We might have mink on the river that runs near our pheasant pen. What telltale signs would mink leave and what can we do about them?

JONNY CROCKETT replies: Mink love fresh meat. They are more than capable of taking waterfowl, pheasants, fish and rabbits. Often mink are slighted with mass destruction, but their mindset is that they kill as much as they can, thinking that they can come back at their leisure to eat whenever they want. It’s a little like us going to the supermarket and buying more than we need for a single day’s eating.

To check that it is mink, look for bite marks at the back of the neck. Mink also often stack their kills in a neat pile. They consider those piles to be their larders. Their prints are often star-like and very much smaller than those of an otter. They are not that much bigger than polecats. Also in their print you’ll get a gap between pads and toes. Their scat is thin and about 2-3 inches long. It may smell of fish depending on their diet.

Can you trap them? Yes, you can trap 
them in special mink cage traps. These are available for around £35-£40. Cover the cage with grass and leaves. Mink can’t stop themselves from investigating tunnels. My advice is to use a live trap until you have 100% identified it as mink. If you start trapping otters then you’ll get told off by a policeman and go straight to hell.