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Trapping mink – some key advice

Liam Bell advises a reader on how to trap mink legally and effectively

Trapping mink

It can take over a month for traps to 'weather in' and blend with the surroundings

Trapping mink issues

Q: There are mink on the stream at the bottom of my garden. We have had cage traps out for nearly a month and still haven’t caught any. Do you have any tips or advice you could share?

A: Mink are quite brave and rarely trap-shy. My guess is that the traps are relatively new and that it might take another week or so for them to blend in and ‘weather’, and lose their shine.

Make a wooden tunnel big enough to house the trap, but not so large that the mink have room to squeeze between the cage trap and the tunnel wall. Place it adjacent to the stream and peg or weight it down. Mink are quite powerful and can easily tip an unsecured tunnel or cage trap over onto its side. (Read the laws on trapping here.)

Attracting the mink

Use cheap fish-flavoured cat food as an attractant, and put it in a small hole underneath the trap. Place the trap over the hole, with the treadle plate covering the bait-filled hole. The mink you catch can either be bolted into a bag, worked into a corner and despatched with a priest or worked into the corner of the trap and shot with an air pistol at close range.

Why we need to control mink

Mike Swan of the GWCT says: “When we think about mink control, we tend to think about water vole conservation, but there are lots of other reasons. Most predators will ‘surplus kill’ given abundant prey, but mink are particularly strong on this, hence the mayhem if one gets among your newly released poults in their pen. Similarly, one visit to a nesting gull or tern colony on a little island is all that it takes to destroy the lot. They will also kill nesting ducks and waders, spawning trout and other fish.”

Read all about the mink and why mink rafts are an effective form of control.