What is Sett surveying and why do we do it?
Sett surveying is a high priority for us all year round.
Looking for setts is really important with regards to protecting the sett and the badgers within.
Unfortunately, badgers are persecuted throughout the year in different areas.
Both legal and illegal interference happens with setts – sometimes they are legally ‘evicted’ so that development can happen. Other times they are “dug-out” (dug out of their setts to be baited), other examples include illegal snaring, sett blocking (often done by a hunt to stop a fox going underground to escape the hunt hounds) interference, lamping and of course the badger culls.
We sett survey in order to monitor badger activity and report any illegal interference to the police throughout the year, this information is essential for us during the cull as it helps us decide where best to deploy our teams of badger protectors.
We hold regular sett surveying training days, and anyone can come along, (please see our events page). We have a wide range of people getting involved, most of them share an interest in wildlife and enjoy country walks. Here are some helpful tips we have picked up over the years:
It’s always best to keep a buddy with you as some of the trails can take you off to some awkward places.
Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting caught on brambles and that cover your legs to protect from stinging nettles.
Stick to a simple meet up plan and keep in phone contact with the group.
Bring a packed lunch and something to drink.
What to record
Badger holes (Setts) – Look for fresh digging, but sometimes old spoil heaps grown over may still be active when you take a closer look. Check entrance holes, are they clear and big enough for a badger to get through?
Record how many active and inactive holes with a grid reference, this means it will be easy to find again. And we can monitor any reduction in activity.
Latrines – Shallow holes with Badger poo piled in. Look for latrines at boundaries and corners of field, on runs and sometimes near a sett. Record these with a grid ref.
Runs – They tend to be clear and smooth from a badger’s belly wearing down the foliage. Often, they will cross a field or footpath and the run will go through the hedge. They will lead to a food or water source for the Badgers. Record these with a grid ref.
Road traffic accident – Dead badgers on roads record with grid ref, we record these as a way to tell us there is a badger population nearby.
We have put together this useful video to show you what signs of a near by badger population will look like, and to help you recognise badger setts.
If you are unable to come to one of our days but would like to start doing some surveying in order to help protect our badgers, a good app to download is
You can download this in the apple app store or the google play store on your smart phone.
This will enable you to record grid refences, you can then email us your sett surveying info and we will be in touch.
We also offer free map reading training, remember to have fun!