Mink are small members of the weasel family. Dark brown in color, mink have long been sought after for their pelts. Though they only reach 2-3 lbs in size, mink are aggressive and predatory. They will prey upon most anything including rats, mice, fish, rabbit, birds, eggs, insects or muskrat. Because of their long and sleek design, mink will commonly find their way into chicken coops or other animal holding cages where they can kill several of the captive prey animals in a short period of time.
This characteristic – random slaughtering of prey animals – sometimes confuses the animal owner into thinking local vandals are responsible. They also like to line their kill up in a row which leads to further confusion. It’s hard to imagine such a small animal could be so destructive, aggressive and organized. But if you raise quail, pheasant, chickens or some other small bird, hope the local mink don’t find out!
Mink like to live close to water. Dens are commonly made on the banks of streams and creeks but they may choose a location under a rock or log. Babies are born in April and May and the average litter will have 4-6 young. Mink are active in most every state except one or two in the southwestern region of the United States. Since mink are usually nocturnal and secretive, they are not easily seen. Generally they are not the first animal thought to be responsible for local damage unless the land owner is familiar with how mink behave. But once they learn of a good food supply, they will be persistent and resilient. Local populations will have to be trapped out and either relocated or destroyed.
MINK LIVE TRAPPING
There are many ways to trap a mink. The best trap to use will depend on where you plan on trapping and which design you are comfortable using. Traps fall into two categories or trap designs. The first type, live trapping, can be done with an LT7824 LIVE TRAP. Since mink are wary of anything new to their environment, it will really help if you either hide or partially bury the trap when making a set. Keeping the wire floor of the trap covered with dirt or mud will really help. Leaves, brush and plants can be placed along the sides and top of the cage to mask the enclosure. This will insure the animal won’t become overly cautious or trap shy.
Now in the rare case where you may encounter a “trap shy” mink, your choice of bait will have to change. Remember, mink love live animals. So if you have a nuisance mink coming around your chicken pens or other live stock, regular mink lures may not work. For this situation, the use of a live trap with live bait will no doubt be the ticket to success.
And the ideal trap for this application is the LT152248RD with the attached Bait Cage. Basically this trap comes pre assembled and ready to use so all you have to do is set it up with a live chicken or other small animal. The rear access point makes baiting the trap easy too. And the ideal way to make a set is to use a well known point of entry your target animal is already using.
So if you have a mink that’s been prone to digging under a fence to get inside, use his behavior to trap him. In other words, don’t thwart his digging; let him have his way. Now once you know the location where he want’s to enter, you’ll want to set the Live Trap with Bait Cage on the inside of your pen opposite of the digging. This way as the mink clears a tunnel under you fence and enters, he’ll be “channeled” into the live trap.
Now the front door of the trap must be a few inches away from the pen siding so it can close and this gap much be filled during your set. Simple barricades on either side can be made with chicken coop wire, railroad ties or cinder blocks. The goal here is to show the mink no way but forward and into the trap.
And if you’ve baited the trap with a live bird, the entering mink will never suspect anything is amiss. This set will take advantage of their tunnel vision which will cause them to move toward their goal and in the process, get caught. Just be sure to camouflage the traps floor by covering the metal wire with dirt, straw or some other natural material. Doing the same for the trap sides is helpful too.
And make your set late in the day, just before dark, so your bird is fresh all night long.
MINK TRAPPING LURE FOR REGULAR TRAP SETS
Like most any normal live trap sets, you’ll need to use some kind of lure or bait to get the mink interested and curious so they will enter. Use MINK GLAND if you are smelling the “musky” mink odor commonly left behind when they enter holding pens or barns. This odor may be present and strong by entrances which may be a small hole or gap between fencing.
If the mink is targeting a pond – specifically the fish which reside in the pond – use some SALMON PASTE as lure.
And in rare cases you may find the mink is digging in the yard foraging for insects. If this is the case, use some GRUB LURE.
If the mink is active along a stream bed or other location where you have a bank in which you can make set, consider making a “pocket set”. This type of trap set is effective for many animals including mink. A Pocket Set is when a hole or pocket is dug out of the bank in which the trap will fit snug. Ideally, when the trap is placed in the pocket, it will fit tight. This will help camouflage the bottom, sides and top of the cage. Use any of the baits listed above based on what you think will most likely get their attention.
MINK CONTROL LEGHOLD TRAPS
The use of the Live Cage is best for when you aren’t quite sure where the mink is living but you either know where it is foraging or where it travels. But since mink can be wary of live traps, you may need to use another type of live trap commonly referred to as a “leg hold”. There are two types of leg hold traps: the Coil and the Long Spring. For mink, the COIL # 1.5 or COIL # 1.75 is a good size. If you prefer the long spring design, the LS # 11 or LS # 2 are the most commonly used sizes. Get the coil if you are new to trapping and don’t have much experience since it’s a bit easier to work with and set.
These traps need to be placed out along mink runs, slides and pathways where they are active. Generally these sets are best made with some Gland Lure. However, the pocket set can be quite effective with either trap and some Salmon Paste placed in the pocket. When done right, the pocket should be made right at the water line so water will enter and hide the trap just under the water surface. Place the bait in a cheesecloth sack or nylon sock to keep it above the water line so it won’t wash away. This will enable it to work best since it will be protected from the rain and sun as well as the water. For more trap set information, get a MINK TRAPPING BOOK. It details a lot of good sets for a wide range of environments and should prove helpful.
MINK CONTROL SNARES
The last live trap option – and one that should be left to only the most experienced trapper – is the use of LIGHT SNARES. When placed along walk ways, pathways or slides where mink travel, snares can be quite effective. The thin cable is barely detectable and you can make a lot of sets without a lot of cost. However, snares must be used with precision and the rule to follow is to try and place out as many as possible. Be sure to anchor your snare or else the caught mink will carry away your cable and fittings. Snared mink are mean and ornery so be prepared to deal with one mad animal when caught. And keep in mind that snares work well when placed in front of den holes.
MINK CONTROL KILL TRAPS
If you know the den hole and don’t feel like dealing with a mad mink snared, set out some Body Grip Kill Trap. These traps are fast acting and very effective for animals which live in a den. Once their home is found, trapping with a Body Grip is easy. The most common sizes for mink are the BG 120 or the BG 160. Use a REBAR GROUND STAKE to keep the trap properly angled and anchored. Make the set during the middle of the day to insure the mink is holed up. When it leaves that night you should have quick success. Body Grip traps can break fingers easily and their springs can be hard to compress so you may want to use some BODYGRIP SETTERS to make the sets easier and safer to complete – especially if you intend on making several trap placements.