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Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131195
01/11/21 03:00 AM
01/11/21 03:00 AM
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alaska
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trapped4ever Offline
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alaska
Well, I see I haven't missed as much on this thread, this time around.

While on the line, my mind was wandering, and I thought back to what crosspatch said on the first page of this thread, about marten "disappearing" around Labrador, in roughly the 1910-1930's era. Funny thing is, the same time frame, on this side of the continent, the same thing occurred? From 1916 through 1929, Alaska only had 3 years open to marten trapping, the rest of the years were closed, supposedly due to "over trapping". Of course this was during territorial days, and the Alaska Game Commission wasn't formed until around 1925, so I'm not sure how much accurate info there was, about any harvest data, for marten, prior to that, or even after, for that matter.

Anyways, since the origin of this thread is about "marten die offs", I'm curious, was this a coincidence, that during the same era, both sides of the continent had extreme low abundance, or was it more wide spread? Some of the other Canadian trappers on here, from other regions (Boco, Y254, Northof50, crosspatch, gibb, etc) are you aware if there were low marten populations, in your and/or other regions, during that era? Did the low abundance stretch all across Canada and Alaska? What about some of the long time Alaska trappers on here, any stories from the "old timers", back when you started, that lead you to believe the low marten numbers in that time period, were indeed due to widespread over trapping? I knew several trappers that were active in that time period, and they were not of the opinion that it was trapper induced. Perhaps low numbers due to other natural causes, exacerbated by to much trapping pressure, causing very low numbers? Gulo, W17, Dirt, waggler, Oh Snap, mad mike, Alaska Viking, martentrapper. etc. all you guys were around up here long enough to know some of the old timers, any input on information gleaned from that time period? Or even any conjecture? It just occurred to me, this could have been a case, of a very wide spread, "marten die off", if that event was continent wide, driven by some natural occurrence, but blamed on "overharvest"??? Anybody........??

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131201
01/11/21 03:42 AM
01/11/21 03:42 AM
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Alaska and Washington State
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^^^^^
Back in the 70's when I was a kid I was pestering every old time marten trapper I could find in Washington. All those guys are now dead who trapped back during the depression. I recall a couple of visits with Raymond Thompson. When he was up in NW Canada I don't believe there were many marten where he trapped, but I don't know if that was because he was in an area that wasn't good marten habitat or if marten populations were at a low point when he trapped there. I wish I would have asked him about it because the pictures he had of the area sure looked like marten country. In later years 1930's and 40's he trapped NE Washington and trapped marten in that area.
All of the other marten trappers I knew trapped the Cascades during the 20's and 30's. There were marten trappers in every drainage and ridge back then, I believe they were allowed to have 32 marten traps. One guy I knew who trapped the cascade crest area north of Snoqualmie pass said in a typical year he would catch between 6 and 12 marten. He used to be happy with those catches. That indicates to me that marten numbers were really low compared to would that area would produce today. I'm sure that was due to heavy trapping pressure.


"My life is better than your vacation"
Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131443
01/11/21 10:05 AM
01/11/21 10:05 AM
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Manitoba
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Northof50 Offline
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Manitoba
Just about the time that White was going to archive this thread, we go full circle back to the crux of the problem.
As for southern Manitoba south of the 53* north latitude marten moved in from the east in about the 1975 period. I caught my first in a squirrel trap about 1980. There was introductions to Turtle Mountains/ Peace Gardens in lower sw Manitoba/Sask/ND and they now are spread across anywhere there is riparian habitat.

That is one reason the interest in the ecto-parasites that are on them, but that will be another thread for a request for collectors across this vast area. The interesting thing about flea records is published material has all the individual records printed in the publication so they can be pages long. These can be quite expensive to be put out, but along come digital so...we will see.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131461
01/11/21 10:24 AM
01/11/21 10:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
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Manitoba
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Northof50 Offline
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Manitoba
Another stroke of the saw blade to consider is
the Larch sawfly Pristiphora erichsonii and it's devastation as it spread through and across North America. It came over from Europe and spread east to west at a rapid pace. The larvae wiped out huge stretches of the larch forest and upset the balance everywhere. Being a predominate tree because of the nitrogen to carbon ratio of their needles tamarach grew to substantial sizes everywhere. We are only use to see it in the wet swamps because the initial trees in the uplands died and the swamp trees could withstand the larvae, wet years would flood out the overwintering cocoons.
My university first job was on this study and the parasites they introduced because the second wave of larvae was occurring and DDT was being phased out. They then had to develop a hyprer-parasite to control the initial parasite.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: trapped4ever] #7131539
01/11/21 11:34 AM
01/11/21 11:34 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 35,314
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"
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Originally Posted by trapped4ever
Well, I see I haven't missed as much on this thread, this time around.

While on the line, my mind was wandering, and I thought back to what crosspatch said on the first page of this thread, about marten "disappearing" around Labrador, in roughly the 1910-1930's era. Funny thing is, the same time frame, on this side of the continent, the same thing occurred? From 1916 through 1929, Alaska only had 3 years open to marten trapping, the rest of the years were closed, supposedly due to "over trapping". Of course this was during territorial days, and the Alaska Game Commission wasn't formed until around 1925, so I'm not sure how much accurate info there was, about any harvest data, for marten, prior to that, or even after, for that matter.

Anyways, since the origin of this thread is about "marten die offs", I'm curious, was this a coincidence, that during the same era, both sides of the continent had extreme low abundance, or was it more wide spread? Some of the other Canadian trappers on here, from other regions (Boco, Y254, Northof50, crosspatch, gibb, etc) are you aware if there were low marten populations, in your and/or other regions, during that era? Did the low abundance stretch all across Canada and Alaska? What about some of the long time Alaska trappers on here, any stories from the "old timers", back when you started, that lead you to believe the low marten numbers in that time period, were indeed due to widespread over trapping? I knew several trappers that were active in that time period, and they were not of the opinion that it was trapper induced. Perhaps low numbers due to other natural causes, exacerbated by to much trapping pressure, causing very low numbers? Gulo, W17, Dirt, waggler, Oh Snap, mad mike, Alaska Viking, martentrapper. etc. all you guys were around up here long enough to know some of the old timers, any input on information gleaned from that time period? Or even any conjecture? It just occurred to me, this could have been a case, of a very wide spread, "marten die off", if that event was continent wide, driven by some natural occurrence, but blamed on "overharvest"??? Anybody........??


I would suspect that during that time frame............1916-1929.........the population numbers were based solely on harvest numbers. During that time we had the Spanish flu for about three years, WW1 that took trappers off the land , and ........at least in Alaska, we had starvation in some of the smaller villages. Don't forget the diphtheria epidemic in 1924-25.

IF population guesses were based on harvest numbers I can see where those events could make it appear that the population was down.

On the other hand... when this latest episode got serious....around 2010-2012......I remember asking Gulo if it was possible this was a cycle no one had seen before because the frequency was so long. He said...."on the other hand"..
laugh


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131575
01/11/21 12:15 PM
01/11/21 12:15 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 11,633
Montana ,Rocky Mtns.
Sharon Offline
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grin There is always "on the other hand "

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131686
01/11/21 01:23 PM
01/11/21 01:23 PM
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Posts: 46,122
james bay frontierOnt.
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Paul Millette told me that back in around the 1930's 1940's there were no marten in the bush.It was all fisher at that time.He said that marten came back in the late 40's early 50's.
There were a lot of marten in North eastern Ontario in the 1870's,all the canoe brigades were paid in Made Marten skins,(Bowmen and steersmen getting 25 made marten and middlemen getting 20)being that they were the currency of trade here at that time.

In 1919,after the first war ended,the fur prices were extremely high,so I can see that overtrapping was most likely a concern.Beaver trapping around that time was closed for 10 years as they were on the brink of extinction right across North America,and were only saved by efforts of Bay man JSC Watt who implemented the beaver preserves around James Bay.

So with prices being so high at that time I can see overtrapping being a factor,as well as normal fluctuations that occur as the bush changes over time being more suitable for different types of animals and switching back and forth over long periods of time.

Last edited by Boco; 01/11/21 01:25 PM.

Forget that fear of gravity-get a little savagery in your life.
Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131746
01/11/21 01:50 PM
01/11/21 01:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 35,314
McGrath, AK
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white17 Offline

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Boco: what does MADE marten skins mean ?


Mean As Nails
Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131791
01/11/21 02:27 PM
01/11/21 02:27 PM
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Posts: 8,342
Manitoba
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Northof50 Offline
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Manitoba
Just got off the phone with someone that has Manitoba records going back to 1919 when Manitoba started to keep records. In the 1930 there was only a handful of marten 6-10 for all of Manitoba. There was a pocket in the Red Lake area of Ontario 51*n 95*w. There are records for foxes so they were out trapping.
Back in those days 1900-1950 quite a few farm boys went into the woods and trapped and lived off the land. When you find some of their encapments the nitrogen shows in the vegetation around the sites, much like the whaling stations did in the high artic with IR imaging

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7131922
01/11/21 03:32 PM
01/11/21 03:32 PM
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Posts: 2,686
Alaska
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Alaska
Somebody mentioned HBC records showing lynx cycles over a long period of time. Maybe HBC records could shed light on marten trends??


you can vote your way into socialism, but you will have to shoot your way out.
Re: Marten die offs [Re: white17] #7132128
01/11/21 06:03 PM
01/11/21 06:03 PM
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Posts: 46,122
james bay frontierOnt.
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Originally Posted by white17
Boco: what does MADE marten skins mean ?

Stretched and dried.


Forget that fear of gravity-get a little savagery in your life.
Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7132145
01/11/21 06:26 PM
01/11/21 06:26 PM
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Posts: 8,342
Manitoba
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Northof50 Offline
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Manitoba
That fellow that has the records is afraid to touch any kind of mouse..
so I'm waiting for his wife to scan some of the takes for Manitoba over the ages.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7132381
01/11/21 08:08 PM
01/11/21 08:08 PM
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Posts: 1,599
Timmins Ontario
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All things being equal on the landscape I think as trappers we take advantage of the natural cycles, in poor recruitment years there not much we can really do to change the outcome. In good recruitment years the numbers speak for themselves and going harder or further does not change the overall population.
If everything stays the same, no fires or clear cuts our success depends on the reproductive cycle.

Where things change is when you have major disturbances over the landscape. In the past it would mainly be big fires that would change things, today it is man and our actives like logging that can have a huge impact.
Looking at the recent history in my area just before the first world war there was a number of gold and silver rushes that changed the landscape mainly by fire. Marten for the most part did not start to reappear until the 1960's and peaked in the 1980's, this time what tipped the iceberg was commercial logging.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porcupine_Gold_Rush

I thought this piece on succession in the boreal forest was interesting. Especially note when red back voles take over.
https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-...TION/Forests%20IV_Succession%20Facts.pdf

I was out all day today setting for marten, on this trapline in the 15 years I have been trapping it I have never seen so much marten sign, tracks every 200 or 300 yards in good habitant. I will know in a week how successful the recruitment was this year. My guess from my observation is it was a banner year.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7132392
01/11/21 08:20 PM
01/11/21 08:20 PM
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Timmins Ontario
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Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7132494
01/11/21 09:23 PM
01/11/21 09:23 PM
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Manitoba
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Northof50 Offline
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Manitoba
What happened here was the crash of the Yukon Gold Rush in 1900 and all those prospectors spread across the land, Great expanses of rock outcroppings were set afire to find the veins of quartz. Some of those fires were not contained and 10,000 acres was not uncommon.
Other problems occurred with the railways going across the Canadian Shield between 1880 to 1910 with the northern CNR line. with fires from the engines.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7132586
01/11/21 10:00 PM
01/11/21 10:00 PM
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Posts: 286
alaska
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trapped4ever Offline
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Northof50, that is interesting, about the Larch Sawfly. News to me, I guess that illustrates how often there can be environmental factors, many of us humans don't always necessarily notice, that could have widespread impact. So many variables......

W17, I agree, the trapping pressure in that era, would almost certainly have been severely impacted by the flu, TB, diphtheria, WW1, etc. However, I found some info that claims around 8,000 trappers operating in Alaska, during that time frame, made their sole income from trapping, so still some pressure, probably more evenly distributed than now? I understand what you are saying, and agree, since I've seen the same thing occur with fisheries, price goes down for a season or two, or lousy weather seasons, the catch rates plummet. This doesn't necessarily indicate less biomass of target species, just less effort/ less efficient production, etc. If the Alaska Game Commission was simply basing abundance on harvest numbers, it could certainly have led to a misinterpretation of data, if there were indeed fewer active trappers, than previous seasons. I would think in the more "modern" fur booms, pressure would have possibly exceeded the earlier era, but possibly been more village centered, since post statehood, it wasn't always as easy to legally just go build a cabin and trap wherever you found open space? Especially in the last 40-50 years.

Sharon & W17, I think his "on the other hands" is a great asset to Gulo's ability to see multiple perspectives, and helps him in keeping an open mind! On the other hand........ HA! I'm glad that we can have input from such an overqualified source on here, and certainly appreciate every bit of input he has!!!

Boco, beaver was closed off and on in Alaska too, during that time frame. I know it was closed in 1925, 1926, and 1929, at least. Didn't Paul Millette eventually get a plane, and trap other regions? He was still always just trapping Ontario though, I think? Were poisons in widespread use, in Canada during the early 1900's? I've always wondered if that was potentially one of the driving forces (marten decline) during the closed marten seasons in Alaska. I know at least some regions of the Territory of Alaska were using poisons (strychnine, etc.) by the early 1900's, as control measures. These poison bait stations killed indiscriminately.

gibb, some good points there about the natural succession after fires, glaciation, etc. This is another topic that varies greatly, from region to region. The type of logging even has some effect on the overall impact. In my area, the cut units that have "leave strips" in between them (essential wildlife corridors of intact old growth forest, allowing vertical migration through mountainous areas with an intact canopy), seems to have minimal impact to the marten. Massive clear cuts, with no leave strips are not ideal.... The cuts that have the "leave strips" seem to maintain marten production pretty well, and I've often watched marten hunting microtines in the slash piles (limbs, tops, and junk trees). I've actually trapped in a lot of clear cuts that are anywhere from new to 50-80 years old. Some of them are quite productive, but I don't think they would be, if it weren't for the close by areas, of intact habitat they require for den sites etc.

drasselt, That would be an interesting idea to research the HBC records...... I know Alaska didn't, and still doesn't have a very clear picture of the overall marten harvest.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7132740
01/11/21 10:55 PM
01/11/21 10:55 PM
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Manitoba
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Manitoba
The larch sawflies ( which can only crawl as larvae or adults) were able to travel across Canada into Alaska in 40 years, who thought bugs could get around. When they released the successful parasite they could not get permission from USDA (surprise-surprize) so every 15 miles along the highways where there was larch trees they released 5 of these wasp, right up to a mile from the Alaska boarder. Talk about a scientist in the old day....MY WAY on THE HIGHWAY here I GO was his moto.
Crosspatch may have worked with the mammalogist out of this program by the name of Buckner. He taught us how to raise short tail shrews.

I'm only a mile or two from those HBC records for road-trippers to bunk.
At one time they offered " over-night stays" in the Nonsuch ship replica at the Manitoba Museum.

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7168123
02/03/21 09:19 PM
02/03/21 09:19 PM
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Manitoba
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Manitoba
Before White archives this thread;
One of the interesting things about Larch besides their needles when dropped change the soil conditions and exclude other trees except Dwarf birch so they become a dominate tree. They best grow in clay soils but the larvae do well there and those old trees died in the first wave. They were also the preferred tree for railway ties and bridge building.
One of the soil survey Bio's took 1950 aerial photos and look for downed trees from this epidemic of sawflies devisation, with 3-5 foot diameters, they were nurse trees for the black spruce trees to grow, the 100 foot lines of trees growing was quite neat. He would then go in and look for rare orchards there, got to go with him several times and what a bonanza it was in finding orchids.
Red squirrels have quite a fancy for feeding on their cones especially in winter. With my flea work on the squirrels I focused on looking for squirrels high up. They will work on them before black spruce cones. Unfortunately in the last 15 years a type of cambrian bark beetle has kill most tamarack in southern Manitoba into Northern Minn especial in Rick Olson area

Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7168129
02/03/21 09:23 PM
02/03/21 09:23 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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Tamarack has a lot of uses.Fresh tamarack needles when they first come out in spring are loaded with vitamins and immune system boosting nutrients.It is next best thing for your health to cedar tea.Quite a bit is collected in spring for use later in the year.
Large swaths of tamarack are prominent and easy to see on the land.Avoid those areas when travelling in the bush in the fall-Tamarack invariably indicates swampy terrain around here.
There are two kinds of tamarack here.One is very knotty and branchy with a thick trunk and the other is knot free and straight often little difference in trunk diameter all the way up.
Both types have their respective uses in the bush.

Last edited by Boco; 02/03/21 09:28 PM.

Forget that fear of gravity-get a little savagery in your life.
Re: Marten die offs [Re: rick olson] #7168151
02/03/21 09:33 PM
02/03/21 09:33 PM
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Manitoba
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Manitoba
The soil around those trees was also changed from those big trees, ratios of C-N in larch is 7- 3, were as other tree leaves are 30-1 ratio. Soil profiles a-b-c were quite interesting different merely 20 m away and was one reason this Bio was studying it in relation to the orchids and their frequency there over other areas, unfortunately he died of pancreatic cancer in 5 short weeks and took his data with him.

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