Mink most commonly are found near streams or other bodies of water. Their diet consists mainly of fish and aquatic animals such as frogs and crayfish. However, they will eat rodents and birds. Fur prices for wild mink pelts stay consistently high, making the mink a favorite target for fur trappers. The most effective way of catching mink is by using a steel leg hold or body grip traps. These two traps will quickly kill the mink if set properly.
Locate where mink are traveling along the shoreline of a stream, lake or marsh. Evidence will be tracks and feces containing pieces of fish, bone or crayfish shell.
Dig a hole 4 inches wide and 10 inches deep into the bank with the mouth of the hole parallel to the water’s edge. Choose a spot where the bank rises up at the waterline and the water is less than 2 inches deep. Make the hole partially in the water so 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water fills the bottom of the hole.
Scoop out a shallow bed in the water in front of the hole so the trap will lay flat on the bottom and not rock. Place the set trap in the bed in front of the hole so the jaw hinges face the hole. Twist a 3-foot long double strand of rebar wire onto the trap chain ring.
Twist the opposite end of the rebar wire around the upper portion of a 1-inch to 2-inch diameter wooden stake. Drive the stake in deeper water straight out from the trap at the end of the wire. The length of the stake will be dependent on the depth of the water.
Dip a dry twig into a bottle of mink lure and place it in the back of the hole so it is above the water line. When the mink gets caught, it will swim to deeper water and the weight of the trap will pull it under and quickly drown it.
Place a body grip trap in front of the hole rather than a leg hold trap. Lightly drape long grass or water weeds over the top of the trap and around the hole to make it look natural. When the mink sticks its head into the hole, it will trigger the trap, which will snap shut and kill the mink instantly.
Set body grip traps wherever a mink would be swimming or walking through a narrow trail or passage. No lure is needed for this type of set. The mink will be caught when it goes through the trap.
- Do not set body grip traps where pets or nontarget animals will get into them.
- The two most consistent methods for killing a mink are by drowning it or instantly killing it in a body grip trap. The mink would still be alive if it was caught on land in a leg hold trap. A sharp wrap on the back of the neck also will kill the mink.
- Even though the trap is set under water, if it is not pressed down in a shallow bed it will rock if the mink steps on one of the jaws, which will scare it away. Twist the bottom of the trap down into the underwater bed until it no longer rocks.
- Bait rarely works for a mink set because they prefer to kill their own food and eat it fresh.
- Mink have been known to kill domestic poultry and fowl. If a mink is entering a chicken coop or out building, place a body grip trap in front of the hole they are entering.
- “Trapping North American Furbearers;” S. Stanley Hawbaker; 1969
- USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center: Mink
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