WORKING: Pitfalls - Some problems that can be faced whilst working ferrets.

Badger Sets

Due to the protection order on badgers their numbers are increasing dramatically and they are taking over lots of rabbit burrows on the land I have permission on. Even when there are Badgers and rabbits in the same burrow it is illegal to disturb them.

With both of the above problems it means many of the burrows which were good producers in years past now can not be ferreted, with the climate change which is upon us at the moment also means rabbits are breeding all year round, and fleas are staying active for longer periods, which in turn will bring about more cases of the dreaded myxomatosis

A rabbit warren occupied by rabbits and badgers.

Losing Ferrets

Take this quite easy looking rabbit warren with just two entrance holes but when your locator will no longer register at 15 foot you know your ferrets are deep underground.

sloping bank

This particular warren was once on the sloping bank of a field and was well inhabited with about 10 holes, that was until the farmer decided that he would level the field slightly by tipping a few ton of soil on top, raising the bank by some 7 or 8 foot in places assumabley the rabbits tunnelled out making two new entrances, although quite differently situated remain on top of a very large and extremely deep warren.

I usually work 2 or 3 ferrets together without any problems but this particular day one ferret failed to show and after about an hour, as this warren is deep I decided to try to locate her, but after a further 30 minutes of searching with the locator I realised she was well below the 15 foot depth. My two other ferrets had emerged and I boxed them up and played the waiting game for a further hour still unable to locate her, I then made the decision to block both holes up and carry on ferreting doing two more large warrens about 100 yards away in the hope on returning she would be either back to the surface or she would have moved and I would be able to locate her. On my return there was still no sign of her so I fetched my mink trap, which is kept in my Landrover for whenever I go ferreting.

I unblocked one of the entrances and set the trap using some liver and kidney out of a rabbit I then pushed the front end of the trap into the hole cut some turf and carefully buried it. As it dropped dusk I returned again to check the trap and spent a further 30 minutes trying to locate her with still no sign, at this point I knew I would be leaving her over night so lifted the turf and dropped a couple of good handfuls of shavings out of the carry box into the trap and replaced the turf.

Trap covered wth turf

The ferret was retrieved the following day.

I returned the following day after work, which was about 30 hours after she was last seen and to my relief found her curled up fast asleep in the trap.


Copyright 2004 Bob Bradury