The mink is one of the most difficult furbearers to trap. Sometimes a mink may be caught in a muskrat set. In general, however, successful mink trapping requires sets that are adapted to the mink's habits. Foothold and bodygrip traps are effective for catching mink.
Pocket Set for Minks
The pocket set is one of the standard sets used by successful mink trappers. It is also a good set for raccoons.
Follow these steps to make the set.
- Choose a steep bank. Straight up and down is best.
- Starting slightly below water level, dig a small pocket into the bank. The bottom of the pocket, where the trap will be set, should be 2" below water level. The pocket should slope upward into the bank with the back of the pocket 3" to 4" above water level. The diameter of the pocket should be about 6".
- Place bait—a piece of crayfish, fish, muskrat, mouse, or frog—at the back of the pocket.
- Add mink lure. Wadded grass with lure can be laid at the back of the pocket, or a twig dipped in lure can be stuck into the earth.
- Place a foothold or bodygrip trap of the proper size at the opening to the pocket. Cover the trap lightly with small water-soaked leaves, grass, or watery mud. Stake foothold traps so that the mink can reach deep water and suffocate immediately.
If dogs might come across the set:
- Do not use meat bait, fish bait, or raccoon gland lures.
- Place the trap deeper in the pocket.
- Make the set under a cover that will block dogs (for example, low-hanging branches or exposed tree roots).
Waterline Den Set for Minks
Almost every waterline den that is partly out of water will attract passing mink. These dens house crayfish, frogs, and minnows during cold weather.
- Set the trap in the mouth of the den. If the water is too deep, move the trap into the den where it can be placed 2" under the water.
- The best trap for this set is a bodygrip trap. Depending on the type of trap, the square or round frame will cover the hole and must be camouflaged lightly with grass or other plants.
Blind Set (Trail Set or Natural Set) for Minks
By following mink tracks, it is possible to find bottlenecks in their path. These are places where the mink passes through a narrow opening, such as under tree roots or between rocks. If you don't find a natural bottleneck, you can create one using rocks or logs. The mink is a creature of habit and will follow the same route repeatedly. A well-placed trap at a natural or man-made bottleneck will catch the mink on its next trip.
To set your trap:
- Dig a shallow bed at the narrow spot.
- Set a foothold trap in the bed. Bed the trap firmly in the mud. No bait or lure is needed.
- Use a sliding wire or tangle stake to make a submersion system.
Blind sets are also good sets for muskrats and raccoons.
Obstruction Set for Minks
This is a variation on the blind set. In this case, you are looking for a place where the mink is forced into the water by a tree, rock, or other obstruction across the stream bank.
- Bed a foothold trap in the shallow water at this point.
- Use a sliding wire or tangle stake.
- No bait or lure is needed.