The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

February 22, 2013

Minks make the great outdoors even better

I was about 11 or 12 when I saw my first mink. It was in the spring and I was fishing up the road in the Harrison Creek for some brook trout.

As I drifted a nice, fat nightcrawler down through a riff into a deeper pool, I noticed some movement to my right. A small, brownish-black animal was ducking in-and-out of a hole in the creek bank.

I stayed perfectly still and watched it for several minutes. Finally, the little animal crossed the creek and disappeared around the bend.

An old-timer in the house across the way told me it was a mink. I actually saw it several more times that summer as I swam and fished in the brook. One day I caught several horned dace, a large minnow that inhabited that creek. I left them in a pile where I had previously seen the mink. They were gone in the morning.

The mink is the most popular semi-aquatic carnivore in the area. It seems that wherever there is water, there are mink.

A mink has a long, sleek body up to two feet long, including its tail. It also has short, stubby legs, a long neck and a rounded head with small ears and beady eyes. They have partially webbed feet and are probably more agile in the water than they are on land. They vary in color from dark brown to black, with a white or yellow bib on their chest.

Mink eat muskrats, rabbits, mice, fish, snakes and birds. They usually kill small mammals by biting their prey in the neck or the back of the head. Mink chase their meals with a bounding motion but swim with an undulating movement of their bodies.

I was driving back from Stamford one day and passed a strange animal in the road on a bridge not far from Butts Corner. It had been hit by a car. The animal was pale in color, so I stopped and walked back. It was a light tan – almost blond – mink.

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Rick Brockway

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