Badger culls are to continue in one of the areas where the controversial measure has been trialled.
Natural England said a new licence authorises a three-week control operation to be carried out in west Somerset this autumn, while an application to extend it in the second area - west Gloucestershire - has also been received.
It comes after the action, intended to limit the spread of bovine tuberculosis, was this week condemned as a "farce" after ministers admitted that not enough animals are being killed.
A pilot badger cull is set to be extended by up to three weeks because fewer animals were killed than had been hoped.
Defra said Natural England was considering an extension to the west Somerset cull to "maximise the disease control benefits".
According to reports, just 850 badgers have been shot in the area over the six-week trial, just over 40 percent of an initial target of 2,081. The aim was to kill 70 percent of badgers in west Somerset and Gloucestershire by free shooting.
A Defra spokesman said: "Early indications suggest that the Somerset cull has been safe, humane and enough badgers have already been killed to help reduce bovine TB.
"Natural England is currently considering an application from the cull company for a short extension of two to three weeks so as to maximise the disease control benefits achieved this year."