Badgers (Taxidea taxus) primarily eat rodents such as ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and mice. Digging for prey can cause considerable damage to hay fields, pastures, levees, pond dams, terraces, golf courses, and cemeteries.
The Wildlife Code of Missouri classifies the badger as a furbearer and game mammal that may be taken during prescribed hunting and trapping seasons. See current regulations for details. The Code also specifies that you may shoot or trap damage-causing badgers out-of-season without a permit. Refer to 3 CSR 10-4.130 Owner May Protect Property; Public Safety of the Code for details and restrictions.
Mesh fencing buried to a depth of 12 to 18 inches can exclude most badgers. However, the cost and effort to construct such fences make them impractical for large areas.
These are not recommended because none are known to be effective. Putting gas cartridges into burrows is not effective because badgers are usually outside the burrows. However, gas cartridges can be used to eliminate prey species such as ground squirrels. Gas cartridges are typically available at local garden and farm supply stores. Mothballs are ineffective, too. In addition, they contain toxic naphthalene, and the vapor is harmful to humans.
Cage-type traps are ineffective, and body-grip traps are not allowed for dry-land sets in Missouri. Foothold traps are effective, but their use requires special skill and experience. Restrictions apply, so see current regulations for details. Your local county conservation agent can likely provide the name of a local trapper who can assist you. Browse our contact database to find your county agent. In some situations, the Department wildlife damage biologist can provide instruction, equipment, and assistance.
Badgers are nocturnal and nomadic, so shooting is not practical. If badgers are unusually active in a golf course or cemetery, they can sometimes be spotlighted and shot at night. Permission to use an artificial light must be obtained from the local county conservation agent. Check with local authorities regarding use of firearms.