Mink hunting with a dog

Minkjakt med hund.

As a complement to trapping minks, it's a pleasant form of hunting to chase them with your dog(s). Some minks are "trap-wise," meaning they don't enter traps, so your only chance to control the bird populations/nesting areas in your hunting area may be to hunt minks with dogs. Additionally, in my experience, female minks are more challenging to trap than males, making hunting minks with dogs even more important to keep the population down.

Weapons and Ammunition for Mink Hunting

Shotguns with an open choke are recommended since shot distances are usually short, with recommended shotgun sizes of US 6 or US 7. As much of the mink hunting terrain is classified as wetlands, it's often illegal to use lead ammunition, and steel shot is directly life-threatening due to the risk of ricochets. Environmentally friendly shot such as bismuth remains, but if you can often see the mink in stone dens and reach it with a pistol, a den revolver in caliber 5.6*15R is used for euthanasia as shotguns are unsuitable for firing in dens.

Equipment Necessary for Effective Mink Hunting

Swedish Army folding spade (avoid cheap imitations as they break easily).
Flashlight (preferably with adjustable intensity as too much light can blind at close range).
Den revolver caliber 5.6*15R. I use low-loaded 5.6*15R or 22 shorts.
Leaf blower (permission required from the county administrative board for use in mink hunting).
Pry bar, as the stones are too heavy for the crowbar. The pry bar is usually in the boat until needed.

The dogs have found the mink in a stone den. The leaf blower is started.

Mink Hunting with Dogs, What Does a Mink Den Look Like?

Mink dens are often piles of stones along the shorelines of varying sizes but can also be cavities in earthy ground or even hollow trees. Old bridge abutments and log driving arms are also popular shelters.

Mink hunting with dogs can be conducted from August 1st to April 15th, and as stated, hunting dogs suitable for their respective purposes may be used. My interpretation is that the dogs I train for and hunt minks with can also be used for this regardless of breed during the current hunting season. Generally, there is a dog ban from March 1st to August 20th.

Mink Hunting with Dogs, Choice of Dog Breed

A large number of different dog breeds work excellently for hunting minks with dogs. Everything from companion dogs to retrieving dogs, hounds, terriers, and spitz breeds.
You simply have to try the dog and see what it wants to do when it finds a mink and then evaluate if it is useful.

On the right side of the image, the mink is seen sneaking out of the den.

Mink Hunting with Dogs, Training the Dog

The easiest way is if you have the opportunity to accompany an already functioning mink hunting team and hunt minks, the training of your dog is usually handled automatically and quite quickly, and you can see if the dog wants to hunt minks or not when you have the result because the other team is there. My experience is that a few (2-4) mink contacts are enough to establish an interest in the dog, and then the quantity training (read: days in the forest) takes care of the rest.
If you do not have access to an established, well-functioning team, my recommendation is to focus on searching for minks with dogs, especially from the beginning of the hunting season, as young minks are inexperienced and not as cautious as later in the season.
If you are on or have access to islands, it is recommended to start there; there you have a little more control over the dog, which may not quite understand this with minks yet. Additionally, in my experience, minks often like islands. Otherwise, outlets/inlets in lakes or where rivers converge are hot tips.
If I were to search on a map without being known in the area, I would choose the islands with shallow bays and a lot of shoreline first; often, I have found more minks where there are several small islands in a group than one large island. If I also get knowledge that there are foxes on the island, I preferably choose the islands that do not have foxes if I can; I usually find fewer minks on fox islands.
Whether the dog takes mink tracks or searches for minks in the wind depends on the dog's instincts and, according to me, is not something I can influence more than hunting a lot with the dog so that it becomes good at finding minks regardless of search method.

Mink Hunting with Dogs, When the Dog Finds the Mink

Now, when you are standing by a small stone pile, and the dog shows interest in it, the most important thing is to find out if the mink is home or just has a food store there. To be completely honest, it's hard to know if the mink is home until it makes itself known with sound, scent, or visual observation.
The mink can emit a shrill screaming sound, especially if it gets irritated or stressed.
The scent is unmistakable as well. Something that reminds incredibly much of mink scent is black currant bush, so if you react to the smell of mink but no experienced dog reacts, it's black currant and not mink. When the mink gets scared/stressed, it can release its glands, which is usually noticeable.
If you see the dog changing places that it shows interest in sometimes, it is usually a good sign that the mink is home. If the interest fades slowly, it may mean that there is no one home, but the mink may also have just moved further into the den.
One of my tricks is usually to start by seeing if the dog follows voluntarily from there; if so, it's probably empty. If the dog, on the other hand, wants to stay, it usually means there is a mink at home.
I usually start by poking with a stick in the cavities

Leave a comment (all fields required)