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#1623140 - 11/29/09 01:51 PM Marten thread
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1855
Loc: juneau, alaska
Just saw W17's post regarding marten pops, and agree. Here on the S.E. mainland, marten numbers appear to be down. I suspect that the last three tough winters had something to do with it. Voles have been trending down, though I'm seeing a bit more from them this year, and hope the marten follow suit.
I'm letting a portion of my marten line fallow this year, but will set a small area and keep track of pertinent data.
Be nice to compare notes with others here.
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Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
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#1623437 - 11/29/09 04:23 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking]
3 Fingers Offline
trapper

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 529
Loc: alaska
My 2 cents on my area. Tributary of central Yukon river. Just spent a few weeks out there but only had snow for the last two. Vole populations were up in the bottom lands which flooded more than normal last spring. Marten sign seemed to be in the middle of highs and lows experienced over the years. Just slightly down from last year, but hard to tell over a short period of time as they often come through in waves, and were absent during the cold spell (Nov 15-22). Of the 9 I caught, 7 males,2 females. Best estimate is 2 were YOY. 4 were over 2-3 years but none were the grizzled old timers like I saw a lot of last year. On another note, I picked up a nice large gulo the first week (first check of that set) but he's not very prime. Had some partly healed bites on the top of his head and base of his tail, as if the wolves played a little tug of war.

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#1623455 - 11/29/09 04:34 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: 3 Fingers]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
Here in the Yukon most trappers have VHF radios and talk every night, so i am in contact with quite a few, ALL in the southeast (best marten country the yukon has) are reporting very low numbers, one trapper up on the Hess is reporting lots of marten this year. I think we are in the bottom of the marten cycle and the population will start the rebound next year. Lots of cats here this year on the lines that have them.
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#1623458 - 11/29/09 04:36 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: 3 Fingers]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15102
Loc: McGrath, AK
Thanks Jarl, I'm going to try to keep a spreadsheet on what is reported so the more detail the better.
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#1625287 - 11/30/09 12:42 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: white17]
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1855
Loc: juneau, alaska
Here I believe the vole is the primary food source for marten, though I'm sure they are an opportunist and will eat what they can catch.
I'm curious what the main cause of mortality is for voles. I would assume climatic conditions play a big role, particularly for re-production.
Also, with the past three years being record and near record snow fall, would that affect availability of voles for marten?
_________________________
Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
Carl Sagan.

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#1625305 - 11/30/09 12:55 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15102
Loc: McGrath, AK
I would bet that water is the main cause of mortality in voles in large numbers over large areas. Either drowning in their holes in the spring or just being wet and suffering hypothermia. Particularly where young are concerned.

I would think that deep snow would not be any barrier to marten in accessing voles. The consistency of the snow may have a effect greater than snow depth. Wet, heavy, dense snow would not be conducive to living and traveling under the snow like light dry snow is. One insulates much better also. Just my guesses on the subject
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#1625312 - 11/30/09 01:02 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: white17]
piperniner Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 1275
Loc: Alaska
Good guess.

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#1625336 - 11/30/09 01:16 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: piperniner]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
I'll interject my two-cents worth. For years in Alaska, I monitored small mammal relative abundance based on thousands of trapnights during the late summer with mouse traps (museum specials) in all kinds of habitats. Unlike in northern Europe and Asia where the voles are cyclic (that is, they have predictable 3-year cycles)there did not appear to be predictable cycles in Alaska. Rather, highs and lows were often with a 10-times difference (100 captures one year, 10 the next). I'm of the strong opinion, that early spring thaws (notably when chinooks blow through in February/March) are responsible for loss of vole populations. As suggested by White17, the subnivean (under-snow) tunnels get wet, the voles get wet, and they subsequently die of exposure.

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#1625355 - 11/30/09 01:26 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1855
Loc: juneau, alaska
That would make sense. I had at least 8 feet of snow pack prior to thaw this past winter, and so would conject that the thaw period was prolonged to the point were the ground was wet for a considerable time. Most of my line courses through a valley system, although it does run from sea level to about 800 ft.
I wonder if I might find higher marten numbers up on the higher elevations rather than in the bottoms?
_________________________
Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
Carl Sagan.

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#1625454 - 11/30/09 02:31 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: alaska viking]
3 Fingers Offline
trapper

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 529
Loc: alaska
AV, I find marten activity more consistant at higher elevations, although that is partially due to temp inversions which are probably more common than in SE.

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#1625790 - 11/30/09 05:23 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: 3 Fingers]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
they did a study here and found highest marten numbers at higher elevations,(4500 ft)
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#1626567 - 11/30/09 08:44 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: yukon254]
chessielover Offline
trapper

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 172
Loc: lk louise Ak
Got out my east trapline 2 weeks ago after a good snowfall and had martin running everywhere, in that time ihave hardly seen any new sign and only picked up 2.

In my notes My most productive sets are between 2650 to 2750 ft with treeline around 3300 - 3400 feet.

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#1627915 - 12/01/09 04:46 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: chessielover]
takotna Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 1200
Loc: Takotna AK
Hey W17, I aged the marten that are skinned,

Adult 13m, 0fm

yearling 16m, 1fm

YOY 3m, 5fm

For what it's worth, last yr we were discussing right/left handed marten so a couple days ago when I went out to set more I made it for they would be all be front foot catches and yesterday 4 were left and 3 right handed.LOL

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#1628015 - 12/01/09 05:33 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: takotna]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
White17, takotna, et al.....
I find it very interesting that you all are assigning age classes to harvested marten. What are you using as criteria for separating YOY from ADU animals. Tell me you're NOT using the masseter muscle closure method on the sagittal crest. While this works 90+% of the time on males, it's much less precise on females. Please tell me you are using the supra-sesamoid tubercle on the femur. It's 100% for both males and females. Unfortunately, requires that the femur be cleaned, but is a LOT more precise. You can say, "what the heck..." but 90% just don't cut it and even worse, 75% on females is goin' to get you into trouble...

That said, I loudly applaud your efforts to "manage" your lines in a responsible way. Beats the heck out of the management agency (ADF&G in this case) screwing around with season lengths, opening/closing dates, etc. If a trapper wants to manage his line based on year-to-year fluctuations, more power to 'em, and he'll end up with more marten in the long run.

If y'all want a real diatribe on marten management, tweak my tailfeathers a bit more and I'll give you what I know after closely following marten populations for a couple decades and necropsying several thousand critters.

Have I bitten off more than I can chew?


Edited by Gulo (12/01/09 05:34 PM)

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#1628032 - 12/01/09 05:38 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
Gulo Offline
"On The Other Hand"

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 116
Loc: Idaho
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...

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#1628052 - 12/01/09 05:45 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
Pittu Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 895
Loc: Alaska
Tweek,Tweek....the silent are listening...

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#1628119 - 12/01/09 06:03 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Pittu]
bearbait Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: North Pole Alaska
I caught 1 marten last year so anyone needing advice please ask away.
_________________________
Eat, Drink, and don't be a Mary.

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#1628129 - 12/01/09 06:07 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: bearbait]
mtbadger Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 2293
Loc: Montana
BB what is the best set and bait/lure for the many marten you have caught...lol
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Ordinary men can do extrodinary things....

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#1628236 - 12/01/09 06:32 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: mtbadger]
bearbait Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 1991
Loc: North Pole Alaska
My best marten bait last year was a lynx carcass but unfortunately it resulted in a %100 female catch rate.
_________________________
Eat, Drink, and don't be a Mary.

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#1628376 - 12/01/09 07:20 PM Re: Marten thread [Re: Gulo]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 15102
Loc: McGrath, AK
Originally Posted By: Gulo
White17, takotna, et al.....
I find it very interesting that you all are assigning age classes to harvested marten. What are you using as criteria for separating YOY from ADU animals. Tell me you're NOT using the masseter muscle closure method on the sagittal crest. While this works 90+% of the time on males, it's much less precise on females. Please tell me you are using the supra-sesamoid tubercle on the femur. It's 100% for both males and females. Unfortunately, requires that the femur be cleaned, but is a LOT more precise. You can say, "what the heck..." but 90% just don't cut it and even worse, 75% on females is goin' to get you into trouble...

That said, I loudly applaud your efforts to "manage" your lines in a responsible way. Beats the heck out of the management agency (ADF&G in this case) screwing around with season lengths, opening/closing dates, etc. If a trapper wants to manage his line based on year-to-year fluctuations, more power to 'em, and he'll end up with more marten in the long run.

If y'all want a real diatribe on marten management, tweak my tailfeathers a bit more and I'll give you what I know after closely following marten populations for a couple decades and necropsying several thousand critters.

Have I bitten off more than I can chew?


We are not going to tell you that.

How much chew have you bitten?

Yep we are using masseter muscle closure method because I don't know of anyone except you and Barb that will remove and clean all those femurs. As I recall I never measured a male femur that was less than 80 mm and never found a female femur that was nearly that long. More like 60+ mm for the girls.

What are the criteria by which we can age, based on the tubercle ? Diameter, cross section ?? Or, is it just the presence or absence of the tubercle that determines adult from juvie ? Talk to us bro.
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