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Know Your Quarry.

Jay Foxing

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Hi all,

Was saving this one until i gathered a bit more info, but here you go.


The North American Mink (Mustela vison).


The mink is an introduced species. American mink were originally introduced for fur farming in the late 1920s to be bred for the fur trade, with around 700 mink farms in the UK in the 1960s. Increasingly tough legislation gradually saw the end of the mink farm business. Breeding confirmed in the wild in by 1957, with escapes and deliberate releases during the 1960s and 70s increasing their numbers to such numbers that mink have now spread throughout the country.


From tip of its nose to the base of its tail a male (dog) mink is approx 24” in length and about 2.25lb in weight, female (bitch) mink are approx 20” long and about 1.25lb in weight. We can then add another 5-8” for its tail, this is quite a large animal. Mink are generally a rich dark brown colour with or without white markings to its undercarriage.




Found in most parts of mainland Britain, except the Lake District and the mountains of Scotland. Choosing to live near rivers, lakes and marshes, needing several miles for a territory. Males having a larger territory than females. Mink are strongly territorial, and a male will not allow another male on its patch, although females are occasionally tolerated. In a territory a mink will have several dens – tree roots, hollow trunks or rock piles, as long as it’s near the waters edge they will find it comfortable. Mink are drawn to water, even when traveling they choose to follow streams or drainage ditches. They will travel short distances across open land when hunting, but only for a few hundred yards or so. Mink mark the territory with droppings (scats), they are tapered and twisted, dark in colour (not too dissimilar to a foxes, only smaller).




The mink mating season starts around March. The actual gestation period is 39 days, although can 76 days due to delayed implantation. 48 days being the average gestation period. A female can have five or six young, known as kits. Only one litter a year, and the male takes no part in rearing the young. The kits remain with the mother until the autumn when are fully grown. They then go off to find territories of their own.




Mink are generalist predators of the water’s edge, feeding on fish and frogs, moorhens and ducks, rabbits and rats. Will also raid farmers and keepers bird stocks, and can have a mass killing spry once inside a pen. Fisheries have good reason to dislike the mink, they can make a large dent in fish stocks. In my opinion this animal does not belong to this country. This puts it alongside the grey squirrel, only complete eradication in the British Isle will do. And yes I already know, this is an almost impossible task.


Thanks again for reading,


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Good write up Jay, we have these buggers round my way and they are a pain in the arse around chickens etc, I have only ever managed to shoot a couple of them but some other guys trap them.

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I have shot a few with a .22LR, little perishers rarely stand still, I had one run up the lamp beam to me one night, he won't do that again.


Very destructive on all ground game but a tunnel trap near water can be quite effective.



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  • 1 month later...

Just one correction, they are very present in the lake district, there were two mink farms near me in the 70s at Stavely and Bowness and both had escapes and releases by antis. I have shot plenty with the 22 and shotgun.

I sometimes sit out in the early evening on the banks of the Ribble here and pot them with the rimmy, 222 and now the 17 rem and the relatives are quite happy to tuck into the remains, which gives another shot or two, best to be 100yds plus then the bang doesnt scare them.

If the government had the will, we could get shut, remember the Coypu :huh: , but this lot dont care about the country anyway.


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