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#1628383 - 12/01/09 07:23 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
white17 Online   content

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15111
Loc: McGrath, AK
Originally Posted By: Gulo
By the way, takotna...

Those male:female ratios look great! Your YOY:ADU ratios, however, look like things might have taken a downturn.
Man! It's really tough being down here in the lowest 48, remembering all the marten work... I guess that's what they call arm-chair, Monday-morning quarterbacking.

Keep it up, takotna...



This is exactly what I found last year and why I quit trapping marten last year. I think Craig found a very similar pattern all over the upper Kukso. Takotna's ratios aren't quite as skewed as mine were.
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#1628901 - 12/01/09 10:02 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: white17]
takotna Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 1200
Loc: Takotna AK
Hey Gulo in Idaho, how the heck have you been?

I'm not to worried this early in the game, I added up the miles in 4 different directions I'm going so far and it's close to 70 miles of traps so it's pretty spread out. The marten are there, just not climbing. I think I do catch alot of fm YOY, don't remember many adult fm but I still get good numbers every year, heck, you know more about my marten ages then me.LOL

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#1628964 - 12/01/09 10:37 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: takotna]
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1855
Loc: juneau, alaska
Well, we certainly have a bio on our hands!
As for the ageing methods, you lost me at the Latin part, and my father is a doctor! Of course I can only Play doctor, but I diverse.
I know for certain that I have seen a downward trend in marten on my line for a couple years, and noticed a decline in red-backed voles as well as shrews about a year prior to the spiral.
I now am seeing an up-swing in the rodents, and hope the marten will be a year behind them.
I know this might be optimistic, as the litters these guys have is rather small,(2 or three?).
That said, the habitat I trap is indeed prime marten country, and I can't help but think that the severe winters we have had these last three years has effected the movements and patterns of them, and perhaps they have become a bit more transient in thier movements to secure food.
Ideas?
_________________________
Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
Carl Sagan.

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#1629047 - 12/01/09 11:23 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking]
white17 Online   content

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15111
Loc: McGrath, AK
I should warn you guys. Gulo has a slight birth defect that he doesn't like to talk about. But lets get it out in the open. He has three hands.

It comes in very handy (huh ) when he is explaining something. Just when you think you understand him, he says ...."on the other hand....". So be prepared.
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Mean As Nails

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#1629066 - 12/01/09 11:45 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: white17]
piperniner Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 1275
Loc: Alaska
So does that mean the one time he thought he was wrong he was mistaken.

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#1629205 - 12/02/09 06:20 AM Re: Marten thread [Re: piperniner]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
Okay, you guys be nice. Not only do I have three hands (there, it's out in the open now) but I also have 2 PhDs (Posthole Diggers; out in the garage), and yes, I have been called a bit anal retentive concerning marten population management.

takotna...
Really good to hear you're still out there catching marten. I know you trap quite an extensive area, and your previous-years ratios have always looked pretty good. I suspect you've got adequate reservoirs of unhammered country, so your catch remains pretty consistent.
All interested...
What I really like to see, especially from those areas where the marten trapper density is a bit high (traplines that are no more than 10 miles apart)is a ratio in the harvest of not less than 4 YOY (males and females combined) for every ADU female. I've seen populations at better than 20:1, and I've also seen ratios at less than 1:1. Any of you remember the late 80s in the western interior when marten were bringing better than $100/copy, and they were pretty much gone? Total young/ADU female ratioswere coming in at about 2:1. We shortened the season a bit (with the idea that it would probably save a few of those late-caught adult females), and by the early 90s, we again had pretty good marten numbers.
I'm not a fan of government intervention and jacking around season dates, and am of the opinion that individual trappers can manage their own lines better than ADF&G can. On the other hand (there, White17) Craig is one of the best darned biologists and friend to the trappers of anybody I know, and will make the right choice.
With all that said, I encourage any of you guys to keep an eye on your YOY:ADU FEMALE ratios in your annual harvest. As White17 said about his line last year, when he was getting a relatively high proportion of adult females and very few YOY animals in his harvest, he backed off. For the long-term maximization of numbers of marten on the boards, this is precisely what should be done.

Enough for this morning's diatribe. I may grab another cup of mud, and be back here at the keyboard, but (on the other hand) I gotta go see if there are any whitetails lounging about the "yard" wanting to reside for a while in my freezer...

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#1629324 - 12/02/09 08:09 AM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
Gulo very interesting stuff. Dont take this the wrong way, but where/how did you get your experience? I ask because I dont know and wildlife management is something I'm very interested in, and I see our (Can.) govt. biologists come up with all sorts of nonsense that cost the taxpayers big dollars. Case in point the regional Bio. in Southeast Yukon did a 5 year marten study at a cost of well over one hundred thousand dollars. His conclusion at the end was that the best marten habitat was at higher elevations than previously thought and in some areas voles were not as important as once thought. These are things he could have found out at the local coffee shop if he would have asked.
How do you know that shortening the season in the 80s brought back marten numbers in the 90s?? maybe it was a cycle. Here in Yukon everyone has their own line no one else can trap most lines are huge. Last year I bought one of the best marten lines here also the largest, last year the marten numbers were very low (it had not been trapped in 12 years). I travel through two lines to get to my trapline (both have not been trapped in 30 years) Marten sign there year to year is no different than trapped lines. My point is not to be argumentative biologists do a lot of good work, but they also cater to political pressure at times and in my view don't get the field experience they need most often to see the complete picture. I'm not setting myself up here as an expert I'm not! But I do spend a solid 6 to 8 months every year in the bush guiding trapping fishing etc. I know other who live on their trap lines year round and have since coming home from Vietnam and they see a cycle in marten numbers about every 11 to 15 years trapped or not. I know here most biologists will tell you marten ranges are small (maybe 1.5 to 2 miles) and that marten dont like the open country. Yet on my high line there are no trees, (its like your table top) for miles and there is marten there in high numbers, I have seen many times at high elevation and at lower elevation where marten will travel for miles in a straight line even when food is plentiful. I also believe marten stash food and in severe cold or deep snow will hole up for periods of time (i have no proof of this but some evidence) Thanks for your input and please dont take my questions wrong, they are just questions. Wildlife management concerns us all and in this day and age unfortunately it is political and bad decisions are made because of it. Last note here it is common practice with trappers to pull traps when their catch of females gets close to 30% of catch. Because of low numbers this year most trappers here this year are running very short marten lines. Fish/Game or seasons have nothing to do with it.
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do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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#1629882 - 12/02/09 03:01 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
yukon254...
Good questions all, and I take no offense whatsoever. This is certainly not a one-way street; I'm trying to learn as well.

I worked in Idaho throughout the 70s on cougars, badgers, eagles, otter, and mink. Had some real fine mentors. School at U of I through the late 70s when they still had some real fine, practical professors. Worked for Alaska F&G for 27 years, mostly in the research arena (wolves, moose, wolverine, brown bears), with a 12 year stint in management in the interior and southeast. One year in Russia trapping tigers, bears, and leopards. Back in Idaho now, doing finishing touches on house-building project. Fur trapper throughout the entire time. Even though it was rarely in my job description, I continued to necropsy 1,000 or so marten every year, just trying to understand what makes the populations tick.

The low marten populations in western interior Alaska during the 80s was at a time when pelt prices were at about $100/copy. Lots of trapper effort, as you might imagine. Total young:adult female ratios were running about 1:1. Following the shortened season (as I remember we cut off the February season), populations rebounded, and we were up to about 4:1 in two years' time. I'm not saying that the shortened season was the reason for the turnaround. It was probably a variety of factors. But, the turnaround coincided with the season shortening. Certainly, could have been a coincidence. Nobody will ever know. I wasn't then, and certainly am not now, in favor of government regulations and jacking the trappers around. Each and every one of you know your respective marten areas better than I or any biologist will ever know. That is the reason I'm interested in learning more about what makes marten populations tick; to suggest to you guys and gals in the field ways you may be able to maximize your long-term catch. Good management, whether it is done by you, or by the government, is my goal. First and foremost, I think of the resource; secondarily, I think about the users of that resource.

I agree that there are more than a handful of good biologists out there (Craig in Fairbanks is one of the hardest working, best field biologists there is. Anywhere. Period.). As with any other profession, there is also no shortage of slinkies. Yes, any agency employee has political constraints (A few years ago, I had a boss that told me I was "politically naive" regarding the wolf issue I was painfully involved in). It's nice now that I'm not working for an agency, that I can afford to be "politically naive".

I'm of the firm opinion that you cannot "bank" marten. In places where traplines are not overlapping or continuous over the landscape, there are refugia (untrapped reservoirs) that continually provide incomers. For a few years recently I trapped a place close to Fairbanks (my plane was broke) where traplines were contiguous and often overlapping. Access was just too good, and there are too many people in Fairbanks. It was "good" marten habitat, but a dozen or so was all I'd get annually. Same with the guys trapping around me. I'm convinced that if we'd have backed off for a couple of years, the long-term productivity of marten from the area would have increased several-fold. The common thought amongst all the area trappers was "if I don't take the marten, somebody else will." Thus, we all put out a few sets and kept the marten whittled down to bare bones.

The scientific literature does indeed generally say that marten home ranges are small. This is usually based on telemetry studies, and is pretty indisputable. However (on the other hand), what would happen if you (or a researcher) trapped an area (often in summer) for a few days or weeks. First animal you catch is an adult. That's the one that gets the transmitter. Well, it's an established adult. Of course it stays put. If they do happen to get a juvenile, it's quite likely to be a transient, and the reports indicate that it's a "transmitter malfunction" or a "lost contact". Well, the thing zipped out of the study area on his way to who-knows-where, and doesn't get into the official reports. I know for a fact that a significant proportion of marten are movers; not established on a definitive home range.

On the other hand...

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#1629895 - 12/02/09 03:13 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
white17 Online   content

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15111
Loc: McGrath, AK
That leads right into the question about the WAVE effect. It would be interesting to age the marten caught in a wave episode and compare to the usual age structure in that same area. Need baselines for different areas.

Also Gulo wasn't there a marten tagged in the Burn that was subsequently caught 80 miles away ?
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Mean As Nails

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#1629905 - 12/02/09 03:20 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
Pittu Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 895
Loc: Alaska
was that your third or fourth hand??

J/K, thanks for the discussion. I've learned alot in a short period of time...

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#1629913 - 12/02/09 03:28 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Pittu]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
white17...
I don't remember the details, but it was certainly out of the 1.5-2.0 mile home range (by a factor of 50 or so). Same thing with a few of the tagged critters on NE Chichagof that were officially reported as "status unknown" (although it's a pretty small island). Would be extremely interesting to see the age structure of "wave" participants. Any guesses?

Pittu...
I'm runnin' outta hands here....

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#1630065 - 12/02/09 04:41 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
white17 Online   content

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15111
Loc: McGrath, AK
Nope no guesses from me. It might be somewhat dependant on the time of the year. If the fall shuffle was long past it might be different than if it happened in November.
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Mean As Nails

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#1630115 - 12/02/09 05:04 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: white17]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
Gulo thanks! very well put.Sounds like you got some field time!! Here we have such a problem with "political wildlife management" that it makes us question everything. Within the next two years EVERY caribou herd in Yukon will be on a limited entry hunt, because of declining populations. If you ask most hunters don't have the first clue as to how hunting(bulls only) effects populations, if you ask the biologists in charge (I have) the answers you get are insane, it is political suicide here to say we have a predator problem so they don't! I wont bore you guys anymore with this it really drives me nuts! remember the chisana herd we share!! very good example. Anyway a young man I knew (His dad owned the fishing lodge i now run, and he grew up there when I was guiding for his dad) went to school at UAF and is now a biologist in AK. anyone know him?? hes from North dakota and has done some work up on the brooks range with birds.
_________________________
do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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#1630132 - 12/02/09 05:11 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254]
white17 Online   content

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15111
Loc: McGrath, AK
We hear ya about predators and not mentioning them.

We have a similar thing going on about bears. Shooting boars only might actually lead to an increase in the bear population and thus more predation on moose calves. I think we need to take sows and cubs for a few years. But when you bring it up some people look at you like you're Jack the Ripper.
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Mean As Nails

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#1630135 - 12/02/09 05:12 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: white17]
mtbadger Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 2293
Loc: Montana
That sounds like the right kind of thinking....^^^^
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Ordinary men can do extrodinary things....

Always looking for Bridger #3OS and 1.65OS

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#1630157 - 12/02/09 05:18 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
yukon254. One of the few things in my life that I am proud of is the fact that I was able to avoid being a supervisor in ADF&G and being able to stay in the field.

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#1630836 - 12/02/09 08:52 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
W17 you are right about the bears, just imagine being on the border with the NWT where they cant hunt grizzly! When I lived in BC they went from a 2 bear (black) limit to 5 as they knew they had a problem with calf mortality due to bear predation. It was a good decision and worked, but would never happen now.
_________________________
do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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#1631993 - 12/03/09 01:09 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254]
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1855
Loc: juneau, alaska
Some here may recall the white-footed marten I caught last year that had an ADFG tag in it's ear. It was repeatedly getting caught in a bio's gulo sets, (box-type trap), and so was "manually re-located".
I ended up catching him about 10-12 miles from the release site days after his re-location.
Hard to say if he was going to take up residence or passing through, but was caught in a set that usually produces annually.
_________________________
Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
Carl Sagan.

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#1632098 - 12/03/09 02:23 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
Was white-foot halfway between the Gulo trap and the release site? Perhaps headed home? Interesting.

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#1632304 - 12/03/09 04:09 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
Hupurest
Unregistered


here is something interesting for you Marten "nerds"

http://www.trapperman.com/forum/ubbthrea...ack.html#UNREAD

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