Beginner's guide to badger watching!
Badger watching need not be as complicated as it seems if you are willing to put in the effort and prepare your watching experience in advance. While every experience is different we have prepared a quick guide to help you get the most of your badger watching experience. With a little bit of preparation you too can experience one of the UK's most unique and iconic animals in their natural habitats.
1. Find a Sett
It’s recommend that you don’t walk blindly into badger watching. Make sure you have prepared everything as best you can. If you know of a sett you’re in luck. If not, you can join your local group or carry out your own survey.
2. Prepare the Sett
Prepare the sett much earlier in the day. Make sure you are downwind of the sett (the wind is flowing towards you, not behind you). If you can, making sure there are several options for places to sit can be incredibly helpful. This will help if you arrive and the wind direction has changed. Your viewing points should be free from debris like leaves that will make a rustling noise if you move. Clear your entry and exit points to minimise disturbance which could ruin your viewing. However, DO NOT walk over the sett. If you can completely avoid walking over, or close to, the sett altogether then do so. Your scent can be detected many hours after you have been around.
3. Prepare Yourself
Make sure to wear dark clothing that will help you blend into the background. Sitting for a long period of time, even in the summer, can get chilly so make sure to wear plenty of layers but avoid waterproofs. Waterproofs can make a rustling noise enough for the badgers to hear, even if you only move slightly! Perfumes are a no-no also. You want to make sure the badgers do not smell anything out of the ordinary... as they have an incredible sense of smell!
4. Arrive Before Dusk
Make sure to arrive at least one hour before dusk. In the summer, badgers can become quite unpredictable in what time they come out of the sett. So it is worth getting to know the habits of the group you are watching better before you try to watch them. Depending on the location of the sett you are watching, the group may come out much earlier or much later than dusk. As a general rule, make sure you are in your location for watching at least one hour prior to the badgers emerging in order to get the best results.
Do's and Dont's
BRING BINOCULARS: They can help you see in the dark! Low magnification and wide diameter work best. Get them out in advance.
USE A TORCH: However it needs to be dim. Red light is best. Cover a torch with red cellophane.
GET EVERYTHING OUT AND READY IN ADVANCE: Even the slightest rustle is enough for the badgers to hear you.
LET THEM SEE YOU: Make necessary movements while the badgers are looking away.
LET THEM SMELL YOU: Perfumes are a no-no!
LET THEM HEAR YOU: Materials like water proof clothing make loud rustling