind of parasitic infection. A quick look at the back end and
genitalia, again an area where the skin is exposed, would be an easy place to pick up
parasitic infection or lumps, swellings or pustules, but there is none of that. So, first
indications that the animal is a good cull beast and a healthy beast as well.
A good healthy specimen and a shot that dropped it on the spot.
Now for some foxy fun. Trailcams are giving us an insight into what our wildlife is doing
while we are not watching. This vixen is a real little madam.
Trailcams used to be the preserve of scientists deep in jungles trying to find out if the
last three duck billed slapadictumi had really truly fallen off their perch. Now they are
everywhere, capturing wild animals closer to home.
This sequence of films ends up delivering some fascinating aggressive fox behaviour.
Firstly Roy Lupton's friend Phil shoots a vixen. It's one of the foxes responsible for
killing his peahens and chickens in the garden.
We have lost a couple of peahens and a couple of hens during the day, so I have decided
to thin the foxes out before the breeding season starts and this is the third vixen
we have had in the last week, so we are doing the job I think.
He leaves the carcase on the ground to get something from the house. While he is away,
in comes another vixen. She show interest in the dead fox then attacks it - grabbing
it by the throat.
Tonight he's after that vixen-with-attitude. Phil has baited an area of ground behind the
house. They're creatures of habit and the trailcam timer has shown him when to expect
the next visit. Bang on time.
Another interesting piece of behaviour is that the foxes demonstrate real caution when
approaching and taking the rabbit - it's almost as if they are testing to see if it is a trap.
It gives you the time they come because they are creatures of habit and you can see just
how cunning they are the way they tweak the rabbits that you put out and just to see if
anything is attached to it, any traps involved or things like that, and it has worked really
We have never had the opportunity of seeing these things go on before, because obviously
if we shot a fox we would have picked it up and moved on, so to actually have the footage
of another fox coming in, especially a vixen attacking another vixen is quite fascinating.
You would get more than one female within a territory, but there will probably be an
alpha female that will breed and then subordinates surrounding her. So I take it this was probably
one of the subordinates coming in and making the most of the alpha animal being put down
and going in and taking over.
Trailcams not only provide visual proof of what's about - you can also work out an animal's
routine without having to spend hours on patrol.
The vixen may have given the other female on her patch what for, but Phil just cares
about protecting his livestock.
Well, we are back next week when we will be reporting to you from IWA in Nuremburg in
Germany when we will be showing you all the shooting and hunting kit that will be hitting
the shelves of the shops near you.
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This has been Fieldsports Britain hunting and loving it.