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#6323350 - 09/12/18 09:35 AM Fisher v Marten
ebsurveyor Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 1233
Loc: sometimes PA sometimes ME
I have been running trail cameras on bear baits for the past 10 years in Maine. One of the hunters this week got me thinking. He asked "where have the marten gone"? Now that I think about it there seems to be less marten and more fishers where I operate. Ten years ago it was common to see marten at the bear baits and fisher not so much. Now the exact opposite is true. In the past it was common to see marten at the baits in Sep. Now no marten before Oct when the juveniles start to show up. Seems to be plenty of fisher all of the time. I'll know more after the trapping season starts, but for now I think the fisher are displacing the marten.

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#6323496 - 09/12/18 01:08 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
cyaukeyy Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/20/10
Posts: 44
Loc: pa
Interesting, keep us posted with your findings. Where I used to run fisher were slim to none. Predominately all marten. How's the beech crop and bears this year?

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#6323508 - 09/12/18 01:25 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
Boco Offline
trapper

Registered: 08/08/11
Posts: 16829
Loc: james bay frontierOnt.
I know for a fact that some areas of the province of Ontario fisher and marten co-exist in good numbers(central Ontario).
Here in the north More fisher means less marten.I believe because of the more slim pickings here fisher outcompete marten for rabbits.
Now Marten do not normally prey on rabbits,their prey base is voles under the snow in winter.But once the crust comes on at the end of march,marten depend on rabbits at that short time of year,as they are unable to acess their normal prey because of the crust.If the female marten(because of their size they are not as successful as the large males in hunting rabbits)cannot accumulate enough body fat at that time of year,they will have a reproductive failure.
The fisher tip the scale and the cumulative effect is a decline in the marten population here in the north where spring crust is a normal occurrence.


Edited by Boco (09/12/18 01:27 PM)

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#6324267 - 09/13/18 12:33 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
bctomcat Offline
trapper

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 1025
Loc: 100 Mile House, BC Can
Fisher and marten are opportunistic predator/scavengers that will eat virtually anything; berries, birds and eggs, fish and of coarse MEAT. Also, being they both often live in the same habitat and go for the same food, and the fisher is the larger of the two, the fisher will generally win out in a limited food supply situation. Thus with an increasing fisher population I would expect a decline in the marten.


Edited by bctomcat (09/13/18 01:48 PM)
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#6324273 - 09/13/18 12:46 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
jk Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 2601
Loc: Williamsport, Pa.
Ok an observation of mine here in Pa on fisher vs bobcats. I have three guarenteed (ha ha) bobcat hollows that for years I caught and released bobcat. These three spots now have fisher and no cats for the last four years. Are the fisher chasing them out of here like they might be in your case with martin?????........jk
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#6324278 - 09/13/18 01:01 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
bctomcat Offline
trapper

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 1025
Loc: 100 Mile House, BC Can
I would say it sure looks like it as the cats and fishers would both be competing for the rabbits.


Edited by bctomcat (09/13/18 01:27 PM)
_________________________
The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.







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#6324286 - 09/13/18 01:15 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
cyaukeyy Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/20/10
Posts: 44
Loc: pa
Had a marten chasing a showshoe under my truck one time. I jumped out and watched the show. 3 inches of powder snow on the ground total. That marten was certainly opportunistic. Caught one there the next day.

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#6324288 - 09/13/18 01:16 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
joepennanti Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/24/18
Posts: 264
Loc: New York STATE
Interesting observations, I like reading of 1st hand experiences like these. What can you guys say about snow accumulation, and foliage type?

Some areas here in NY state have very optimal habitat for fisher, where the harvest is literally ~1 fisher per square mile. In those areas the marten population is little to none, in fact there's no open marten season in those areas.

In the areas where marten harvest is highest, there are very few fisher.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I associate the ideal:
1) fisher habitat with <2' of snow accumulation at any give time, and deciduous forest.
2) marten habitat with >3' of snow accumulation, and coniferous forest.

Of course there's overlap, but in regards to ideal, optimal, highest harvest numbers, I've come to those conclusions.
_________________________
2x kinds of trappers
1. humble/inquisitive enough to learn from all sources: young & old, near & far, written & verbal
2. Legends in their own Minds

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#6324289 - 09/13/18 01:18 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
joepennanti Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/24/18
Posts: 264
Loc: New York STATE
cyaukeyy you caught a marten in PA?
_________________________
2x kinds of trappers
1. humble/inquisitive enough to learn from all sources: young & old, near & far, written & verbal
2. Legends in their own Minds

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#6324375 - 09/13/18 03:47 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
Fisherman Offline
trapper

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 769
Loc: northern New York
As an Adirondack trapper, my observations have been that in general, but not always, fisher and marten do not occupy the same range. In the Adirondacks fisher are in decline while marten are expanding their range.In recent years there has been little to no snow during their joint trapping season. This may not be true of all areas, particularly Tug Hill. My observations have been that until snow arrives fisher feed on mostly vegetative materials. Once the snow comes they change their habits and become mostly meat eaters as they do not dig down through the snow like a deer. Some years we have a fairly large fisher catch, other years practically nothing.
I believe that snowshoe hares are a primary pray species in the Adirondacks, but their numbers seem to run in cycles and I wonder if fisher numbers react accordingly.I'm no expert, just my observations. It seems like in the New England states the large numbers of fisher in previous years has dropped; why I do not know.In New York fisher have greatly expanded their range from the Adirondacks, due I believe in the closing of many dairy farms now reverting back to brush and forest. Fisher are going to be where the food is.

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#6324388 - 09/13/18 03:57 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
Whopper Stopper Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/24/11
Posts: 352
Loc: Under my hat in Mn and Wi
On my property in WI I have been baiting bear for the last month. I have never seen a Martin here in the last 25 years, however the fishers are alive and well.

Hardly a night (or day) goes by that 1-2 Fishers don't come raiding the stash. There favorite food seems to be frosting lol

WS

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#6324410 - 09/13/18 04:31 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: jk]
ebsurveyor Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 1233
Loc: sometimes PA sometimes ME
Originally Posted By: jk
Ok an observation of mine here in Pa on fisher vs bobcats. I have three guarenteed (ha ha) bobcat hollows that for years I caught and released bobcat. These three spots now have fisher and no cats for the last four years. Are the fisher chasing them out of here like they might be in your case with martin?????........jk


Maine "collared" some lynx ten years or so ago. A high percentage of them were killed by fisher.

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#6324414 - 09/13/18 04:39 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
Osky Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/09/13
Posts: 5723
Loc: Northern MN
I have a few marten sprinkled in my area but very rarely have they come to my bear baits. Fisher however are common visitors at the bear baits. The marten boxes I built and put out as per Dale Torma's instruction have not been used.

Cats visit my bear baits often, fisher in the area or not. The difference is the fisher eat at the bait while the cats come in and perch on the nearest high stump or horizontal tree. The camera shows the cats are waiting for mice and other small rodents the bait attracts.

Osky
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#6324424 - 09/13/18 05:02 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: Fisherman]
odiferous Offline
trapper

Registered: 08/23/18
Posts: 221
Loc: Central, NY
Originally Posted By: Fisherman
As an Adirondack trapper, my observations have been that in general, but not always, fisher and marten do not occupy the same range. In the Adirondacks fisher are in decline while marten are expanding their range.In recent years there has been little to no snow during their joint trapping season. This may not be true of all areas, particularly Tug Hill. My observations have been that until snow arrives fisher feed on mostly vegetative materials. Once the snow comes they change their habits and become mostly meat eaters as they do not dig down through the snow like a deer. Some years we have a fairly large fisher catch, other years practically nothing.
I believe that snowshoe hares are a primary pray species in the Adirondacks, but their numbers seem to run in cycles and I wonder if fisher numbers react accordingly.I'm no expert, just my observations. It seems like in the New England states the large numbers of fisher in previous years has dropped; why I do not know.In New York fisher have greatly expanded their range from the Adirondacks, due I believe in the closing of many dairy farms now reverting back to brush and forest. Fisher are going to be where the food is.


My thoughts exactly.
_________________________
Bob ~ AKA The Skunk Whisperer

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#6324578 - 09/13/18 08:14 PM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
ebsurveyor Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 1233
Loc: sometimes PA sometimes ME
In northern Maine I can catch Marten or fisher in every place I trap. Here is a typical bear bait photo catch. I've seen many dozen of photos like these.




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#6324845 - 09/14/18 07:41 AM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
jwood Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 277
Loc: Northern Maine
This has always been a fascinating topic to me. Butch, it was funny running into you yesterday because just a few hours before that I'd talked with a bear guide south of you who had the same general observations.

There has been a lot of marten and fisher research out of the University of Maine over the decades. The general consensus is that the distribution of fisher is limited by snow depth, while marten are limited by the presence of fisher. In other words, areas with severe snow depth will have fewer fisher, and the northern extent of their range is generally determined by how much snow accumulates in a region. That's probably why we tend to see fisher concentrated in cedar swamps in mid winter, where snow depths aren't as great and they can hunt more effectively.
Marten do fine in deep, soft snow. Like Boco said, they do much of their winter feeding under the snow. But where fisher and marten overlap, fisher will often kill or outcompete marten, so the marten range is also controlled indirectly by snow depth.

Now, the big thing that complicates all of this is the thousand other factors that affect these two species. For instance, we know fisher kill marten, but we regularly see marten and fisher in the same areas, and catch them in the same sets. In northern Maine, we have incredibly diverse marten/fisher habitat due to: regenerating farmlands, mixed hardwood and softwood forests, and above all, a very aggressive timber industry that's constantly changing the makeup of these forest stands. So it's difficult to make general conclusions.

There definitely appears to be more fisher up here in recent years based on both observations and trapper harvest rates (marten:fisher ratio). It could be due to several winters with suitable conditions for fisher survival. Could be due to lack of fisher harvest since the 10 fisher limit and lynx related regulations were put in place. Could be due to habitat changes as we've trended toward a younger forest in the north woods with aggressive timber harvest. It could be a long term thing, or could be part of a cycle.

Based on past experiences, I wouldn't be too concerned about taking action to 'save' marten just yet, though. Back in 2008 much of Maine had over 200 inches of accumulated snow for a large part of the winter. Marten liked it, but, trappers stopped seeing fisher in many areas, and cried for the state to do something about it. The season was shortened and a 10-fisher limit put into place. There was not much scientific rigor involved in that decision (that is a polite way of putting it, and I apologize if that offends anyone who was involved). Then a few favorable winters came and went, fisher numbers recovered, and now we have what seems to be too many fishers and too few marten. And yes, we know fisher kill lynx, which are an endangered species here, so there's that too.

There's a new university study getting underway to see how marten populations have been impacted by recent forest harvest, so that will be interesting. More importantly, though, I'm excited to get trapping in November and see what we find!
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#6324893 - 09/14/18 09:12 AM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
Dirt Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 3730
Loc: Armpit, ak
How do we know fisher kill marten?
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#6324898 - 09/14/18 09:18 AM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: Dirt]
ebsurveyor Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 1233
Loc: sometimes PA sometimes ME
Originally Posted By: Dirt
How do we know fisher kill marten?


I do know that fisher eat marten. The fisher came back two more times but could not/would not go in the box.


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#6324912 - 09/14/18 09:37 AM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: ebsurveyor]
Dirt Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/01/10
Posts: 3730
Loc: Armpit, ak
Scavenging is different than killing. I had a coyote eat a wolverine out of a trap, but I don't believe coyotes kill wolverine. I have had weasels scavenge marten.
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Who is John Galt?

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#6324947 - 09/14/18 11:03 AM Re: Fisher v Marten [Re: Dirt]
bctomcat Offline
trapper

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 1025
Loc: 100 Mile House, BC Can
Originally Posted By: Dirt
Scavenging is different than killing.
Agree; as I stated earlier fishers are opportunistic scavengers and will eat virtually anything.
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The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.







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