How one man flavored became a YouTube star - The Irish Times

How one man flavored became a YouTube star – The Irish Times

It was late in the day for the liqueur out on Mill Creek, or at least the stretch that runs between a parking lot and a playground near the city’s southern border. But they, two of them, one big and one small, were paddling back and forth before each other like furry ships in the afternoon, seemingly unaware that they were being photographed.

“They’re so pretty, like little beavers,” says Maggie Carter, standing on the riverbank. She was holding a small video camera and was staring at her screen, which shows a narrow shot of the larger Musk.

Her husband, Joseph Carter – 37, with short blonde hair, black wading over jeans and a T-shirt – walked with a GoPro camera strapped to his chest, cage in hand.

“They must be messing with each other, they wouldn’t come out that way otherwise,” he says as he gently puts the cage down. Inside, an animal moved its head from side to side, circling the small space. You were an American named Boone. Joseph Carter, who was now opening the cage door, is among the nation’s unconventional mid-sized pest control professionals, known to his 1.3 million YouTube followers as Mink Man.

Muskrats hide in river banks, creating holes that can pose tripping hazards in a crowded lawn. But the poison would contaminate the water, and traps could pose a safety hazard. Plan C: Trained mink. Joseph Carter, who proposed the idea, is one of the few people who have trained a mink. muskrats, rats, raccoons, beavers, groundhogs – if your problem is big enough, feral enough, a mink may take care of it at no cost.

“Let’s sort this feud into shape,” he says, watching Boone, a black fur torpedo, glide underwater. With a ripple barely he hurried toward the elder musk, who started to row away hopelessly. Carter ran along the riverbank, his face lit up with energy. “Blessing!” He screams. “Here here here here here!”

The mink immediately switched directions – as if understanding – and approached its prey. Maggie Carter, running after her husband, tried to keep the video camera focused. “Do you get this?” Joseph Carter shouts at her. “Did you understand that?”

Train your mink

The Mink Man’s house is located at the end of a cul-de-sac in the outskirts of Salt Lake City. It’s full of life: three girls, a snake in the basement, an aquarium in the living room, ducklings in the sunroom, a rabbit in the girls’ bedroom and a sheep tied up in a shed in the courtyard. Four dogs roam the building looking for attention.

Outside is where the minks are kept, twenty of them. They live in large cages, lined up side by side, with deep buckets of water for swimming and tall limbs of trees along the sides of their climbing enclosures. Carter says: One cage for each individual animal – otherwise they will kill each other.

The American mink is a territorial and aggressive predator. They have sharp teeth, button eyes, and a body shape that calls to mind a chunky squirrel. But they are fast and agile, and their prey can include everything from fish and rabbits to birds and muskrats. Carter builds his cages with two layers of wire to keep baby’s fingers from slipping, and he “insulates” his yard with smooth fences and buries wire around the perimeter when he lets them out.

Carter grew up training animals. When he was nine, he raised a squirrel in a bottle; At the age of 15, he moved from his parents’ home nearby with his grandfather, who was a famous rodeo cowboy turned show horse trainer. There, he began training birds of prey. Towards the end of high school, he moved near a number of mink farms, where animals are raised for fur. I grew up curious.

“Everyone I asked has told me the same thing: ‘They are the most vicious and horrible animal alive,’” Carter says. “They are completely untamable, untrainable, and it doesn’t really matter what you do.”

Therefore, in 2003, he decided that he would begin to tame the mink. He succeeded quickly.

“He has that kind of influence with animals, even those that don’t know him,” his wife says. “Either they fear him or they respect him.”

In 2014, after a decade of trial and error, Joseph Carter published a 242-page book titled The New Sports of Minkenery: The Art of Dressage, Training, and Hunting with One of Nature’s Most Intense Predators. Citing his falconry experience, he detailed a number of techniques for controlling and caring for minks – and how much they should be fed; how to get them to listen to you; How to teach them to spool or bring back their prey.

When asked about his training methods, Carter offered some science and some intuition: start with a mink when he’s young, be sure to reward him when he’s obedient, and be patient. More than anything else, you should be a good watcher. What kinds of things motivate the animal? Does it have a strong “prey drive”? How confident is walking around? What kind of thing scares her?

“You can’t control, you can’t change an individual’s genes,” he says. “But you can, with the environment, change their view of life a little bit.”

In 2013, Maria Diez-Leon, a biologist at the Royal Veterinary College of London, was researching captive mink for her doctoral thesis. She and her colleagues have been trying to train minks to recognize certain patterns, without much success. “I think we weren’t smart enough to understand how mink perceived the cues we were giving them,” she says. “They are quite curious, and their attention span is very short.”

She found one of Mink Man’s videos on YouTube and sent it to her lab group. Carter was teaching one of his minks, Macy’s, to spool, using the magic bullet to train a mink: a string tied around a dead animal. He ran around his backyard bouncing a dead pigeon a few feet off the ground, chased Macy’s, leaped into the air until her teeth sank into the bird and pulled him into the cage.

“good girl!” Carter says, giving the mink a morsel of meat. Had he failed to bring the bird into the cage, he would have refused to play for half an hour or so as punishment. He quickly grabs another thread. Turning to the camera, he said, “Now, you get a second reward. She has to chase the mouse!”

Díez-León notes to her colleagues that their training tasks may have been too easy and their rewards too boring for Mink, who, she says, “learns quickly.” The group decided that the mink man’s techniques were superior. “We had no doubt that minks were able to learn; they are intelligent creatures.” “It was great to see that they could.”

The good mink life

Boone quickly caught Mill Creek liqueur. He wrapped his body around his prey, and together they formed a ball of wet fur: half black, half brown, yin and yang, life and death.

Carter splashes into the water to catch it, holding the desperate ball in front of him by the musk’s tail. He wrestles the prey from the jaws of a bun and serves a packet of ground meat. “Good job, Mr. Boone,” he says. Maggie Carter walks with her camera and zooms in on the dead image, now on her back and her feet in the air.

Menkenry’s book didn’t sell well when it was released, but that didn’t bother Joseph Carter. He was working as a financial advisor at the time, and his YouTube account, which he started in 2008 to document his mink, has been steadily growing. Around 2017, shortly after the birth of his first daughter, he and his wife decided he would quit his job and start working full time as a mink.

Five years later, the channel became an amalgamation of home videos focused on animals and hunting trips. His most famous videos, which have garnered tens of millions of views, are those with titles like “Mink vs Rat THUNDERDOME!!!” and “eRATication! Recording a pest control task with dogs!” is mixed with videos that, for example, document Boon breeding, starting when the mink was just two hours old. Carter’s eldest daughter can be seen kissing baby Boone on the head, or leading Boone into his cage. These have much fewer views.

YouTube views are directly related to how much Carter earns, as advertisers pay the company to promote it before his videos. The lucrative potential of interspecies encounters inspired him to build a small base of farms and public places where he could go hunting for mice and musk cats.

“His results are amazing,” says Jordan Timothy, who runs a canal for the North Jordan Irrigation Company in Salt Lake City, which Carter regularly patrols. Muskrats, mice, raccoons, and beavers erode the canal banks, just as they do at Mill Creek, where local park keepers have used the services of Mink Man for nearly a decade. “It may also be a trap that has already been set,” Timothy says. “He’s very good at what he does.”

For Carter, hunting, despite its popularity among spectators, is also for minks. Many of his livestock buy from fur farms, which in the United States typically produce a few million hides annually and have been a source of controversy among animal rights advocates. Recently, they caught attention when the mink started contracting Covid-19; In Denmark, in 2020, 17 million farms were culled from you for fear of spreading disease. The animals on these farms are often kept in small cages and killed before they reach their first birthday, while the wild mink usually lives for three years. “Give them a new life,” Carter says.

The problem for scientists, farmers, and activists is that it’s hard to know what makes a mink’s life a good one. You can’t ask your mink if he’s happy, or if he feels good.

In one study published in Nature in 2001, animal welfare scientists attempted to create a scale indirectly by measuring how hard minks push on doors that stand between them and things they want, such as food, water, toys, or more space in cages. “Our results indicate that fur-grown mink still had the motivation to perform the same activities as their wild counterparts, despite being bred in captivity for 70 generations,” wrote Georgia Mason, who led the research. It also found that minks that were deprived of swimming water experienced just as much stress as those deprived of food.

Much other than that is a mystery, says Díez-León, who was Mason’s pupil. All that said, she says, because Carter takes animals from farms, “the welfare of this mink is better.”

“It is like any thoroughbred horse, or performance animal – or birds of prey that go out to hunt. If they are asked to, they will probably prefer hunting.”

Carter has his own theories. He prays for the mink before bed (he’s a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and talks to them in a way that, he says, makes them feel almost human.

approx. After stalking at Mill Creek, leaning on his white Toyota Tundra with two dead mice in his jacket pocket, Carter looks at Boone, curled up in his cage in the trunk of the truck.

“Animals have no morals,” he says. “They have sensation, they can feel pain, they have the ability to learn, but they have no morals. This is a human thing.” – This article originally appeared in New York times.

#man #flavored #YouTube #star #Irish #Times

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.