How to Trap Minks
Minks are highly intelligent and often difficult to trap, but their natural curiosity and food drive should eventually lead them to your humane trap. Use the following trapping and relocation tips from Havahart® to get the job done.
1 Contact Your Local Wildlife Agency
Before attempting to trap a pest mink, contact your local or state wildlife agency to check whether it is legal to do so. Because people seek minks for their fur, many states have seasons established for trapping them – this may or may not include live trapping for pest removal. However, most states have exceptions for homeowners and farmers to control minks that are damaging property regardless of the season.
Your local or state wildlife agency can also advise you on where to release a captured mink. Since minks are territorial, options may be limited.
2 Select a Mink Trap
When you’re targeting a troublesome mink on your property, it’s important to have the right trap for the job. A small- to medium-sized trap is ideal – this gives your mink enough room to enter the trap fully, but the openings are small enough to prevent them from escaping.
3 Camouflage and Place Your Trap
Minks can often be suspicious of new objects, especially shiny ones – so live traps can be ineffective if not properly placed and camouflaged. Here are some tips for best results:
- Start by wrapping the trap in something dark colored since they are compelled to investigate shadowy holes and animal burrows for prey.
- Spray your trap with water and roll it in dirt or mud before placement to give it a conditioned look. Keep any camouflaging elements out from underneath the trigger plate to ensure proper trap function.
- Place the trap along typical mink paths, such as along chicken coops or in dirt banks. This method is most effective in travel lanes where they cannot go around the trap and instead must enter it.
- Another effective way to ensure a catch is to place the trap at the site of a previous kill.
4 Select and Position Bait
Minks are strictly carnivorous animals and prefer fresh kills, so use baits that appeal to their food habits. Follow these guidelines when baiting your trap:
- Bloody chicken meat, chicken entrails, frogs, fresh fish and muskrat carcasses are great bait options to ensure minks come to investigate.
- For an added attractant, sparsely cover your bait with fur or feathers depending on what you’re using.
- Properly positioning the bait is crucial to success. Be sure to place the bait so the mink must fully enter the trap to reach it.
- Secure your trap by placing a weight or brick on top of it so the mink cannot knock over the trap in an attempt to steal the bait.
For more bait options, check out How To: Mink Baits »
5 Carefully Set Your Trap
Carefully set the door(s) to the open position. Each trap sets differently, so be sure to follow your trap’s unique instructions.
Once set, you can test your trap by applying pressure to the trigger plate. Small traps can be sensitive to vibration or movement, so try not to disturb the trap once it's set.
TIP: Set your trap in one simple step with Easy Set® technology.
6 Check the Trap Frequently
Once a mink is trapped, it can quickly become scared and desperate to escape. Check your trap at least twice a night, once about three hours after sunset and again at dawn. Never leave an animal trapped for an extended period of time.
7 You've Caught a Mink!
- Always wear gloves when handling the trap and carry it away from your body
- Drape a cloth over the cage to keep the mink calm - a frightened mink may discharge a foul-smelling musk.
- Handle the cage carefully and avoid loud noises that may stress the captured mink.
- Before placing the cage in your vehicle, put down a tarp or other liner to limit the spread of its musk smell and other bodily fluids.
- If local laws permit, relocate the mink at least 5 miles away from your property to prevent it from returning.
- After releasing the mink, be sure to wash and disinfect the trap to prevent the spreading of disease.