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Ferrit Hunting- another oldie of mine :D
Posted by: Royal
Date: October 05, 2014 10:06PM
Years ago, I used to hunt quite a bit. Deer, Pheasant, rabbit, partridge, woodcock and squirrel were all I thought about come late summer. I sorta got away from it now, mainly because of time constraints. I am just interested in too many things. No time for all of it.

I worked with a guy, from Canada. He and I used to do a lot of small game hunting. We didn’t have a dog at that time, so it was mostly jump hunting. We got lots of exercise but few rabbits.

I was never much of a shot, if I had time to aim. If I was in heavy brush and a Partridge or Woodcock flushed, he was in trouble. I was deadly if I didn’t have time to aim the gun! If I was in an open field and a pheasant came up at my feet he was one lucky sucker as chances were, he was safe from my shotgun. I guess I was what is called, an instinct shooter. Or dumb luck, if you prefer.

If I jumped a rabbit it was dead,unless it was an open field and I might as well save my ammo. I just wasn’t worth a diddly on the easy shots.

Art, my Canadian buddy, would talk about rabbit hunting with a ferret. I had never heard of such a thing but he swore that he and his hunting buddy, Teen was his name. Now how the hell I remember his name is beyond me. Anyway, Art said that there favorite place to hunt was where a new road was being put in. There were lots of brush piles, along the right-of-way and they were usually full of rabbits. He said they had more than one 40 rabbit days. Now I knew how Canadians lie. Horrible people don’tcha know, nothing like us honorable Americans.

I told him in the nicest way I could that he was full of crap. We would argue about it and one day he said he was going home and would bring a ferret back to prove his story. They were illegal as hell over here in Michigan, 500-dollar fine for even owning one let alone hunting with one! They are sold in the pet shops now but you could not own them back then.

I asked him how he would get it across the border and he said it was no problem. He took the liner out of a large thermos and would put the little guy in it. Art had a half dozen kids and they were all about a year apart. Seemed like anyway. They were hellions! I am not sure that he even knew how many there were. They never stood still enough to count.

Art said, as he neared the border check points he would tell the kids to start raising hell and crying and just be as normal as possible. They would come up to the guard, in that piece of crap Henry J. he had, with the kids all squalling and his wife a slappin’ the crap out of them and him a yelling at them and the ferret a scratching like hell to get out of the jug. The more the ferret scratched the more hell the kids raised. They were well trained little darlings! At least as smugglers.

They would pull up and the guard would ask them their citizenship, they would tell them Canadian (as if he could not tell) and he would pass them through. Never a problem Art said. Those guards just didn’t ever want to deal with the monsters and he always got a pass.

Art and wife and monsters went over for the weekend and when he got back on Sunday he gave me a call. He had the thing home and we were a going hunting!

I went over to his house, not knowing what the heck to expect, as I had never seen a ferret. If I had seen a picture of one, I didn’t remember. He brought the little guy in the room and handed it to me. Dang the thing was not very big. Half the size of a squirrel, but it was a young one, he said. It was pure white, an albino he said and I was to find out it was very common.

The thing looks like a big weasel or ermine, well a weasel and an ermine are the same, I guess but that is what it looked like. Stunk like a damn goats ass but that is natural for them. Sorta a skunk smell and it gets worse when they get wet. Stink pretty bad when they are thrown on the damn floor too, I am here to tell you, but that is getting ahead of myself.

This little guy was cuter than a speckled pup! It was very playful and full of hell. The thing was about 10 inches long and looks like a damn furry snake. I say that because the darned things don’t hardly have any legs. Sorta like a hairy lizard. The things will dance on the floor with its mouth agape like it was bad but they are sissies. Yah right!  The remind me of a hairy inch-worm, the way they all get all hunched up and a dancing. One hell of a mouth full of nasty teeth, is what they got!

The thing would get up on the couch, which with two-inch legs is no easy feat to crawl up on the arm. This is where I start a thinking they are a bit stupid. The arm of the couch is a foot and a half from the floor. That thing has two-inch legs. It is 10 inches long, not counting the tail. Now this little guy gets on the arm and starts a dancing and acting like he is gonna jump. Now there is not dang way he was gonna do that cuz it would be a crash landing when he hit. Phony little sucker was a faking it, I’m a thinking.

I am a laughing and a looking and the little guy does a swan dive off the couch. I could not believe it as it hit the floor like a damn accordion! Folded plums up like a bag of snot, I will tell you. He would shake his head and do his little mouth gaping dance and head for the couch again for another dive. It looked like a damn Gardner snake doing a half gainer!

They really are a lot of fun and have personalities much like an otter. It is hard to believe just how bloodthirsty they can be on the hunt. They will crawl up your chest and go under your shirt and start a searching for rabbits. Now I had never seen the thing hunt for a rabbit at that point, or I probably would have been a little worried about his nosing around, if you know what I mean.

He seemed to like my ears. He would stick his long pointy nose in there and sniff around. That was ok until the little sucker snorted. Dang ferret snot in the ear sucks!  Then it would nose around under my collar until he could get his nose in and I found that if they can get their nose in, their whole body follows close behind. It sorta feels good until they turn around and get claws against skin. Their toenails are a good half inch long and they get to burrowing in your armpit and it ain’t a good thing.

Art had a cat. Big ol’ Tomcat and while the ferret was loose, Art let the cat in the house. Boy things got exciting when the cat saw the ferret. He went after that little guy like a shot and the ferret was just as fast. The ferret headed for the bookcase, which was raised off the floor about 2 inches. That was plenty of room for the ferret but the cat was stopped. The cat backed off about three feet and just lay down and waited. For a bit nothing happened. We watched. I was afraid the cat would kill the ferret and I would not see it hunt.

Finally, the ferret stuck its head out and just lie there and stare at the cat. This was one big arsed cat, I’ll tell you that! Ferret would just lie there and look at Cat, it’s nose a sniffin’ the air. I saw the cats tail start it’s twitching and knew it was about to attack. I looked at Art and he just smiled.

The cat lunged at the ferret and of course, all he had to do is duck back in. Cat was no dummy though. He lay on his side and with his paw, started raking back under the bookcase to drag the ferret out. All of a sudden the cat let out a horrible squall and jumped back, shaking the heck out of his, just bit paw. Man he could not figure this out! Little sucker just wasn’t showing no respect it seems. The ferret had chawed down on the cat’s paw but the cat just didn’t seem to want to pay the proper respect to the little guy.. Back the Cat went again, with the same result, I might add. Cat squalled and jumped back, all hunched up like and the ferret just popped his nose back out and stared.

The cat was @#$%& now. He backed off and lay down again and was in a killing mood. Ferret done messed up this time! Out comes the ferret’s head again and he just lay down and stared at the cat with the cat staring at him and me staring at them. That cat was trying to figure the little long rat out.

I figured the ferret was in trouble now. There must have been a mind game going. All of a sudden, the ferret crawls out from under the case and the cat froze. I stared in wonder. The ferret didn’t hesitate and trotted right up to the cat like he wasn’t there and crawled right across him! Right across his chest! Cat didn’t know what to do, he just lay there froze and stared that this little arrogant ferret. Ferret just trotted off, at least the best imitation of a trot a short legged ferret could do and went about his business. The cat just watched him and it looked like all the wind had been taken out of him. I will tell you the truth, that cat never bothered that ferret again. It was as if the ferret knew he could kick the cats ass and so did the cat. I am sure the cat could have done a job on him but the cat didn’t know it! A ferret knows no fear that I ever saw.

Art gave me a few lessons on hunting with a ferret. Number one, you don’t let anyone see you with the thing. Other hunters will turn you in, as they should, because you can clean out the rabbits in a given area with a couple of them. At that point I found that a little far fetched but it was his story.

The way you hunt with a ferret is sorta exciting. We would carry him in that thermos until we needed him. It is best after a fresh snowfall as you can see what holes contain rabbits, by the tracks. We had to be careful because as bad as the little suckers are, a fox or mink can really mess them up. Mink are from the same family and are vicious little turds! We would walk the woods and swamps looking for sign of recent activity.

When we found a likely spot, such as a hole with a few fresh tracks or a large brush pile with fresh tracks going in, we would take the ferret out and just drop him down the hole. If it was a brush pile, one of us would release it in the top and then we would stand at the ready and the little sucker worked it over.

The great thing about a ferret is it is a natural hunter and will attack anything it finds. It might weigh a pound or two but mine attacked my German Shepard with every intention of killing it and eating it!  Too damn ornery to know it could not do it and the Shepard wasn’t sure either! I came home with a bunch of dead rabbits one day and the ferret was on the kitchen floor. I pulled the rabbit out of my pouch and told the wife to watch the ferret’s reaction. I shook the rabbit down near him and he went nuts. Hissing and his hair stood out and made him look twice as big as he is. He was a lunging at the rabbit and just all upset.

Tammy, our Shepard came in the room and the ferret saw her. She ran to the dog and the dog froze. Ferret worked its front up Tammy’s left front leg and grabbed her by the throat. Tammy like to have gone nuts. She was running and squalling and ferret was a holding on. My wife was a little protective of Tammy and that didn’t help my mood much. She was a raising hell with me and the dog was a going nuts and the ferret could not figure out why the dog would not die so he could eat it.

I tackled the dog in a corner and held her down. Now when you try to pull a ferret off anything, you do not just pull it off. Those guys have teeth like you can’t imagine! You pull it off and you might break the teeth off or at least you will make a pretty bad wound on the critter it is a biting. What you have to do is hold onto it and watch for it so loosen up for a better grip. When that happens, you jerk it away.

Now that is what I did this time. I am holding the dog down and got my hand on the ferret, watching its teeth for my chance. Carol, my wife was a raising hell all this time about my nasty ferret hurting her poor baby! Heck! I thought I was her baby,  Heck I was doing the best I could! HAA

I finally got my chance and pulled the ferret off the dog. I swung around and tried to hand it to my wife. Now I didn’t know she knew all them there words but it sure wasn’t lady like if you ask me. She told me what I could do with the ferret and I was shocked! It sounded a bit on the perverted side if you ask me!

Back to the hunt! We took up the jug with the ferret and our shotguns and headed out. I really cannot remember the first hunt but I will describe a typical one. We would usually head to a swampy and hilly area, where we had seen a bunch of sign on previous hunts. The rabbits like to hole up in banks and brush piles are favorites.

I was a newbie at this and followed Arts lead. We headed out and when we scouted a place to hunt, we made sure no other hunters were in the area. We didn’t want to get busted you know. We would drive around the area and if there were no cars parked, we would stop and head out.

We checked the banks and watched for tracks. If we saw a fresh run we would follow it. They would usually end up at a hole or pile and then we would bust out the ferret. He is always ready.

Like I said, Art liked to carry the thing in a thermos but when I got my own, I had my wife sew a zippered pocket on the inside of my coat and I carried it there. Hidden real well and it kept him nice and warm but It could get exciting when I had a couple of dead rabbits in my carry pocket. He would smell them and was a pain in the arse all day, trying to get at them, growling and snarling and clawing at the coat.

Art gave me a yell and said he had found a hole. It had snowed that morning and was a bit cold so the rabbits were holding up pretty tight to the holes. I could see where the little guy had come out and looked around and then went back under ground. Art said it was perfect.

He told me to stand off a bit and be alert. There was no telling where the bunny would come out but for sure it would be wide open as it hit the sun, with the ferret on its arse. I cannot really say the ferret is on its arse as there is no way a ferret is gonna catch a rabbit down a hole or in a brush pile, if it has an escape route. They are just not fast enough. If they get one cornered the sure can kill it and it is bad, as they won’t come back out. They just stay down until the eat the rabbit. It takes a while for a two pound animal to eat a 5 pound animal!. I had it happen and lost a ferret that way.

It is amazing how agile a ferret is. I have put them down chipmunk holes and they have no problem with them, they can even turn around in the tunnel. I have heard of people using them to flush out fox! A fox could make short work out of them as they are small but it is instinct for any animal in a burrow to flee anything that comes after it. They don’t seem to do any weight checks when they hear something coming, they just run.

I stood off a way and watched Art as he released the Ferret. I guess some people keep them on a tether but we never did. Art said they could get tangled up down there and you would never get it back if it did. It would just starve. Without a tether you ran the risk that it would catch something and never come back but I would rather have that happen, at least it would live.

He dropped the ferret in the hole and we stood back and waited, me not knowing what was next. I watched the hole that he dropped him in. Art was looking all over the place and I looked to see what he was interested in. All of a sudden he yelled, “There it goes! There are two!”

I looked the direction he was looking and there were two rabbits a highballing it out of the area. I could not see the ferret but they weren’t a lookin’ back. I was so stunned that I didn’t even get off a shot. I can’t remember if Art did or not.

He walked to the hole that the rabbits busted out of and just hunched down and waited for the little guy. It wasn’t long before he came out a sniffing the air. I don’t really think they can see worth a damn either. Art just reached down, with gloved hand and picked him up, petted him a little and put him in the thermos.

We next came to a big brush pile. It was typical of the piles in our area, about 6 or 7 ft high and maybe 20 or 25 ft in diameter. We walked around it and saw there were a number of entrances. Looked good! I took the ferret jug and climbed to the top of the pile, also toting the shotgun.

I found a position that I felt secure and looked around. Heck I could see the whole area from up there and could probably get a clear shot, anywhere they came out. Art was standing off to one side and he said he was ready. I opened the thermos and dumped the little guy into the top of the pile, right at my feet. He was ready to hunt and started down.

I could not see him but I could hear him working. Actually I could hear the rabbits moving around down there. Jeeesh, it sounded like a bunch of them but there was no way to tell. Art said that they would not flush as easily out of a pile as they can avoid the ferret for a while. Not forever though. There sure was a lot of bumping and banging going on though and it was getting worse. He had them worked up! 

All of a sudden it was like a flush of quail! Art yelled, “There they go! There they go!” and he wasn’t a kiddin’! There seemed to be rabbits everywhere. It looked like the pile was the hub of a wheel and the rabbits were spokes! They were going everywhere, at high speed and I was so rattled I don’t think I got off a shot. There must have been 6 or 8 going at the same time and it had me so excited I didn’t know where to shoot. I think I just plain forgot to shoot. Art didn’t though and dropped two of the things with two shots.

Now I got a Canadian lesson in field dressing a rabbit. Gross  I busted out my knife and prepared to gut the thing. Art said, “Hell that is the hard way! Lemme show you how it’s done.” He took the rabbit and held it in front of him, head up butt down. He had his right hand around its neck and the left tight below it. He squeezed with the left and held and then put the right below that and squeezed. He repeated it one more time and squershed the dang guts out like out of a toothpaste tube! Damn  it grossed me out but sure worked great. It took all of 5 seconds and he was gutted. Knowing him as a Canadian, I asked him if he wanted me to bag up the guts so he could take them home for dinner. I guess he had been over here long enough to take offence to the idea. How was I to know? 

That is pretty much the way it is, hunting with a ferret. It is a lot of fun but not very sportsman like. That winter we hit areas and damn near cleaned out the bunnies. The best day we had, that I can remember, is 13 bunnies. We stopped at that because they were getting pretty damn heavy!

I had them stacked in my freezer like cordwood and didn’t need any more. I actually started feeling a bit guilty. That is when I switched to the Mossburg 22 auto. I could easily hit the standing bunnies but with the ferret after them, there were no standing bunnies. When they were running, I just slung led at them and occasionally got one. I still got the fun of the hunt but didn’t kill many. It was exciting.

I eventually decided to get one of my own. There was a place in White Plains NY that sold them. Ferrets catch many of the diseases that plague humans and they are used in labs for experiments, it seems.

I called this old bag, Mable Consentene (and how I can remember her name is beyond me) and told her that I wanted a ferret. They were cheap back then, twelve bucks plus shipping I think. I told her they were illegal here in Michigan and I would appreciate it if she would call it a mink on the shipper. “Oh sure. No problem”, says she. She would ship it rail. I would be able to pick it up at the station, which is a couple miles from home.

I waited impatiently for it to arrive. A week or so later I received a phone call from the train station. The station agent said, “Your Ferret has come in! “ I like to have messed myself. Geesh, it was suppose to be marked mink! I told him that I would be right there to pick it up.

I had mixed emotions about then. I was excited with the idea of having my own ferret but was sure, I was gonna have a DNR agent there to slap me in cuffs and haul me off to jail, for the rest of my life. I sure could not afford a 500-dollar fine either.

I got to the station and was relieved to see there was no SWAT team waiting for me to pick up my ferret. Course this was before there were swat teams, I think. I went in and there the cage was, in plain sight, with “ LIVE ANIMAL-FERRET” stamped all over the thing! I could have killed the ole bag. Anyone named Mable had to be an old bag in my book, about that time.

I walked up and claimed my ferret and was sure the station agent was an FBI agent working undercover. I am happy to tell you that the guy was not there to lock me up, and I claimed my package and headed for home. I can honestly say that I did watch my rear view mirror all the way home though.

I still had not see the thing, as the holes in the box were too small to see into. I was prepared for the little guy though. This one had not been played with and was apt to be a bit on the wild side. I had a pair of the thickest welders gloves I could get my hands on. Those guys had sharp teeth and I did not want to get chawed on.

I took it in the living room of our small house and with gloves on, preceded to pry the cover off. My wife was right there being a typical woman, don’t ya know. Don’t you think you ought to do that in the garage? Do you think it will bite you? What you gonna do if it gets loose? All that girley stuff that they find to worry about. Geesh it must be terrible to worry all the time.

I tolt her I knew what the hell I was doing and it was only a little tiny guy, just off his mamas teat! What the heck could he do anyway? I was prepared with the welders gloves and was the MAN!!  Back off woman and let a man do his man thing.

She didn’t see things quite the same way but backed off with a smug grin. What the hell did she have, to grin about? She always had that superior grin when I was about to do something she thought was stupid. What did she know? She was just a girl 

I slowly prized the lid off, little at a time so he could now jump out on me. The top came off and there he was. Another albino, smaller that Art’s had been as it was just weaned. He was about twice or three times as big as a chipmunk, which is pretty small.

He just crouched there, looking up at me with them pink eyes, sorta with a sad look like he thought I was his mama.

I was cooing and talking to the little guy, as I reached in for him. He was as gentile as could be. I held him up to my wife and smiled. He just hung limp in my hand and looked around. I said, “See? Ain’t he a cute little sucker?”

Bout then the little SOB bit down on my damn finger and buried his damn teeth half way to the damn bone. The welder’s glove didn’t even seem to slow him down! I was a squalling like a mashed cat and my wife was laughing like she was of her right mind and the damn little ferret was planning to hold on until I died!

I slung the little turd at the floor, pretty hard I figure as he was hooked on pretty tight. He hit the floor and lay there. He tried to get up and it looked like his back was busted. Front legs up and back all hangy down like. Then the smell came! Damn! They got scent glands exactly like a skunk and it smells the same. It was horrible!

Hhahahah. Now the little wifey weren’t doing no laughing. Since it was November the house was closed up tight and that damn thing had the house a reeking. My eyes were a watering and my wife was squalling and the damn 12 dollar ferret that I only had 30 minutes had a busted back and I was not gonna get any loving for the rest of the year!

I looked down at the little sucker and he was a dragging himself on the floor. I didn’t know for sure what to do to help him, so I lifted my booted foot to squersh him. Couldn’t have him suffer and I sure the hell weren’t a gonna pick the darned thing up again. Carol, my wife and the person that was making all the noise about then, yelled not to squersh it on her carpet! Gee, did she think I was that stupid?  I rethought the plan and told her I was just gonna scoot it out on the porch and squersh it there. I don’t thing I fooled her though.

All of a sudden he managed to get his back feet under him and started a hobblin’ away. Geesh, he had a close call. He was about to become a Frisbee but he got a repreve. I retched down and sorta scooted him into the cage without getting bit on again.

I had a cage prepared in the garage, I probably should have opened the box in the garage but I never thought about that. I took him out and put him in it.

Carol was still a raising cane in the house. She was a yelling about, I better get my arse in there and open the doors and windows as she thought she was a gonna puke or something. I told her not to open the doors because it was cold out and I didn’t want to heat the whole world! Cost me too much money. After all, I was not made of money and I had just spent 12 bucks on a ferret, plus shipping. That argument didn’t seem to hold much water with her, about then. I told her that it stunk too bad in there for me . That sorta set her off again. 

I had the ferret all that year and into the next winter. I had many hunts with the little guy. In the summer I would throw bread out on the back lawn and shoot starlings with my pellet guy. I would feed them to the ferret so he would like the wild meat. I did the same thing with a sparrow hawk I raised up but that is another story.

Ferrets are a lot of fun. I finally lost mine when it caught a rabbit down a hole, during a blizzard. I spent 4 hours out there trying to coax the little guy out but he wasn’t buying that. I finally just gave up and left it.

End of story 


Now that I stopped laughing , I can type! :rofl: Great Story
Posted by: Ron J
Date: October 06, 2014 10:07AM
As usual Royal!! Those little buggers, like to steal and hide things also. Never had one myself.. Best laugh I have had in a long time!!

Re: Man, that was funny.
Posted by: RustyNTX
Date: October 06, 2014 10:49AM
Never hunted with a ferret, but did catch one that was someone's pet that escaped. They are a lot of fun but do have a skunk odor. By the way, skunks make "special" pets, too.

That was fun! :clapping:N/T
Posted by: Wayne in BC
Date: October 06, 2014 09:12PM

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A liar will assume you are lying

Re: Ferrit Hunting- another oldie of mine :D
Posted by: mudpuppy
Date: October 07, 2014 06:12AM
Excellent! :rofl: That's certainly publishable just the way it is!:clapping: I was smiling and laughing and shaking my head all the way through it!:lmfao:

It reminded me of the time I got bit by a weasel, that was on the day I shot 3 wild dogs with my bow as they were running a deer, I was on foot stalking along a little creek and that deer nearly ran me down! Here come those dogs hot on its trail, all mangy and wild no collars, I shot a recurve fast and instinctive and really unloaded on them, as the dust settled, I waded into that little creek to go get one of my arrows and for some reason a little weasel jumped in to swim across...Now thinking back after reading your ferret story, maybe the weasel was chasing the dogs!
Anyway, not thinking like usual, I took an arrow and sort of spun the little guy in circles, like stirring a pot of beans, until he seemed to be sort of tired out, then I figured I'd scoop him up and put him on the bank to let him go, I had enough killing for one day and was feeling all Grizzley Adamsish, as my adrenaline had dropped back to a normal level...

He sat in my cupped hand all soaked and pitiful looking as I gave him a ride to shore, then, when I placed my hand on the shore, he climbed out and turned around and instead of thanking me, bit down on the end of my finger! I was so surprised! I briskly shook him off like a painful toothy booger! I squeezed my finger, and blood shot out of all those tooth holes like a damned yard sprinkler!

That's a great story there Royal! Keep them coming!:please:

Nasty words, and suggestive post.

Re: Ferrit Hunting- another oldie of mine :D
Posted by: Larry (IL)
Date: October 07, 2014 06:14AM
Thanks for the laugh Royal, never knew you could hunt with them.

Bells and whistles are nice, but nothing will substitute for the basic understanding of the hobby.

:minelab: CTX 3030

Re: Ferrit Hunting- another oldie of mine :D
Posted by: Royal
Date: February 13, 2015 02:52PM
Hahahahaha I just got back here and read your post! :clapping: now that is funny! Those little suckers can bite for sure


thanks buddy :)N/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: February 13, 2015 02:54PM

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I have had a couple pet skunksN/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: February 13, 2015 02:55PM

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