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Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254] #1641368
12/07/09 06:57 PM
12/07/09 06:57 PM
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Alaska
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Pittu Offline
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Alaska
Thats interesting and I learned something new...I've never heard of that although I do know that those red squirrels will eat a fair share of meat...so I can see that it makes some sense..

On a side note, I cleared the area of red sq. last spring and by august, there was as many or more squirrels stealing dog food from my feed house...they really move into vacant territory fast..but this is a marten thread...I digress

Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254] #1641373
12/07/09 06:57 PM
12/07/09 06:57 PM
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Yukon
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yukon254 Offline
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Yukon
Pittu forgot, the cute little red squirrel also kills baby birds still in the nests by the scads! It is well known, but I have actually witnessed them killing both birds and baby rabbits. I have a friend who has a great lynx line, his line management is to snare as many red squirrels as he can and he says he sees a huge difference in rabbit numbers.


do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254] #1641441
12/07/09 07:17 PM
12/07/09 07:17 PM
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North Pole Alaska
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bearbait Offline
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Pittu, I have a 1 acre timbered lot next to my place and I kill all the squirrels living in that lot because I have lots of stuff near there that they want to chew on. Every year I kill at least 30 squirrels on that acre and twice I've killed over 50. I think the young are constantly looking for a new and better home


Eat, Drink, and don't be a Mary.
Re: Marten thread [Re: bearbait] #1641489
12/07/09 07:29 PM
12/07/09 07:29 PM
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Alaska
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Pittu Offline
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Yea, it gives my new 22 mag alot of opportunity, but being discrete (ie when the wife isnt home) is an unfortunate necessity...she was wondering aloud this summer where all the squirrels went smirk

I told her that the owls been eating good... whistle

Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254] #1641522
12/07/09 07:38 PM
12/07/09 07:38 PM
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Idaho, Lemhi County
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Gulo Offline
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I think the stable isotope work, if it gets done, will shed a lot of light on the diet questions for the interior marten. The only thing I'm basing my theories on (and that's all they are at this point; theories), is looking through literally thousands of stomachs. Trying to discern marten diet through examination of trapped animals, though, has it's drawbacks. I was always frustrated at not knowing precisely what the trapper was using as bait, thus, I kept very poor records of stomach contents, scared of the frequency with which I was encountering beaver, strawberry jam, grouse feathers, etc.

Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo] #1642057
12/07/09 09:44 PM
12/07/09 09:44 PM
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juneau, alaska
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alaska viking Offline OP
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Enter the flower pot set. No bait in the stomach!
Perhaps Craigs study might be our next "mission"? Thoughts?


Occasional Wolverine Pincher

Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo] #1642165
12/07/09 10:08 PM
12/07/09 10:08 PM
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Posts: 28,769
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
Originally Posted By: Gulo
Hupurest, you're beginning to sound a lot like W17...



Now that's high praise !


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten thread [Re: white17] #1642193
12/07/09 10:14 PM
12/07/09 10:14 PM
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Posts: 4,748
juneau, alaska
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alaska viking Offline OP
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juneau, alaska
For whom?


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Re: Marten thread [Re: white17] #1642250
12/07/09 10:31 PM
12/07/09 10:31 PM
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McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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Wow really wide ranging !

I am sure that avian predators take a toll on marten. How much is another question. Over the years I've caught several that had been grabbed by talons and apparently dropped. But it really became clear to me one fall while watching a marten eat on a moose leg about 20 feet up a tree. All of a sudden I heard raven's wings beating. So did that marten. He ducked his head and bailed out of that tree in one leap. He hit the ground and disappeared. I'm sure he never saw the bird, just heard the wings.

In my area I don't believe there is any relationship between red squirrels an rabbits. I don't have many of either. I have opened lots of stomachs also and the overwhelming majority of identifiable remains was vole. I even found a piece of blue tarp at one point.

Last year I decided to weigh the omentum fat of all marten but separate it into marten caught in footholds and marten caught in body grips. It turned out that I needed a digital scale so I resorted to subjectively assigning a value of 0-4 to the amount of fat. 4 being a metric gut load !

Right now I'm in anchorage and my records are home but the results were clear. Those critters taken in body grips were fatter by a factor of about 200% than those taken in footholds. Years ago Gulo had mentioned that he thought a marten under stress would metabolize his body fat in 24 hours. That's why I attemped this. Although the sample size was very small, I think the results point in the right direction.

So what is there in the woods other than man that will stress a marten population. Predation to some extent but that's always there. Extreme weather ? Seems to me that food would be the most critical.


One fall I watched a ptarmigan picking lowbush cranberries. He would pick one and then stack it on a low spruce branch out at the end where the needles could hold it. All of a sudden a marten jumped out of the brush and nailed him. Once they departed I went over to look at what the bird was doing. He had 15-20 berries cached on that limb. I suspect he was going to come back when the snow was a little deeper. Maybe the marten got the berries too.


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking] #1642252
12/07/09 10:32 PM
12/07/09 10:32 PM
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McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
Originally Posted By: alaska viking
For whom?



Hoopy of course !


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten thread [Re: white17] #1642347
12/07/09 11:00 PM
12/07/09 11:00 PM
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Posts: 996
Idaho, Lemhi County
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Gulo Offline
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I've skinned marten that had definite talon marks, but in all cases there was little, if any, bruising at the puncture sites. I always assumed that it was raptors (owls or goshawks) hitting the thing after it had been trapped. Again, just conjecture.

I, too, looked at total body weights and subjective internal and external (inguinal) body weights of marten taken in footholds versus those taken in Conibears (scale of 0-5). Obviously, the body-gripped marten spent less time struggling than the foothold-harvested marten. Alas, not enough data to satisfy the statisticians, but in my mind, same results as W17, significantly more body fat on the Conibeared critters. Thus, my opinion that metabolism of stored body fat is phenomenally quick.

On the other hand, catabolism (putting on the spare tire) is apparently quite quick as well. Putting a few sets around fresh moose carcasses, knowing that the carcass was only available for the previous 24-hours, yeilded some hog-fat marten, and I strongly suspect that they weren't in that shape when they discovered the bonanza of food at the carcass.

Anybody out there with opposing views? Hit me...

Re: Marten thread [Re: white17] #1642348
12/07/09 11:00 PM
12/07/09 11:00 PM
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juneau, alaska
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The bird stashing food is interesting. My wife has a seasonal population of Steller's Jays that she feeds daily. They prefer peanuts in the shell. Weird, I know, but bear with me.
I watch these things fight like crazy, stuffing thier gullets with up to three nuts at a time, then fly to various places hiding the nuts. They will go to the point of camouflaging the nuts with leaves and clumps of grass.
In the mean time, other birds will watch them, and they will no sooner feel satisfied with thier concealment and fly off, another will fly in, steal the nut, and proceed to repeat the process.
What I find odd about the whole thing is these particular birds seem to migrate from the area in winter. The squirrels, on the other hand, seek out these stashes when snow cover allows.
My first conclusion was a type of symbiotic relationship, with the squirrels getting the better deal. However, when the two are trying to eat from the same tree, the jays constantly harass the squirrel. The squirrel will only take so much of this, however. It will eventually attack, unless seriously out-numbered.
Also, I have seen, on MANY occasions, Steller's Jays abandon all else to pounce on any small rodent that catches thier eye. Quite an event to see. And I do mean pounce, as well as stab with beak, kill said rodent, and haul it away with every other jay in hot pursuit.


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Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking] #1642371
12/07/09 11:06 PM
12/07/09 11:06 PM
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juneau, alaska
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alaska viking Offline OP
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Oh, yeah, anyway, I wonder what factor birds may play in the day to day life of marten?
I'm certain that the larger predators utilize the vocalizations of certain birds to locate dead or dying animals, as well as situations that they want to avoid. I guess the question is just how tuned in to thier environment are marten, and how dependant are they on outside stimuli.
Gulo?
White?


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Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking] #1642386
12/07/09 11:08 PM
12/07/09 11:08 PM
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McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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McGrath, AK
I never thought that the marten had been grabbed by a bird while in the trap. Makes sense though. Otherwise they'd be gone.


AV: your Steller's Jays are obviously Democrats. Lots of make work, stealing and squabling with really nothing accomplished, while living on handouts.


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking] #1642398
12/07/09 11:12 PM
12/07/09 11:12 PM
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Idaho, Lemhi County
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Gulo Offline
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AV, I don't have a clue. I've watched marten being harassed by gray jays, and they don't seem to even acknowledge the noise and ruckus. On the other hand, a lot of the literature says that marten avoid large openings (a "fact" that I partially disagree with), purportedly because of their vulnerability to aerial predators. W17 will probably have anecdotal evidence and opinions that are much more valid than my own.

Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo] #1642413
12/07/09 11:17 PM
12/07/09 11:17 PM
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McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

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Well I wouldn't say they're any more valid but I agree the literature is not necessarily correct. I have some of my best sets on the edge of the treeline with clear space a mile or more in the other directions. I see tracks crossing these areas regularly. Some probably get nailed but not as many as get away. I think an owl or hawk would rather tangle with a bunny than with Mr Chain Blue Lightning Sharp Claws and Teeth.


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo] #1642437
12/07/09 11:26 PM
12/07/09 11:26 PM
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juneau, alaska
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alaska viking Offline OP
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Well, the Democratic observation, I think, is quite accurate. On the other hand, the squirrels seem to eventually benefit. I wonder how much the marten rely on being a "benefactor", if you will, from other animals habits?
Not to assign genius status to the critters, but I would think that a mammal that covers the ground that they obviously do, one could surmise that they learn to take advantage of other animals habits. One could further extrapolate that the older the marten, the more "stashes" it would discover, and the more it would either rely on, or search for, said caches.
I would then venture to say that certain marten would become more "localized", or hunt a smaller area, as other critters are helping with food availability.
Man, this is getting deep, eh?


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Re: Marten thread [Re: white17] #1642441
12/07/09 11:27 PM
12/07/09 11:27 PM

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Hupurest
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so, if a bird "grabbed" a marten in the trap, why wouldn't it eat it right there??? seems that the marten would be limited in its defense...

I also have seen many tracks from marten in areas that I was not 'supposed" to be seeing them.
I assume they would cross these areas at night? limiting the avian predators, to an owl.....

Re: Marten thread [Re: white17] #1642453
12/07/09 11:34 PM
12/07/09 11:34 PM
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Biglake, AK
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Biglake, AK
to funny,, mr. white. the democrat comment. i love it, this has been a interesting thread...thanks for all the input you guys,, i love trappin marten although I only do 10 to 15 a year... last year got 16... 10males 6 fem.. wish I lived in a place like white where a guy could do a lot more...

Re: Marten thread [Re: mearl] #1642467
12/07/09 11:40 PM
12/07/09 11:40 PM
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McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

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I try to do very little !

I'll bet marten rely on birds to locate large carrion just like foxes and wolves.


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