21 September 2014

Coloured Filters For Blinding Lampers!

Vintage lamping kit! This is an old car headlight converted into a hand held lamp.
 Note the plastic drainage coupling taped on to try and make the beam tighter.
 An old 'Blue Eye' lamp with a clip on red filter.
Do you use a coloured filter when lamping? Many of the younger generation of lampers may have never worked without one. Older hands may have tried them like I once did. Maybe you still use one? If so please read this with an open mind, as it may just help you catch more rabbits without such needless accessories. What do I know you may well rightly ask? As well as being a dedicated lamper for over thirty years now I’ve also been a keen observer of the behaviour of our night time quarry. I also like to keep an open mind myself. Let me explain more……….
I upgraded my DIY home made lamping kit about 23 years ago to a purpose made kit. I bought it at the Midland Gamefair from the Deben stand. I walked back and to twice and had several longing  looks, kicked my heels a few times, before parting with my hard earned cash. You see we’d always made our own cheap lamping kits with old headlights and motor bike batteries.
I must admit that I’d had one of the very early purpose made kits called the ‘Sportsman’ which I’ve mentioned before. It was a basic 6 volt battery in a metal carry case and a small lamp attached to it. The beam went about 50 yards which was more than enough for the little Bedlington lurcher I had at the time.  I then moved onto a home-made headlight job as I sought a more powerful beam. This more powerful beam would surely catch me more rabbits wouldn’t it? I even modified it with a black 100mm plastic drainage coupling as a shroud {any builders will know what I am talking about} taped on to make the beam tighter. Now here I was finally buying an even more powerful purpose made kit. This my friends is where I believe lamping started to go wrong.
The manufacturers of the new lamping kits at this time had suddenly started to use new and exciting terms to describe the power of their lamps like ‘1 million candle power’ and other similar evocative terms. I bought a ‘Blue Eye’ lamp which was 250,000 candle power and according to the description on the box was so powerful it could cut through fog! It couldn’t, but that aside it was an OK lamp with a tight beam. Interestingly it came with a red filter.
The salesman {for that’s what he was} on the store assured me that animals wouldn’t be able to see the red light as they are all colour blind {This isn’t strictly true}. This he continued, meant that lamp shy rabbits would no longer disappear at the first flick of your beam as it was now invisible to them. It certainly sounded good as there were plenty of lamp shy rabbits around my neck of the woods; mainly because of me! Your dog of course wouldn’t be able to see anything with the filter on your lamp either he advised me, as they too are colour blind.  He was wrong on this point too. This myth has since been debunked. Dogs eyes do see colour, but they see it differently to ours. They have two types of cones in their eyes, so they see orange, yellow, and green as yellow. Blue-green is seen as white and red looks as though it is brownish-black. While they can see blue, they can’t distinguish shades, especially as the colour blue gets darker. But back then most of us took it as read that all animals were colour blind and filters were the answer to desperate lampers prays, which is of course why so many people bought them. Lamp shy rabbits it seems weren’t just a problem in my area!
The theory behind using these filters was that you spotted your rabbit, kept your red beam on it, got within range, whipped the filter off and slipped you dog onto the surprised rabbit! Some manufacturers even started putting hinged filters on which remained attached to the lamp and just flipped up at the desired moment. I eagerly ventured out and tried this new method. Being a keen student of animal behaviour I soon noticed that my supposedly colour blind dog was able to see the rabbits in the lurid red light. Surely if the dog can see in the red light then the rabbits can see in it too? Nobody else seemed to be raising such concerns and it quickly became the new accepted method of lamping. Indeed the market place was soon filled with other colour filters like amber, green and blue. Arguments raged as to what colour was best. This I believe did more to make rabbits {& other quarry} lamp shy than bare white lights ever did. Here’s my reasons why based on my own practical experiences, in the fields by night.
I went lamping with a gamekeeper one evening up in the Scottish Highlands. I was staying up there for a week hunting rabbits which were in abundance everywhere. Many of them were lamp shy as the keen young trainees on this estate were always lamping them using rifles, air guns or even shotguns, often off the back of quad bikes or pick-up trucks. Whilst these rabbits may not have seen any lurchers they certainly knew that lamps meant danger. Like most other lampers of the time I had my red filter on and started scanning the parks {Scottish fields}. I whipped it off when suitable rabbits were spotted and made a few catches on what I considered normal slips {they were actually very long slips to the locals}. My keeper host soon instructed me, in no uncertain terms, to leave the filter off and told me it was unnecessary. I politely disagreed as many reading this now who use filters may disagree with me. You see I’d become so used to using it that I was almost scared to carry on without it. I genuinely believed I’d struggle to get near to rabbits without it. The keeper then took his turn to run his dog and quickly flicked on his own lamp {without filter} for just a few seconds before switching it off and quickly moving in the dark. He’d spotted a suitable rabbit that was out of range and was getting in to a position of where he guessed it would run. Once in position the lamp was flicked on again and off went his dog to intercept the rabbit. After a couple of turns and the dog had its prey and the lamp immediately went off. The dog carried the rabbit back to hand in the dark and they were off again. The lamp was quickly flicked on for a few seconds and then turned off as they once again got into position. We were walking along a fence line that bordered some forestry. The ideal position for a run was to have your back against the fence with the rabbit directly in front of you out in the park. The dog would then go out to the rabbit and if it missed, it would be running directly towards you which is always better for catching. They caught a couple more using the same method and then it was my turn again.
Once again despite my host’s groans I started scanning the fields with the filter on. The rabbits were disappearing quickly before I could get into suitable positions so I had to resort to long slips. True I caught a few but not as many as my host.
Later on when we were finished he told me I was leaving my lamp on too long. He was right, I was. It was a bad habit I and many other lampers who had bought filters were guilty of. Somehow I’d grown into this habit. He then pointed out how little his lamp was actually switched on compared to mine. I’d had my lamp on for twice as long as him yet had caught half as many rabbits! I had the more powerful lamp too. He was lamping how I used to lamp and how I was taught to lamp. A quick flick of the beam, spot a rabbit and lamp off. Get into position / range, lamp on, dog off and lamp off as soon as the course is over.
Filters had created a generation of lampers including me who wrongly believed that the quarry couldn’t see their filtered beam. We’d forgot the old ways, the fieldcraft and stealth. We were scanning the countryside using our lamps like great big search lights. We were making the rabbits more lamp shy than ever. Artificial light will spook spooky rabbits no matter what colour it is. We were also casting our overly powerful new beams hundreds of yards ahead and even into the next field. This simply pre-warned our quarry that we were on our way! I realised he was right. I realised what bad habits I’d picked up and vowed to revert to the old ways. I never used a filter again. Nor have I ever used overly powerful lamps.
A friend started to come lamping with me occasionally on a shooting estate in North Wales and insisted on bringing his filter. I’d realised the error of my ways by then. My friend was a good lurcher man but he was doing exactly what I’d been guilty of and like me had become conditioned to needlessly relying on his filter. It was almost like the toddler that won’t give up its dummy! He insisted on clinging to his filter as he believed it gave him an edge. It didn’t, it just gave him bad habits. Eventually I convinced him to leave it in the car and he was slowly converted. His catches improved as he began to employ the old ways and field crafts once more.
Many people reading this will be convinced that they can’t catch rabbits or get slips without using their coloured filters. They will even make excuses to continue using one. I know because I did. There are of course no rules on how you should lamp with everyone having their preferred methods. All I can say is here are some tips to think about and if you have an open mind to try ~
{1} Leave your filter at home.
{2} Never lamp too far ahead. You’ll see what’s in the next field when you arrive there!
{3} Don’t use your lamp like a prison camp search light. Use it sparingly. The darkness is your cover and your ally.
{4} Always work with the wind in your face. This may mean back tracking a few times as you move between fields but it is worth it..
{5} The only time you need to leave your lamp on {when a chase isn’t on} is when you are illuminating a squatter for your dog to go out to. Once your dog knows about working squatters you can cover some of the beam with your hand to reduce it in these instances.
{6} Consider the power of your beam. If you are lamping rabbits it doesn’t have to be ridiculously powerful. If it is too powerful it will simply make rabbits lamp shy quicker.
{7} Don’t be trigger happy with you lamp switch and continually flicking it on and off and looking for rabbits that aren’t there. This usually happens on unsuitable nights when it’s still or moonlit. In desperation for slips the lamp starts to stay on longer and longer. The simply solution is don’t lamp on unsuitable nights. Wait for better conditions.



Let me know how you go on and remember if you keep doing the same things then you will keep getting the same results.....

My New Book

If you like your hunting books here's a new one you may be interested in. It's a hard back consisting of 216  pages  It contains 105 photographs many of which are action shots {101 colour & 4 black & white}. 
It is a factual collection of my recent hunting adventures and exploits that I'm sure you'll enjoy. There is plenty of lurcher and terrier work, plus ferrets and even a bit of hawking. Whilst it isn't in any way a 'how to do it' manual there are plenty of useful tips to be found within its pages.

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Make cheques payable to 'Harefield Books' {allow for cheque clearance time if paying by this method}

Don't forget to let me know if you'd like your copy signed or signed with a personal message.

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8 September 2014

Lamping Without A Slip Lead

When I started lamping rabbits, which was over thirty years ago, I bought the first of several of those quick release slip leads. It had a toggle that you pulled which released the collar from around the dogs neck and off it went hopefully after whatever you happened to be lighting up in your beam.
Sometimes if your dog was pulling particularly hard the mechanism would release of its own accord, usually when you didn’t want to slip your dog! Often in the excitement of a chase you’d drop the thing and it would quickly become lost in the dark. Other times the dog would sense your excitement when a rabbit was in the beam and start to pull whether it had seen it or not. On slipping, the dog would steam off in the wrong direction as it hadn’t seen the rabbit at all!
Slip leads were quite expensive compared to a normal collar and lead so many lampers simply used the free home-made version of a piece of cord or twine passed through their dog’s collar. It wasn’t always a pleasurable experience to be pulled around fields all night with some cord biting into your hand but at least if you lost it, it had cost you nothing.
For the first ten years or so of my lamping career this is what I did and it was what most of the lampers I knew did. About twenty years ago I was lucky enough to go out lamping with a Cumbrian lad who opened my eyes to some of the finer points of the job.
His lurcher walked at his heel without the restraint of a slip lead. This left him with one free hand. His dog wasn’t getting tangled around his legs when he went through gates and he was never in danger of getting pulled over. When he climbed over a fence the dog leapt over after him with none of the usual lead held fence climbing antics. He wasn’t getting his arm pulled off and the dog wasn’t exerting itself and panting. Indeed it takes two to pull and nothing makes a dog pull more than a lead! The whole session seemed more pleasurable for both dog and owner. They appeared to be working in harmony as a team rather than the lamper aiming, slipping and hoping for the best.
I vowed that night to get my own lurcher up to that same standard. I never used a lead for lamping after that. Here are the secrets of how you do it ~
Firstly your dog must be trained to walk to heel in the day before you even consider doing it by night. You start off in places where there is no game before progressing onto places where there is. Once it will walk at heel by day you then start to do it by night, firstly where there is no game.
Many lads like to lamp mob handed. If you want to train your dog to work like this you need to go alone by which I mean no other dogs should be present to distract your trainee.
In the early days I like to keep a collar on a dog as you can easily slip your finger under it at certain times if need be.
Many dogs can do what is known as ‘bolting the beam’. This means as soon as the lamp goes on, they steam off at top speed. This in most cases is ‘learned behaviour’. The dog has done this and had a pleasurable or positive experience. It’s probably had a chase or may have even caught an accidental rabbit so it thinks this is what you do. It’s an annoying fault.
A good lamping dog needs to stay at you heel as your lamp is turned on. If it does try to bolt the beam you simply turn your lamp off and call the dog back. I don’t worry about making noise or frightening rabbits on early schooling sessions as it is far more important to instil correct behaviour. If the dog dashes off let it. It will probably burn some steam off and it needs to learn such behaviour isn’t rewarded.
The very worst thing you can ever do is put the lamp onto a dog that has steamed off into the dark and is in pursuit. If that dog goes on to catch a rabbit it was chasing you will simply reinforce that unwanted behaviour. The dog needs to learn the correct behaviour that kills rabbits. Go back a step and walk your dog a bit more in the dark at heel where there is no game. Practice putting your lamp on and illuminating nothing. This will break the habit of the lamp going on being a cue for the dog to bolt.
Once the dog is walking steadily at your heel in the dark where there is game you can slip a finger under its collar just before you switch the lamp on during very early sessions. The dog will soon learn that it will be rewarded with runs on suitable rabbits and you will no longer need to hold its collar.
If a dog is moving ahead out of the heel position as you walk in the dark you should stop walking. Don’t ever let the dog get you walking faster! You dictate the pace and you don’t start walking again until its back at heel.
It doesn’t take many sessions to get your dog doing this if you are a competent handler and are prepared to leave the lead off. Leads on lamping lurchers are almost like stabilisers on a child’s bike that the child believes he can’t do without!
I don’t claim to be an expert at lamping though someone recently addressed me as one. I was quick to point out to him that an expert is just someone who has failed more than a beginner! I’ve certainly made all the mistakes at lamping described above but have ensured I’ve learnt from them.

If you lamp with a partner and another dog, once your dog is correctly conditioned you shouldn’t have a problem as long as the partner and his dog stay about ten or more yards behind you and vice versa when it’s his turn to run. The only use for a lead will be for the dog that isn’t running. Let me know how you go on.

30 August 2014

'Squatters'

A rabbit squats in the beam of the hunters lamp.

A well schooled lurcher should go out to the spot light created by the lamp whether it can see the rabbit or not.
 Once picked up the lurcher should carry its catch back to your hand.
‘Squatters’ is the name given by night time hunters to the rabbits which choose to squat down when the beam of the hunters lamp illuminates them. They don't do this because the lamp is blinding them; it is a natural freeze response. The rabbits natural instincts tell it to stay still to avoid detection. In many cases it works and the rabbit is overlooked. During the night when illuminated with a lamp the rabbits eyes glow red in the beam which gives them away. Many novice and unskilled lampers make the big mistake of walking their dogs as close up to the squatting rabbit as they can. When they get close the rabbit inevitably jumps up and the dog pursues it by reflex with the lamper illuminating its escape path. The dog has learnt nothing here. I've seen some shocking antics over the years from lurcher men doing this when lamping. One man once told me that “Practice would make perfect” as he insisted on walking out to squatting rabbits which his dog kept failing to see and then missing when the rabbit finally did jump up. Practice only makes perfect if you are practicing the right things! Otherwise practice simply makes permanent. To keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is madness {A.Einstien}
It is the dog’s job to go up to the squatting rabbit on its own. When the lamper walks the dog up to the rabbit himself he is simply teaching it NOT to look down the beam and NOT to go down the beam itself. The late Harold Wyman in his excellent book 'The Great Game' describes perfectly how a lurcher should work the lamp and squatters {page 95 - 96}. This Welsh poacher certainly knew his trade. The lamper should illuminate a squatting rabbit by holding his lamp as high as possible creating a downward spot of light on the rabbit. A correctly schooled lurcher should then trot out or run {depending on how it is bred} towards this beam of light. It's very unlikely that even the tallest of lurchers will always see every squatting rabbit, especially on rough ground. Remember how much lower your dog’s eyes are to yours. Try putting your eyes at the same height as your dogs and see what you see. Despite the nonsense that a certain prolific field sports author used to  say about lurchers not using their noses at night, a good one will. Yes it is right that a lurcher shouldn't hunt on with its nose after missing a rabbit but it will certainly use it to pinpoint a tightly squatting rabbit it might not be able to see, thus helping it zero in. Remember you should be hunting with the wind in your face and ideally the rabbit’s sanctuary behind you. Once the lurcher reaches the spot of light it will in most cases be rewarded by the rabbit jumping up {positive reinforcement} and hopefully running back towards you the lamper providing you have correctly positioned yourself against the fence / hedge / wood. If the rabbit sits really tight and the dog can’t see it this is when you will see a good dog use its nose to pin point its prey before striking. Once a dog has been correctly conditioned that the spot of light is likely to hold a rabbit it will go out remarkable distances to it whether it can see the rabbit or not. My own dogs always know when I raise my lamp high and form a spot of light out in the field that a rabbit is there awaiting them. In brief, you teach your dog to go to the spot of light so in never matters whether it has seen the squatting rabbit or not.

A dog is best conditioned alone and there will be some moments when trainees go steaming off into the night or tread on squatters whilst looking elsewhere. If you persevere and work on short distances of around twenty yards or so first it doesn’t take long for them to cotton on and start going out further. Remember to always have the wind in your face. If your dog doesn't pick the rabbit up from its seat and it jumps up, your dog should be pursuing it towards you providing you positioned yourself correctly. If you rock your lamp beam making a strobe type effect it will often knock the rabbit out of its stride and help the dog make its catch.

22 August 2014

Lurchers Working With Nets

I will explain why I don’t really like a ferreting lurcher to grab netted rabbits. Then I will tell you the best way to teach them not to do so.
Often when ferreting, rabbits can be bolting simultaneously. Rabbits can and do slip out of even the best set purse nets on occasion. If a rabbit is properly pursed up in a net, it should be safe until you reach it. There is no real reason for you to want your dog to get hold of it. I do expect and encourage a dog to bound over to netted rabbits; but not to grab them. There are two reasons for this.
The first reason the dog should bound over is in case a second rabbit bolts from the now uncovered hole. If a second rabbit does bolt then your dog is on hand and has it covered. However if your dog has been allowed to grab rabbits in nets it will have the netted rabbit in its mouth and not be covering the open hole or even paying attention to it. {I've seen this many times when watching others ferret} Any further bolters will slip away unnoticed. The second reason is if the netted rabbit does somehow slips out of the net before you can reach it the dog will be on hand to grab it.
A prolific field sports author once wrote that a dog can be trained to ignore netted rabbits by simply smacking it when it lunges at one. This is what is known as negative reinforcement and is not the best way to train dogs. It is certainly not something I’d recommend. Smacking a dog damages the bond between it and its handler. Also if the dog has the netted rabbit in its mouth at the time smacking it is very likely to discourage it from carrying to hand in the future.
Rather than punish a dog for incorrect behaviour it is far better to reward it for correct behaviour. This is called positive reinforcement and is very effective. When teaching a young dog initially keep a finger under its collar when a bolt is imminent to prevent it grabbing netted rabbits on early expeditions. Lead it to go over to safely netted rabbits and praise / reward it for not grabbing them {it can’t anyway as you still have your finger under its collar and are controlling the situation}. If one does slip from the now uncovered hole its better still as you can allow your dog to chase it.
A dog that doesn't grab safely netted rabbits but is on hand covering them looks very professional, is more efficient and is working in harmony with you like a partner. Once the dog understands what is correct behaviour the penny soon drops, especially if you are doing lots of ferreting with nets. Once netted rabbits have been despatched and untangled from the nets the dog can be allowed to have a sniff of them then. Once the dog knows its duty it won't be that interested in despatched rabbits. 
  My old lurcher bitch Moss covering a netted rabbit and the now unnetted hole it bolted from but not grabbing it.

17 August 2014

My First Lurcher

 I started ferreting way back in 1976 using the family collie type dog as my canine companion and occasionally a neighbours pet whippet. My first lurcher of my own was a Bedlington X whippet I bought in 1980. I've rooted out a few old pictures of him from over thirty years ago when he was a couple of years old. I bought him as a pup off a chap in Ramsbottom near Bury, via an advert in the Exchange & Mart {that's where lurchers were bought & sold in those days}. I named him Max and he grew to 20" tall. He was mainly a rabbiting and ferreting dog but did take feathered game and rats too. He also caught occasional hares; usually two or three per season. He could never catch a hare in a straight course as he wasn't fast enough but would catch them in cover, on rough ground many admittedly by accident. The first photo {yes its me} is from around 1982 and is on a farm in Tarbock, Merseyside where I used to have permission and spent much of my youth. The construction of a new Expressway in the 1990's sadly finished off the hares on this farm.
Max was good at hunting in water as we were always ratting along the local brooks. Pictures 3 & 4 show him catching a moorhen and swimming back with it.
The final picture is of a Bedington X Greyhound. It was taken up in the Highlands on some heather moorland when we were out fox denning. The young lad Rob was a trainee keeper / stalker and the lurcher belonged to another keeper friend and first class terrier and lurcher man.The dog was called Taffy and was very good. I saw it take lots of lamped rabbits, ferreted rabbits, blue hares and foxes. Having seen both first crosses work I could pass the opinion that Bedlingtons are better crossed with a greyhound rather than a whippet.....but I won't....and here's why ~

LURCHER CROSSES ARE LIKE A PAIR OF SHOES.
YOU MUST FIND ONE THAT FITS FOR YOU.
WHEN YOU DO PLEASE DON'T TRY TO MAKE ME WEAR YOUR SHOES!


10 August 2014

Our Friend With The Red Coat & The Bushy Tail.

A fox on the lamp. The appearance of a set of those big eyes never fails to excite me.
 He responds to my calls and comes in closer. I always found still nights best for calling foxes. Your call carries further and its harder for a circling fox to pick up your scent.
 A fox emerging at dusk at a well known den site which is in the bushes.
 In daytime stalking mode. This was a vixen with cubs to feed who regularly hunted in broad daylight.
 This vixen knows something isn't right but she can't scent me as the breeze is in my favour. Nor can she see me as I have a good background and am suitably camouflaged.
 The sand hole den site.
 Some well grown cubs playing in a freshly cut hay field.
 These cubs were from a nearby dry drain.

1 August 2014

Some Long Netting Action

A rabbit, at half speed, heading for the junction of two long nets set in the corner of the field.
 He's about to get the last surprise of his life.......
 Well and truly tangled in the deadly web.
 Here's one hitting the net at speed {above} and another about to hit it {below}



16 July 2014

My Latest Article in EDRD Magazine

Click on this link to read my latest article in the no 1 publication for working terriers and lurchers ~ 


24 June 2014

Old Black & White Coursing Memories From Altcar


I took most of these pictures in December 2000 at one of the smaller meetings held at Altcar. The October and November meetings had been cancelled due to bad weather so it was a rescheduled day. The venue was down Engine Lane about a mile from the more well known 'Withens' running ground. The slipper, Garry Kelly is in the shy watching an approaching hare. The flanker in background {one of several} helps funnel the hare in the right direction past the slipper.
White collar closes with the hare


As a course is underway the next entrants take their dogs to the shy. Note the beaters in the background. As soon as a hare entered the coursing field the beaters would all stop.




One of coursing's & indeed the countrysides biggest supporters; the late Clarissa Dickson Wright. A former barrister, business woman and TV celebrity chef. She was a colourful character who always spoke up in our defence
Coursing was a great example of natural selection. The strongest and fittest hares survived and went on to breed thus enhancing the species. Very few very killed. When a hare was caught the nearest steward would ensure a clean kill. Here's a steward running in to do this.
This was was taken at Lydiate, you can identify it by the church in the background. The second day of the Waterloo Cup used to be ran at Lydiate and it was known for its long courses. The ground could be driven either way, the shy being moved accordingly.
This one is on the fields to the West of the estate between Engine Lane and the Formby by-pass. You can see the Tesco supermarket {where can't you see one!} in the top left of the picture and the industrial estate to the right.



6 April 2014

Learning The Ropes 2

Here's my young lurcher bitch learning to work with a long net whilst ferreting in the top picture. She picked it up quite quickly without once getting tangled in it which is a first for one of my dogs! The action shots are a ferreted rabbit that slipped a net and avoided the long net. That's where a lurcher comes in.
The long net in this picture is a curious one. It was given to me by a Welsh golfer. I used to regularly ferret on this particular golf course until the night vision shooters wiped out everything. A golfer approached me one day and asked if I'd like some old nets he no longer used. I replied "Yes please".
The following week when I turned up he'd left a bag with the green keeper. I was expecting some old purse nets but in it was this beautifully hand knitted long net. What's unusual about it is that it has a second ply of netting which is almost web like attached to the main netting which really does tangle the rabbits up.



Marking an inhabited warren.

4 December 2013

Learning The Ropes

Here's my current trainee lurcher bitch sitting down whilst I net up a nice open warren.

8 March 2013

Not Many Left....


We've only got a few of these left now. You can buy one by clicking here & scrolling down ~  lurchers-terriers-ferrets.co.uk

The book is not a how to do it type manual, nor are there any rabbit recipes! It's all hunting tales from when I started out as a young boy right up to the ban. There are plenty of useful tips to be found within it too. This book very nearly didn't see the light of day. I'm sure it was cursed. I just managed to collect them from the printers only days before they went into liquidation. It was a very close shave as I'd had to pay them up front. Then a couple of years later we had a pointless tax investigation over it. It was clearly instigated by someone with scant knowledge of the self publishing of hunting books as there is little money in it! It's my old bitch Tawny on the front cover closing in on a mountain hare high up in the hills of the far north of Scotland. Yes she did catch it too.

The best read for terrier & lurcher enthusiasts

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I write regular articles and submit pictures for Dave Harcombe's great magazine which gave me my first opportunity at writing. If you are into workers then this is the magazine for you. All of the contributors are genuine work dog men and women. It's a monthly publication and is available by mail order only. The format has recently been updated to include more colour pictures too. Here is the link to the official website -
http://www.earthdog-runningdog.com/home-page/




3 March 2013

The Last Waterloo Cup

Here's an old picture from the last Waterloo Cup with the judge on horseback right up close to the action. It was taken on the 1st day at 'The Withens'. The other picture was also taken there. I went to my 1st ever cup when I was seventeen {1981} and was hooked. I had no transport or anyone to take me back then so I got the first 78 bus into Liverpool city centre, jumped a train to Formby and started to walk in the direction of Altcar with my thumb out. Luckily I got a lift off a gentleman from Chester who turned out to be the official vet, Mr McWilliam and I got in for free! I never missed a cup after that and also used to attend the smaller meetings held earlier in the season. Incidentally since the ban there are sadly nothing like the number of hares on Altcar anymore. Contrary to the opinion of opponents of coursing few hares were killed at coursing meetings. Hare populations thrived under the protection they received on coursing estates.