Mink hunting occurs through Spring and Summer. Terrier men may be present in case a mink goes into hiding. Mink are sometimes shot out of trees. Trees are even cut down with mink hiding in them.

Otterhounds are still present in some packs – hounds will not differentiate between killing a mink or protected otters or water voles.

It is illegal to hunt mink with a pack of dogs. Mink hunters might say they are ratting. It is not illegal to kill rats but it is illegal to damage the habitat of protected animals under The Wildlife and Countryside act 1981.

Otters were hunted to extinction in some parts of England and otter hunting became outlawed in England and Wales in 1978. Hunts turned to the American mink which escaped or were released by fur farmers.

Mink / otter hunters use large poles to bash undergrowth along rivers to scare out their quarry. The hunts can leave a scene of devastation, the large hounds charging along the river banks add to this. Riparian dwelling birds are sent flying, their nests and chicks put in danger. Hunt staff will wade through water to seek out their prey and encourage hounds. You might hear horn calls.

Mink cannot compete for territory against increasing otters and beavers (another animal that humans hunted to extinction in the 16th c) and mink numbers are falling. The mink population was 105,650 in 1989 down to 20,500 in 2016.

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