Winter sett surveying

Last Updated on 27 June 2022 by Badger

Sett surveying in warm weather is fantastic.  Meeting up with friends, enjoying the great outdoors and getting some exercise while doing something really worthwhile.  What could be better?  What about winter sett surveying?

Did you know that winter is a great time to survey?  With minimal vegetation runs, setts and latrines are much easier to spot.  In summer, undergrowth often prevents you from seeing signs of badgers and sometimes it’s impossible to get through.


As long as you’re prepared, winter surveying can be fun and effective.

We’ve pulled together some of our top tips for a productive day’s winter sett surveying.

  • Keep warm with multiple layers that can easily be removed.  Even on a cold day, sett surveying is warm work so you may find yourself wanting to shed a few layers.
  • Take or wear lightweight waterproof clothing if rain’s a possibility.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry, a piece of old shower curtain gives an instant dry surface to sit on.
  • Gloves and/or reusable hand warmers can make winter surveying a lot more comfortable.
  • Invest in a dry bag or sack to keep your kit dry.  These come in a range of sizes and many start at very low prices.  Failing that, a zip lock freezer bag will help keep your phone, notebook, and other bits and pieces protected from the elements.
  • Hand gel is a must as you won’t have access to soap and water.
  • Plasters and a small first aid kit to clean and protect minor wounds is always handy.
  • A drink and snack will keep you going if you’re planning to be out for a fairly long time.
  • Make sure your phone’s well charged before you head out.  A charged power bank slipped into a dry pack is great for extra assurance.
  • Always ensure you finish surveying in good time to get back to your start point before the light starts to fade.  Take a small charged torch even if you plan to be home well before dark just in case!
  • Maps on phones and tablets are great but can fail.  A paper map and compass are good to have as a backup.
  • In the car, a clean pair of shoes and socks are a welcome relief for muddy and/or wet feet.  They’ll also help to keep the car clean!

This list isn’t exhaustive but is a good starting point.  You also need to consider the more things you take with you, the more you have to carry around.  After a trip or two, you’ll figure out what works best for you.

Happy winter sett surveying!