The chief occupation of the mink consists in perpetual search for something to eat, and, when so engaged, he may be seen running along the bank of the stream, peering into every nook and corner, and literally “leaving no stone unturned” in its eager search. Taking advantage of this habit, it becomes an easy matter to trap the greedy animal. Set your trap, a Newhouse No. 2, in an inch of water near the edge of the stream, and directly in front of a steep bank or rock, on which you can place your bait. The bait may be a frog, fish, or head of a [Page 191] bird, suspended about eighteen inches above the water, and should be so situated that in order to reach it, the mink will be obliged to tread upon the trap. The trap may also be set in the water and the bait suspended eighteen inches above it, by the aid of a switch planted in the mud near the trap. It is a good plan to scent the bait with an equal mixture of sweet oil and peppermint, with a little honey added. If there is deep water near, the sliding pole, page 145, should be used, and if not, the “spring pole” in every case, in order to prevent the captured mink from becoming a prey to larger animals, and also to guard against his escape by amputation, which he would otherwise most certainly accomplish.
The trap may be set on the land, near the water’s edge, baiting as just described, and lightly covered with leaves or dirt. Any arrangement of the trap whereby the animal is obliged to tread upon it in order to secure the bait, will be found effectual.
The trap may be set at the foot of a tree, and the bait fastened to the trunk, eighteen inches above it. A pen, such as is described on page 144, may be constructed, and the trap and bait arranged as there directed. Minks have their regular beaten paths, and often visit certain hollow logs in their runways. In these logs they leave unmistakable signs of their presence, and a trap set in such a place is sure of success.
Some trappers set a number of traps along the stream at intervals of several rods, connecting them by a trail, see page 153, the mink being thus led directly and almost certainly to his destruction. This trail is made by smearing a piece of wood with the “medicine” described at page 153, and dragging it on the line of the traps. Any mink which crosses this trail will follow it to the first trap, when he will, in all probability, be captured. A dead muskrat, crow, fish, or a piece of fresh meat dragged along the line answers the same purpose. The beaten tracks of the mink may often be discovered, and a trap set in such a track and covered with leaves, dirt or the like, will often be successful.