Worth posting an update on the ermine which made an appearance in the stack of logs at the beginning of the week. True to form, it was curious enough to come back for a look at the damage that I had done to its nest and was not put off by the fact that I had taken the entire pile of logs away. The next morning, the trap was found to have sprung. Pulled out to the furthest extent of the chain, it lay empty just inside the tunnel. This happens very occasionally, and I never really know what it means. Sometimes you find that your trap has sprung and it has missed its target altogether. I imagine that this is normally done by mice or female weasels which are either small enough to dodge the jaws or are flung out of the mechanism as it springs and avoid being caught because the roof of the tunnel was too high up.
Only two or three times out of the hundreds of weasels and dozens of stoats I have caught while working up on the Chayne has the trap appeared to have caught something which then escaped. These are sound, decent machines and they either kill outright or miss altogether. What I don’t know is what has happened to the stoat. It’s not a very nice loose end, and while I assume that it is probably dead, I would much rather have picked it up and known it for certain. It doesn’t matter that it was an ermine and would have been interesting to see – what matters is that the job was only partly done.