American mink are inquisitive, and research has shown that they find it hard to resist investigating a tunnel, especially if the tunnel is floating on a raft. If a cage trap is placed in the tunnel, any visiting mink is likely to go inside and be caught when the trap door closes. The traps are equipped with an electronic alarm unit which immediately alerts nominated people (usually conservation-minded volunteers) to the fact that the trap requires an urgent visit. One advantage of this capture method is that the animal in the trap is unharmed, and can be quickly released if it is anything except a mink. If a mink has triggered the trap, it is instantly and humanely dispatched with an air gun.
Mink that you catch are protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. You can be jailed and get an unlimited fine for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Catch mink with traps
You can trap mink most effectively between:
- February and March (mating season)
- August and November (when their young leave the den)
You can use cage and spring trap, but you must:
- only use approved spring traps
- kill humanely all mink you catch
You should check traps at least once a day.
You can shoot free mink using a suitable firearm and ammunition.
Use dogs to control mink
You cannot use dogs to hunt mink.
You can use dogs to stalk or flush out mink above ground, but only to stop serious damage to your property. You must:
- use no more than 2 dogs
- shot the mink as soon as they break cover
- carry proof that you own the land or have written permission from the landowner
Illegal pest control methods
You must only use control methods set out in this guidance. If you do not, you could you face a jail sentence of up to 6 months and an unlimited fine.
You cannot use the following for mink:
- self-locking snares
- bows and crossbows
- explosives other than legal ammunition for a licensed firearm
- live birds or animals, as bait or live decoys
- poisons, as no chemicals are currently approved for mink control