TV chance for the Bideford man who 'talks' to foxes

OLD style countryman Bernard Hill of Bideford is hoping some of his remarkable wildlife film will be appearing on the popular Springwatch television series. Hunter, trapper, fisherman and, in more recent years, creator of wildlife videos and DVDs, Bernard

OLD style countryman Bernard Hill of Bideford is hoping some of his remarkable wildlife film will be appearing on the popular Springwatch television series.

Hunter, trapper, fisherman and, in more recent years, creator of wildlife videos and DVDs, Bernard, aged 78, sent film of a fox family at play to a television film company.

He thought it had been forgotten, he told the Gazette. But he has now been notified that some of this film could be used on the Springwatch programme's home video section.

That notification has also prompted him to send a remarkable addition - film of himself 'in conversation' with a wild fox in woodland.

The film shows Bernard coming across a sleeping fox. He "squeaks" to awaken it and attract the animal to within just a few feet. There Bernard talks to the fox at close quarters before it suddenly makes off.

Bernard formerly lived and worked in the countryside around Langtree, augmenting his income by becoming a professional hunter. From a young age he trapped moles, and sent their skins to be made into hats, together with squirrel tails and bird feathers.

Most Read

He caught rabbits as a valuable food source during the war years and in the 1960s made headlines and was featured on television and radio, calling foxes.

Through a variety of calls ranging from mice and distressed rabbits to foxes themselves, Bernard was able to bring the animals up close before shooting them as a service to farmers by keeping numbers down and to sell their pelts.

He was called on to demonstrate his skills in other parts of this country and in Germany and earned the nickname "The Fox Man."

But in more recent years it has been his video camera which has captured the foxes and other wildlife.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter