Lamping With Lurchers
A Wonderful Sport

What’s the best way to see a rabbit hunting dog in action? Well if you ask me, lamping with lurchers will take some beating. And it’s not just for rabbits. Foxes and hares can make for great prey when you combine the use of your dog and lamp.

So what is lamping exactly? The lurcherman aims a high powered lamp on his prey, if he feels it’s a suitable target, he lets slip his lurcher/s to make the kill. But of course it’s not as simple as that! The hunter must take his time to carefully position himself and his dog, carefully scan the field for prey, and make the decision on whether or not to let the lurcher loose. All this makes lamping with lurchers a highly skilled and enjoyable spot.

What You’ll Need

It goes without saying, you’ll need a lurcher. There are no end to the possible crosses of lurcher and it often depends on what the hunter likes best. So as long as it’s a nice, obeying and fast dog, you should be fine. The rabbit hunting dog breeds that are most common for lurchering are collies, bulls, the saluki and the deerhound. The crossbreed hardly even matters!

The next question is one dog or two? This debate seems to have no answer other then that formed by who ever you are asking. I think its only logical that two dogs are more likely to catch, but many say that a solo dog will never get caught in a tangle of legs or become confused by the others movements. I think the only real answer is go with that you fancy. If you have two dogs to run, go for it!

(Note: it is illegal to go lamping with lurchers with more then two dogs in the UK because of Hunting Act 2004 )

Lamping with Lurchers

The only other thing you need is a lamp. With so many on the market it’s almost impossible to choose and decide. Just make sure that it emits a strong and solid beam and that it can be carried without to much difficulty. I would strongly advise you buy touches with a power rating over 50w or it just won’t be strong enough. Also keep an eye out for the famous ‘1 millon candle power’ types, these seem like they where made for lamping with lurchers.

If you plan on hitting the same field a few times it’s worth getting a red filter lens. If rabbits see a beam of light and a lurcher flying at them at full pace a few times they get lamp shy. And can you blame them?

How To Lamp

The first step is to study the grounds you plan to lamp on carefully during the day. Study the land and take in all the locations rabbits are likely to be (hedgerows, ditches, tree lines) and take extra care to note anything that might harm your dog. If you skip this step there’s a chance you’ll send your best rabbit hunting dog full pace into a barbwire fence, a ditch or over a set of ankle snapping holes. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t want to run over it barefooted, your dog wouldn’t want to.

Once your all set, its time to head out. Get the land owners permission and inform them what day/s you’ll be out on. Just to avoid any problems later on. The best nights are dark, windy nights. Lots of cloud is ideal but otherwise nights with as little moon in the sky as possible are best. Take the wind into account and try to have it blowing towards you from the rabbit hot spots. This will hide the smell and sound of you getting closer and will make lamping with your lurchers much easier.

Use your lamp to slowly scan the field in places you’re hoping to find prey. Keep a tight grip on your dogs collar or scruff, you don’t want him bolting at the first thing he sees. Once you spot that ruby glint in the bunnies eye be very careful not to flood it with light, you might spook it. Make sure that your aimed at your intended prey. Sending a dog after a pair of eyes could result in a nasty mishap with a pet cat, a small deer or even other dogs!

Now you have the rabbit in your sight, but does your dog? If the dog is new to the sport he might not understand. Keep the beam on the prey and try to direct your dogs face to it. It can help using commands like “see it?”. Once he spots it you’ll know, he’ll perk up and might even pull away. Only when you’re sure its safe, release your lurcher.

The changes of a well trained lurcher catching anything you send him after is about 60-70%. A lesser trained dog might struggle the first few times and you’ll have to be patient with it until he/she comes to grips with the sport. But once both the lurcher and master are well homed, a night out can catch a huge bag of rabbits.

Other Lamping Tips

• There is no point in lamping with lurchers unless you can call them back first time every time. Take your time to train you dog to become loyal and obedient.

• Be ready to kill the rabbits manually, you can find out how by reading my page on Killing rabbits

• Always have a spare battery for your lamp, you’ll hate having to cut a trip short im sure

• Stealth is key, sneaky hunters bag the bunny!

• If you know other lurcherman, taking your dog out on a trip with them will give it a pack mentality. Meaning he/she will try her best to mimic the others, a great training aid.

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