I've been lamping with lurchers now for just over twenty years. The joy I get from seeing a dog I've spent hour upon hour training finally come good and course, catch and retrieve his prey in the lamp is beyond words.
The one thing that never ceases to amaze me even with the amount of years I've been lamping is the more I learn, the more I realise how much there still is to learn. Nothing emphasises the fact more than when you go lamping with a friend and see how different people operate differently in the field, and it's by sharing these moments that hopefully makes us all a little wiser and able to operate more efficiently in the field.
One such example of this was I was having a talk to a friend about buying a new lamp kit "are you buying a red filter for it as well" came the reply " I've never really thought about it" I said always thinking that like a lot of other things they were just a bit of a money maker for the shops that sold them and very little use in the field " try one you might be surprised" came the reply. After thinking about it for a minute I agreed I'd try one and arranged a night out with my friend so that he could show me exactly how he uses it.
We arrived at the land we were to lamp on a less than perfect night for lamping, although there was plenty of cloud cover there was no wind at all and we were both concerned about the noise we were making as we crossed the first dry stubble field. It wasn't until the first scan round the field with the eerie red light from the lamp and we saw the ruby like shining of a couple of pairs of rabbits eyes we realised we were probably going to be ok. What made the night look as though it was going to be even better was the fact that usually the rabbits on this land bolt for cover the minute you switch the lamp on, but with the red filter in place the rabbits stayed put seemingly unaware of the impending danger to them. This was going to be easy I thought (I should have known better). Slowly we made our way across towards the rabbit all the time keeping it in the beam of the light and checking that dog had seen it and was ready to go. This is when I realised that the odds were now stacked back firmly in the rabbits favour as for some reason the dog seemed unable to see the rabbits in the red light even though we nearly within throwing distance of the rabbit "lift the filter" came a whisper from my side and as soon as I did the rabbit set off for home with the dog in hot pursuit who had immediately seen the rabbit the second the filter was lifted, unfortunately the dog missed this first rabbit but I was convinced that we'd got closer to this rabbit than we would have done normally had we not used the filter so try and prove either way if this was the case over a few weeks I tried this filter on a variety of places where I know the rabbits are extremely lamp shy and on nearly every occasion I came back with the same reply I'm getting far closer to them than normal and noticing a lot more rabbits squatting than running for cover with the added bonus that the dog is seeing the rabbits a lot earlier in the red beam.
Maybe people have had different experiences with these red filters and think there a waste of money. Well that's fine and it wouldn't do for us all to be the same, but for me, I'm now convinced that on hard lamped land the red filter is more than just a gimmick.