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Furbearer Guide

Small Game
Big Game

Trapper's Manual

Trapping Weasels

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During mid-winter when snow cover is likely and weasels are active - tracks in the snow are the best evidence of this secretive animal's presence. Weasels normally travel with a loping gait that produces a paired set of small parallel tracks 8 to 15 inches apart. The hind feet often land in the tracks made by the smaller front feet.

Weasels have no fear of humans and don't recognize traps for what they are, and hence are easy to trap. The best furs occur in mid-winter and sets described for skunk and opossum will also take weasels. Investigating holes is instinctive behavior, which makes the "weasel box" an excellent set. It will take weasels wherever they occur. It is also safe to use in the chicken house when an invading weasel has to be removed. Fresh meat is very attractive weasel bait. However, it will attract dogs and other larger animals, so a weight on top of the box may be necessary to prevent it from being overturned.

Nos. 0 and 1 will hold weasels easily. However, there is an advantage to using a No. 1 1/2 trap, set with a hair trigger. It is likely to catch the animal across the shoulders and kill it quickly. If you use a cubby or hollow log set, the No. 1 1/2 trap will also hold a raccoon if one should happen by. Be sure, too, that the trap wire and stake are strong enough to hold a larger animal. An ordinary, wooden base snap rattrap will take weasel. If the trapped weasel is still alive, a rap on the base of the skull with a stiff stick will dispatch it quickly. However, be careful not to get blood on the fur, since it is very difficult to remove and decreases the value.

Weasel Sets

The "weasel box" is the popular set for this furbearer. It is weather, dog, cat, and poultry proof. It is a simple box without a bottom, preferably made from old weathered boards. There are no exact size requirements. Inside measurements of approximately 15 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 6 inches deep make a good box.

Cut a two-inch hole in one end of the box. Boxes can be put out in advance and pre-baited with grain to attract mice (a natural bait). Fresh meat can be placed in the rear of the box with the trap in front of the bait. There should be enough tension on the trigger so a mouse can't spring the trap but light enough that the weasel will set it off.

Some dry dirt in the bottom will provide a trap bed and keep the trap jaws from freezing in wet soil during thawing and freezing periods. Be sure the box is deep enough inside so the trap jaws or the spring of a rattrap will clear the top of the box. Hollow log sets and cubby sets are also very effective for taking weasels.

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