12 Discontinued Boy Scout Merit Badges

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boyscoutinsignia.com

Aspiring Eagle Scouts no longer sew these patches onto their merit badge sashes, much to the chagrin of taxidermists and almond farmers everywhere

1. Nut Culture

Scouts learned how to raise an assortment of nuts and legumes en route to earning this badge before it was eliminated in 1954.

2. Master-At-Arms

This crash course in self defense required pinning down the basics of two of the following activities: boxing, fencing, singlestick, wrestling, jujitsu, and gymnastics.

3. Masonry

Thinkstock / Meritbadge.org

One of the Boy Scouts of America’s original 57 merit badges, “Masonry” instilled a basic understanding of contemporary stonework. 

4. Consumer Buying

Wikimedia Commons / Meritbadge.org

Rest assured—the organization’s never condoned purchasing actual human shoppers. Instead, this merit badge aimed to help young men become astute, thrifty customers. Requirements included studying consumer laws, reviewing a given company’s customer service policy, and critically evaluating advertising campaigns. 

5. Pigeon Raising

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People have been keeping and breeding these birds for eons. Until 1980, the Pigeon Raising merit badge helped Boy Scouts join in the fun.

6. Bookbinding

Getty Images / Meritbadges.org

The BSA struck an early blow against print media by canning this one in 1987.

7. Cement Work

Thinkstock /  Meritbadges.org

To acquire the Cement Work badge, one needed a “concrete” knowledge of the medium. Cement sundials, flower pots, and garden seats were listed among the objects prospective students could choose to build.

8. Stalking

Wikimedia Commons / Meritbadges.org

Requirements included identifying assorted animal footprints, tracking a creature for one-quarter of a mile, and photographing some of the beasts you’ve silently followed. 

9. Rabbit Raising

Getty Images / Meritbadges.org

“Rabbits are affectionate, gentle pets,” notes a 1983 Boy’s Life article describing the Rabbit Raising merit badge. "Affectionate" and "gentle" aren't words that grab teenage boys' attention, and the BSA dumped the badge a decade later. 

10. General Science

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The principles of astronomy, geology, microbiology, and meteorology all came into play here. Talk about being interdisciplinary!  

11. Dairying

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Don’t have a cow, man. Instead of dying off entirely, elements of this merit badge merged with five others (Sheep Raising, Hog Farming, etc.) to form the Animal Science merit badge in 1975.

12. Taxidermy

Getty Images / Meritbadges.org

Stuffing and mounting animal skins is a demanding process, but we’re pretty sure at least a handful of Boy Scout badge-chasers were better at it than some of these people.  

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April 22, 2014 - 5:00pm
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