Mink Damage Management

Wildlife Damage Management February 05, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Mink | Mink Overview | Mink Damage Assessment | Mink Damage Management | Mink Acknowledgments | Mink Resources | ICWDM | Wildlife Species Information


Contents

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

The mink, Mustela vison.
The mink, Mustela vison.

Mink damage usually is localized. If needed, lethal controls can be directed at the individual mink causing the damage.

Exclusion

Usually the best solution to mink predation on domestic animals is to physically exclude their entry, sealing all openings larger than 1 inch (2.5 cm) with wood or tin and by using 1-inch (2.5-cm) mesh poultry netting around chicken yards and over ventilation openings. Mink do not gnaw like rodents, but they are able to use burrows or gnawed openings made by rats.

Habitat Modification

Habitat modification generally is not a feasible means of reducing mink predation problems on farms. If the objective is to increase natural production of upland nesting wild birds, however, habitat modification may be applicable. The best method for increasing nesting success of upland birs is usually to increase the size and quality of cover areas such as grasslands, legumes, or set-aside areas. Although increasing the density of nesting cover may reduce nest predation by mink, it could lead to an increase in nest predation by species which favor dense cover, such as the Franklin ground squirrel. Because mink frequently use multiple den sites, elimination of potential denning areas may reduce their densities.

Frightening

There are no known frightening devices that are effective for deterring mink predation.

Repellents, Toxicants, and Fumigants

There are no repellents, toxicants, or fumigants registered for mink damage control.

Trapping

Mink can most easily be captured in leg hold traps (No. 11 double long-spring or No. 1 1/2 coilspring) or in Conibear®-type body-gripping traps equivalent to No. 120 traps. Mink are suspicious of new objects and are difficult to capture in live traps. Single-door live traps may be effective if baited and placed in dirt banks or rock walls. Double-door live traps can be effective in runways, particularly if the trap doors are wired open and the trap is left in place for some time before activating the trap. Live traps may also be effective around farmyards because mink are more accustomed to encountering human-made objects in those areas.

Figure 3. An obstruction set catches a mink where it is traveling along the bank and is forced into the water. Disturbance at the trap site should be kept to a minimum. Figure 4. The spring set catches the mink where a small feeder stream or tile outlet enters a larger stream or impoundment.

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“Blind sets” are very effective for mink if suitable locations can be found. These sets do not require bait or lures and are placed in areas along mink travel lanes where the animals are forced to travel in restricted areas (Fig. 3). Good sites for blind sets include small culverts, tiles, narrow springs, muskrat runs, and areas under over-hanging banks or under the roots of streamside trees (Fig. 4). If necessary, the opening can be restricted with the use of a few sticks or grass to direct the mink over the trap.

Figure 5. The pocket set is effective for mink. Bait or lure is placed in the back of the hole above the water level. (Note: the stake is set off to one side and its top should be driven below the water line).
Figure 5. The pocket set is effective for mink. Bait or lure is placed in the back of the hole above the water level. (Note: the stake is set off to one side and its top should be driven below the water line).

Another good mink set is the “pocket set” using bait (Fig. 5). This set is made by digging a 3-inch (7.6-cm) diameter hole horizontally back into a bank at the water level. The bottom of the hole should contain about 2 inches (5 cm) of water, and it should extend back at least 10 inches (25 cm) into the bank. Place a bait (fresh fish, muskrat carcass, or frog) in the back of the hole above water level and place the trap underwater at the opening of the hole. Traps should be solidly staked and connected to a drowning wire leading to deep water.

Use box traps around a farmyard if there is a high likelihood of catching pets. Otherwise, leg hold or Conibear® traps can be used with or without bait in runs or holes used by mink.

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Shooting

Some states may have restrictions on shooting mink, although many will make exceptions in damage situations. If a mink is raiding poultry and can be caught in the act, shooting the animal is a quick way to solve the problem. Normally, though, it is difficult to shoot mink because of their nocturnal habits.

Summary of Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion

Exclusion usually is the best solution to mink predation on domestic animals. Confine animals in fenced in areas. Seal all openings larger than areas. 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Habitat Modification

Generally not feasible

Frightening

No methods are effective

Toxicants, Fumigants, Repellents

None are registered.

Trapping

Mink can be captured most easily leg hold or Conibear®-type traps, predation on domestic but live traps may work around farmsteads

Shooting

May not be legal. Normally difficult and impractical.

Mink | Mink Overview | Mink Damage Assessment | Mink Damage Management | Mink Acknowledgments | Mink Resources | ICWDM | Wildlife Species Information

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.