I recently had the opportunity to sit down with mink trapper Doug Bartlebaugh, from Western New York. Bartlebaugh is a lifetime member to the New York State Trapper’s Association as well as Erie and Cattaraugus County Trappers Associations.
Here’s what he as to offer about mink trapping.
Zysek/ON: How do you like to trap mink?
Bartlebaugh: I look for mink sign along creek banks. I look for good looking dry holes mink like to hunt in. Spring runs in fields. Small narrow streams as mink like to hunt these big time. Culverts along these are big mink attractors. Dry culverts can be very attractive to mink as well. I like trapping mink with body-grippers and lean towards them as I am predominantly a muskrat trapper.
Zysek/ON: Do you trap full time or part time?
Bartlebaugh: I trap part time.
I have trapped part time for 57 years.
Zysek/ON: What do you enjoy most about trapping?
Bartlebaugh: Muskrats are my favorite. Mink are a close second as they go hand-in-hand together. The best I’ve ever done is 26. ‘Best price I ever got on a mink was $45.
Zysek/ON: Do you prefer road trapping or walking lines for mink?
Bartlebaugh: Yes, I do prefer road trapping. The older I get the closer to the truck I like to stay. I am 68 years old.
Zysek/ON: Do you like to use lure when trapping mink?
Bartlebaugh: Yes, I like a good mink gland lure. I use bait for mink as well. I use fish and pieces of muskrat meat I have left over after skinning. I like bait in the back of pocket sets. I learned from Johnny Thorpe that chipmunks are often targeted by mink.
Zysek/ON: Did you take instructions on trapping from Johnny Thorpe.
Bartlebaugh: Years ago, I took an advanced course at Penn Yan. The instructors were Johnny Thorpe, Charles Dobbins, and Kermit Stearns. It was an all-day thing and I learned a lot about mink and mink trapping.
Zysek/ON: Do you prefer blind or baited sets for mink?
Bartlebaugh: I prefer blind sets for mink. Even dry, high water sets I’ll often set blind. Especially dry trails in the grass as they’re excellent mink sets.
Zysek/ON: Is mink trapping profitable?
Bartlebaugh: It all depends on the fur market. The last few years have been a little rough as prices haven’t been really good. Now, on years where they’re selling high, it can be very profitable.
Zysek/ON: What do you like most about mink trapping?
Bartlebaugh: I like the challenge of it. Whether I am trapping mink, muskrats, raccoons whatever, some days you are really hot and some days you’re not, no matter what you do.
Zysek/ON: Where do you like to trap the most?
Bartlebaugh: The Alabama swamps are one of my favorite places to trap. Some of the local places near home are really nice as well.
Zysek/ON: Do you find a lot of competition in mink trapping?
Bartlebaugh: Not as much anymore. The last few years, especially local, I’ll be the only guy trapping a stream. Competition doesn’t bother me very much. I let them worry about me instead of me worrying about them.