This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
Although smaller than the polecat, the stoat is very swift and active, cunning and cruel, usually contenting itself by sucking the blood of its prey. It is so active that it requires a smart dog to catch it, and will fight vigorously till killed, trying to fix the dog by the nose with its teeth. It is difficult to kill, often getting away when hit hard with shot. Destructive to game, especially ground game and poultry, it is vermin to the game-preserver and poultry-farmer, while to the forester, grazier, and gardener it is regarded as among the deadliest and most persevering enemies of small rodents. Albeit, the stoat's visits to a henroost and dovecote entirely transforms the friend into the enemy, and the opinion of doing quite as much good as harm changes to doing some good, but not nearly sufficient to counteract the harm.
Fig. 82. - Run-trap in Improved Drains.
The best way to take the polecat and stoat is to make false drains as described under weasel, using a Run-trap, Fig. 82, supplied by Mr. H. Lane, Eagle Works, Wednesfield, Staffordshire, with 2½ in. or 3 in. jaws. By the side of a brook or ditch is a good locality for placing these traps, no covering or bait being required. As both the polecat and stoat take up their abode in holes in rocks or an old burrow, traps should be set at the mouth, or so far in as can be reached to peg the trap down. This will prevent foxes from getting foot in the trap, though from the small" ness of the jaw of run-traps foxes are insured against serious injury should they spring the trap, even the Small Dorset Vermin Trap, which, though designed for the capture of stoats, weasels, etc., is largely in demand for rabbit catching in fox-hunting districts. This trap (supplied by Mr. H. Lane) has 3 in. jaws, and is fitted with brass catches.