As the second badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset draws to a close SNJ reporter Kate Wilson joined television presenter Bill Oddie and another 50 anti-cull protesters on a mission to find wounded badgers.

THERE is little activity, and while I have been warned to call 999 if I come across anyone with a gun, the quiet walk through the countryside is actually rather pleasant.

I imagine I would feel very differently on the matter if the rain hadn’t stopped but fortunately it did and I am now left feeling curious about what I am going to experience while on a Wounded Badger Patrol.

The main question I find myself asking is whether or not I actually want to find a dead or half-dead badger?

As more and more people gather on the mound of grass near the Longford Inn there is a buzz of excitement in the air. I’m not sure if the excitement is just part of the nightly routine to get campaigners ready for the mission at hand before they head out on patrol – or if it is because Springwatch presenter and former member of The Goodies, Bill Oddie is joining the Wounded Badger Patrol tonight.

My guess would be the latter.

As we await his arrival I find myself worrying about what’s going to happen while out on patrol.

Firstly I’m rather concerned there is a serious risk I might be shot - especially as I chose to wear a hat that has ears.

I’m also worried about what is going to happen if I come across any of the marksmen, cull supporters or police officers.

This fear is not quashed by the patrol co-ordinator who tells us to get the name, badge number and station of any police officer who stops us. We are also told to film or record any interaction with police officers or cull supporters as this is all used for intelligence.

To be honest I feel like I’m about to embark on a special ops mission.

But part of me thinks who can blame them for their cautionary tales after some of the incidents that occurred during last year’s cull.

Even Bill Oddie tells me this is one of the main reasons for returning to take part in another Wounded Badger Patrol so he can see how differently the patrollers were treated by police.

And that seems to be the message from most of the patrollers - that the police approach to this year’s cull is radically different and in their opinion much improved.

After a couple of hours wandering through a field in Apperley on a mission to - I don’t know - find wounded badgers, stop marksmen from being able to carry on with the cull - I have come to the conclusion that very little actually happens on a Wounded Badger Patrol.

But then again this could just be a quiet night.

Stroud News and Journal:

SPRINGWATCH presenter Bill Oddie tells the SNJ why he has returned to the county to take part in another Wounded Badger Patrol.

“I wanted to see how it compared as last year it got very nasty around this time.

“And to be honest everything I have heard about police interaction this year has been positive. By sounds of things the police have been brilliant.

“But at the end of the day nothing will take away from the fact that this is one of the biggest fiascos in political history.

“It should never have got this far.

“Politicians have to realise that people like the ones taking part in these patrols actually have quite a bit of knowledge on the subject of bovine TB and it would be in the interest of those MPs and policy makers to make use of that knowledge.

“They are not the trouble makers they have been portrayed as and they are worth taking notice of.”