I learned the hard way that I needed to wire tie the doors to my fish basket hanging from the pier in Vilas County. At first I could not understand how my fish were disappearing until I caught a mink moving one of my crappies down the shoreline. It was a hanging wire fish basket with spring loaded doors on each end. Later I found out a neighbor was having a similar problem until he also wired the doors shut.
A buddy of mine in high school lived on a mink farm. Yeah, those farms stink. Between the mink themselves and whatever they fed them, whew! They'd get truckloads of trawled fish from Lake Michigan, dead cows and horses, you name it. All went into the grinder and extruded into the pens. His dad would buy us all of the shotgun shells we wanted to rid the place of the the feral what-have-you that was attracted by the extruded food. Harvest time was ugly. Gas chamber. 'Nuff said.
I've seen families of wild mink running along the shoreline on Rhinelander and Tomahawk area lakes. All during broad daylight. They're kinda fun to watch but I've never had one get close.
I used to see them fishing a backwater of the fox river in Cary ill. I belive they were sprung from a farm. Mean as all get out had one trying to get my fish basket i finally tossed a small gill at him to leave me alone haha.
Theres a big mink farm south of you near Twin Lakes....maybe they got loose from the farm? No farm smells worse than a mink farm. Been on 2 of them in the last 3 months for work....whew!
I've no idea if they are naturally wild in SE Wisconsin...I know there are about 100 mink farms in the state though (they use a lot of water)....
Not in Racine Cty but we had a family of about 6 of them running along our shoreline in Fox Lake a couple months ago. First time we've seen them there.