The weasel is the trappers smallest furbearer. They may not be as glorious as fox or mink, but they are just as rewarding to capture. Weasels love to dine on mice, rats, rabbits and birds and account for heavy poultry losses. Pound for pound, they are the most ruthless and vicious killer of all the furbearers. one of the best weasel sets is by using a weasel box.
Construction of a weasel box:
Measurements for a weasel box may vary in size due to the available lumber at hand. Generally, 3/4 or 1 inch thick boards work well. Boxes should be constructed of old or weathered lumber. Dilapidated barns or out buildings will yield enough material. If new lumber is used, redwood or cedar will last a lifetime. Place boxes made of new lumber outside for awhile to get a weathered look prior to using.
General inside measurements are: 16 inches long / 5 to 6 inches wide / 5 to 6 inches high (these are inside measurements) Drill a 2 inch diameter hole in each end. The hole should be 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the bottom. Use galvanized nails or screws to attach boards. (exact measurements are not important, your boxes may vary)
Make the weasel boxes with no floor, this will enable you to bed and stabilize traps easily. A board is laid on the top for a roof. The roof is usually 4 inches longer than the box. This will give a 2 inch overhang to protect the entry holes from foul weather. Place a large stone on roof, this will prevent coon or dogs from uncovering your box.
Trap sizes used for weasels are the #0 longspring, #1 longspring, #1 underspring, #1 coilspring and the #1 1/2 longspring. (*Note, if the #1 1/2 longspring is used, your box will have to be built larger.)
Two traps will be used per box, one inside each hole. Position trap so that the weasel will step between the jaws of the trap. Place trap pan as close as possible to the entry holes. The traps don’t need to be covered since the weasel is not trap shy. Make sure the traps are placed so they don’t wobble.
To fasten trap chains, hammer two large fence staples to the inside of the box. Use a quick link or split ring to connect chain to staple.
Weasels are very quick and light footed. To achieve faster action/response from these little traps, file the trigger end and pan notch. Square these areas up, while removing burrs and rust. The end result will be a fast, clean action when the pan drops under this light footed predator. Always set trap on hair trigger.
Any fresh bloody meat is a good bait for weasels. These include mink, muskrat, rabbit, and chicken. Also, weasel carcasses are good bait. Use a good weasel lure with the combination of bait, this will increase your catch. Place bait and lure in the center of the box.
Place weasel boxes out before season (without traps) and place a handfull of cracked corn or bird feed inside. Put the roof on. This feed will attract mice and the weasel will be sure to follow.
Location is the most critical aspect of trapping. Weasels are preyed upon by owls, hawks, mink, bobcats, feral cats and foxes. Weasels will be found in or near heavy cover. Place your boxes at briar patches, stone fences, stone piles, old buildings, fence rows, brush piles, old log piles and any heavy cover.
Weasel boxes can be used to catch mice, rats and chipmunks. To remove the unwanted guests from your property, just replace weasel traps with baited mouse traps or rat traps. This set up can be used inside or outside and is pet proof!
The weasel is not our most popular furbearer, but they sure are fun to harvest. The black powder and buckskin trade use many of the weasel pelts. Ask around and you may open your own market for the pelts. Lure makers will buy the glands. There is also a market for weasel skulls.
Weasel lure is not advertised too much, but several lure makers have a limited supply in stock. Ask your lure dealer early.