Watching these trained mink hunt muskrats is very unique and great for keeping populations stable.
In this episode of HUSH, Eric meets up with Mink Man to hunt muskrats with the mink that he trained to hunt these small furbearers.
Joseph Carter, aka the Mink Man, is a trapper hired to hunt nuisance animals in Salt Lake Valley and beyond.
Animals like muskrats and beavers burrow in holes in the side of banks and canals that eventually cause erosion.
The canals are designed for agriculture irrigation, so one can imagine that it would cost farmers and cities a lot of time and resources if they needed to rebuild these canals.
The process is very interesting to watch. Joseph finds fresh sign from muskrats and releases his mink to run into the hole and catch the muskrat. Joseph will use the muskrat for their pelts. He also uses the muskrat meat each trapping season as a reward for the minks.
Joseph says it's also enrichment for the mink. They still get to hunt for their own food in the wild, but they get taken care of in captivity. In case you didn't know, mink are genus mustelids. That means they are members of the weasel family. They are also related to martens, river otters and badgers.
Most mink in North America don't grow very large, but don't let those short legs and hind feet fool you. They are fiercely territorial animals, especially during the breeding season. The home range of these animals extends over much of the United States. However, most people have never seen one because they are elusive.
At times they can be quite mischievous, too. In addition to muskrats, mink like to use their vision to prey on fish, birds, crayfish and whatever other small animals they can catch.
Hunting muskrats for Joseph takes the form of pest control when certain clients want him to remove the rodents. Rarely do mink get hurt when they catch the muskrat, however, sometimes it happens. Muskrats have giant teeth that can be dangerous.
At times, Joseph will even bring his dogs to help catch the muskrats if the mink loses the quarry in the heat of the chase.