In prehistoric times, successful hunting was a condition for preserving human life. Nowadays, when food is obtained from the nearest supermarket, the program “If you want to live, kill a mammoth” still remains in the subconscious of a large number of representatives of the stronger sex.
Hunting gives adrenaline and pleasure. An entire industry for the production of hunting weapons and ammunition has grown around this need, special suits have been developed, and breeds of hunting dogs have been bred.
Badger hunting is a gambling and exciting event.
Description of the badger
It is not difficult to understand what a badger, which belongs to the mustelid family, looks like if you imagine an animal with a wedge-shaped body, a small head and a short tail. The European badger has an elongated muzzle with three white and two dark stripes. The legs are short but strong, with curved claws. There are five toes on the paw. The body is covered with long fur.
A badger's footprint resembles a miniature bear's. On soft soil it leaves clear marks. He takes small steps and walks hastily. By mid-summer, the animal begins to accumulate fat, and its gait is replaced by a waddle.
The main hobby of this animal is architecture. A badger hole is a complex structure with a well-thought-out structure. These animals do not like constancy - they constantly experiment with the length and width of their home.
A ventilation system, multi-level galleries with branches, and emergency exits are provided. The main chamber, which is the bedroom, is covered with leaves, grasses, and moss, and this layer is regularly updated. The temperature there is comfortable all year round.
These animals are very clean. You will not find food remains near the hole. A little further away there are latrines in the form of pits with badger excrement. They spend almost their entire life underground, in their burrow, never going far during forays. Sometimes “tenants” move into their home: raccoon dogs, foxes, wild cats.
The animal badger is a nocturnal inhabitant of the forest. He goes out in search of food closer to night. He never goes far from the hole. They move slowly and with heavy steps. These animals can swim well and are very agile.
Cleanliness is their unbreakable principle of life. Trying to tell how a badger lives, the description would not be complete without mentioning its cleanliness. The area around the badger hole is always perfectly clean. He also takes care of the internal order of his burrow.
Over the summer and autumn, the animal gains subcutaneous fat, doubling its weight. This allows him to spend the entire winter in hibernation, caulking all entrances with grass, leaves and earth.
To the question “What do badgers eat?” the correct answer is that they are omnivores.
But they still have preferences, these are slugs, beetles and earthworms.
In addition, they catch and eat:
- field mice;
- large beetles;
- insects and their larvae;
Used as food and vegetation:
They use only good quality drinking water. Even in times of famine they will not be tempted by carrion.
Description and habits of a badger
The badger is a full member of the mustelidae family. It usually weighs thirteen kilograms (in the fall, larger individuals are found), the body length can reach one hundred centimeters. The head is small, small round ears, the abdomen is white with dark spots, and the tail is short.
The nails are large and strong, the legs are long. Badgers are careless, slow and clumsy animals. The coat is gray with white spots. Badgers live in burrows, are homebodies by nature, and are not afraid of people. They can settle near human areas. They mostly spend their lives underground. Occasionally they leave their home in search of food.
In the fall, the badger replenishes its fat reserves, and in the winter it goes into hibernation. It prefers to look for food at night, or when it is twilight. Badgers are omnivores. They feed on insects, worms, slugs, plant roots, and fruits. They can hunt lizards (depending on the habitat), frogs, and voles.
Badgers love cleanliness in all its forms, so you will never see a dirty badger hole; they even build their own toilet separately. A couple is chosen mainly for a long time, or even for life. The female gives birth to two or three badgers. They grow quickly and soon leave the hole.
How to find a badger hole
Badger burrows are well camouflaged and can only be found by indirect signs. If there are numerous holes of small depth, then this is direct evidence that this animal has been here. He digs holes to find food for himself in the form of worms, bugs, and plant roots. From these holes there are paths along which you can find a hole. The search is facilitated by the presence of a hunting dog looking for the badger's trail.
The nuance is that you can go to a temporary hole, because he has several of them. For wintering he uses one, the most important one for him, in which the whole family lives. A badger hole has a characteristic feature - a pile of earth located directly at the entrance. Confirmation that it was a badger hole that was found is its entrance: a semicircular one of small height.
Features of badger hunting
The badger is active at night. In winter, the animal hibernates. Fat accumulation occurs in summer and autumn, so the best time for hunting is September-October. There is another argument in favor of autumn hunting. The fact is that the badger often feeds on food from the ground and carrion. Such food is usually infested with parasites. However, before hibernation, the animal “cleanses” the body with light plant foods. Thus, many parasites either die or are excreted.
Reconnaissance of the hunting area must be carried out in the light of day, but it is better to leave the hunt for a moonlit night. The badger has an excellent sense of smell and hearing. Any extraneous sound, be it the rustling of leaves, the creaking of a gun, the barking of a dog or a quiet conversation, will immediately alert the animal to the presence of a person.
There are several varieties of badger holes. The first type is a colony. This is a branched dwelling with several exits. Usually a whole family lives there. The second type is a single burrow. It is deep, constant, and has one exit. It happens that a young badger strays from the general family. Then he digs shallow temporary holes in several places.
Hunting with a gun
This type of hunting is a fairly common choice.
Experienced hunters advise that it is best to purchase a double-barreled shotgun. Opinions differ about ammunition: some people like to go after a badger with buckshot, while others prefer shot.
Before hunting you should prepare:
- Do some shooting practice. Achieve good accuracy.
- Inspect the area.
- Look for shelter. You can use bushes or build a fence.
- You should take into account the direction of the wind - the animal has an excellent sense of smell. Accordingly, do not smoke.
- Think about how to lure the badger out of the hole.
When the animal leaves the hole, wait a little until it moves away. The badger is quite resistant to wounds and the wounded animal will run back into its hole. Then you should check the hole during the day; he may not be able to run far.
Hunting in Tatarstan
How to find a badger hole
It is advisable to go through it all. But if you don’t have enough time, you can use the following tactics: we find the junction of ravines, branches or branches and search them, and also do not forget about the places where the ravine exits the forest. As an example, I marked the most advantageous places for searching on the map with red circles.
How to find a badger hole
We begin to search the ravine from the mouth upward. If the slopes of the ravine are clearly visible, you can walk along the bottom, be sure to examine every path that approaches the water - this could be the path of a badger; it always approaches the water in the same place. If it is not possible to walk along the bottom, you need to walk along the slope, below the shore, and you also need to inspect the terraces. If the vegetation allows, you can inspect the opposite slope and, in general, all interesting areas with binoculars. I also take photographs of hard-to-reach places: sometimes, thanks to these photographs, I find holes. We must pass the ravine from both banks!
In this photo, a ray of sun in the center attracted attention; when approaching, there was a hole nearby. Unfortunately, the photo is only from a phone.
How to find a badger hole
We move carefully along the ravine. Sometimes the holes are on very steep slopes (photo above), and getting down to them is not an easy task. If you are not confident in your climbing abilities and skills, it is better to use a rope. Fortifications are usually located either on the shore or on terraces.
Using the example of a map indicating the possible locations of the settlement and following search tactics, a settlement with 18 burrows was discovered in just over an hour. During 2 weeks of searching, 5 residential settlements were discovered. Considering that the search was carried out in two farms “blindly” only using maps, without the help of local hunters and only in the morning hours, this is a very good result. For each exit, it was possible to discover one ancient settlement. I planned my outings in the morning for two reasons: sometimes you can meet a late badger and it is more or less cool in the morning. Sometimes it was the heat that was responsible for stopping searches in highly branched deep ravines.
Location of the settlement on the topographic map.
How to find a badger hole
The settlement itself represents a site on the bank of a ravine (photo below). If you walk along the bottom and don’t know what the badger’s path to the water is, you can safely pass by even such a large “town.” Therefore, I always try to walk on the slopes just below the shore, even if this is a more difficult and slower process.
Great! We found the holes! It remains to be seen whether they are residential or not. A packed path near the hole and water, and a toilet can tell us about this. Fortifications are rarely empty, and badgers may come to individual burrows from time to time. It is advisable to smell the holes. If there is a strong smell coming from the hole, then most likely it is occupied by a fox. Also, the capture of a hole by a fox is evidenced by all sorts of waste from its vital activity.
Next, you need to find the most advantageous location for an ambush. It is advisable to notice several areas depending on the prevailing wind direction (the so-called wind rose, it can be found on the Internet for different cities). In some burrows it is possible to arrange a hideout from the opposite bank (usually such burrows are found at the beginning of the ravine). If it is impossible to arrange a place on the ground, the option of arranging a perch on a tree is likely. Happy hunting!
Author: Azat Khamidullin
Published in Russian Hunting Magazine number 10/2016
Any copying without the permission of the author and the editors of the magazine is PROHIBITED!!!
Hunting with dogs
Today hunting with different dogs is practiced:
- hunting with burrowing dogs;
- with likes;
- with Jagdterriers
With burrowing dogs
You can hunt badgers with dachshunds and fox terriers, after baiting them with these animals.
The choice of these dogs is explained by the fact that:
- By nature they are evil, boldly rushing into battle.
- Small dimensions make it possible to easily move in a narrow hole.
- High endurance.
Hunting a badger with a dachshund or fox terrier begins with finding out whether the animal lives in this hole. A sign that it is inhabited is the presence of piles of fresh earth at the entrances to the burrows, as well as fresh excrement. The dogs should be released from their leash and the command to attack should be given. The hunter stands ready with a gun.
The dogs enter the holes and immediately attack. The battle begins. If the badger runs out of the hole, the hunter finishes it off with an accurate shot.
If the task is to catch a badger alive, then while the dogs hold it, the hunter uses the picks and tongs he took with him, designed to extract the animal. Such devices are also useful so that you can pull a wounded or killed badger out of its shelter.
Hunting with burrowing dogs destroys the animal’s home, which is generally considered a disadvantage.
Hunting for a badger with huskies does not take place inside the hole, but on the surface. Therefore, given that this animal goes in search of food closer to night, the hunt must begin in the evening in order to track the time of its exit and the direction in which it will move.
Hunting for a badger at night will begin after the badger leaves its hole. When he moves further away, the dogs are released. The hunter uses the time while the huskies are looking for prey to quickly close all the entrances to the hole. Hearing the barking of dogs, which means that the animal has been found, the hunter runs towards the sound of the barking, blinds the badger in the eyes with the light of an electric flashlight and shoots it or uses a small bat. Hunting a badger with a husky is also possible early in the morning, when it returns home.
Advice! When going on such a hunt, wear stronger shoes, because... a wounded animal, defending itself, can not only start a fight with dogs, but also attack the hunter.
This type represents a fight between two equal opponents. The badger is a fearless animal and intends to protect its home and itself. Nature has provided it with sharp teeth, which allows it to bite through the skin of an attacking dog. You have to hunt such an animal with a dog that is not inferior to it in its fighting qualities. Such a dog is the Jagdterrier.
These are dogs with excellent qualities for hunting predators:
- listening to extraneous sounds;
- proportional physique;
- small dimensions;
- elastic muscles;
- gambling, impetuosity;
- ability to pursue for a long time;
Baiting Jagdterriers to badgers
The owner begins to teach the dog, which is one and a half years old, how to catch a badger. First, for this purpose, the Jagdterrier is baited with a badger.
At the first stage, the process is carried out in artificial burrows made for this purpose. The owner, observing the behavior of the dog, corrects it when necessary.
At the second stage, the dog is led to places where there are badger holes. When the hole is discovered, the dog must be released. Having climbed there, she explores the hole, looking for other entrances and the presence of a badger there.
Having discovered an animal, the Jagdterrier can capture it and hold it. The best option is for the dog to strangle the badger and take it outside.
Badger hunting with a Jagdterrier has the following options:
- The prey is shot out of the hole.
- The dog runs into the hole, catches the badger there and pulls him out.
- A dog captures a badger in a hole and strangles it. Then it brings the prey to the surface.
Weapons and equipment
Badgers are hunted in September and October . After the animal goes into hibernation, the hunting season ends. They go hunting with a gun. They use smooth-bore weapons with compact firing (IZH 58, IZH 54) or rifled ones. In some regions of the Russian Federation, the use of rifled weapons when catching badgers is prohibited.
The twelfth gauge is best, but sometimes the sixteenth and even the twentieth are used. The gun must have a sharp action. The badger is tough when wounded, so they take a gun with good accuracy when hunting. Of the double-barreled guns, the IZH 27 and TOZ 34 have proven themselves well, and of the Russian semi-automatic guns, the MP 155 and MP 153.
Badgers are hunted at night, so guns are equipped with flashlights and night sights to increase hunting efficiency. The 5.56 mm cartridges worked well when catching this fat guy from ambush. Most hunters use cartridges with shot from 0 to 0000.
Badger hunting at night
The closer the intended mining target, the larger the shot size should be. Cartridges loaded with buckshot with a diameter of 7.6 and 8.5 millimeters are also used. A long-range shot is made using 6.2 mm buckshot. They go hunting in the fall, when it rains constantly.
Therefore, you should purchase a waterproof suit of a soft color with a hood. It should not be rustling so that an animal with excellent hearing does not hear the hunter. The color of the clothing should not stand out against the background of the local forest, so a gray or dark green suit is best.
Hunting for a badger by driving involves closing the entrance to its hole with branches and spruce branches while the animal is away. There must be two hunters. One of them remains near the hole. The second one moves away and releases the dog. Having found the badger, the dog begins to chase it towards the hole, where they are waiting for it with a gun. If barking is heard all the time from the same place, it means that the dog has grabbed onto it and is holding it. The second hunter hurries to the sound of barking to shoot the prey.