Scent-Marked

Today I found myself attempting a walk-in on one of our females.  When I estimated I was getting close (<50m) to where she was, I got out my binoculars and scanned the surrounding trees.  I have a bad habit of trying to guess what tree the fisher is going to be in before actually seeing the animal (and I am rarely correct).  I saw a tree about 30m ahead that looked good, so I headed that way.  After 10m, I stopped again to scan the tree with the binoculars to see if I could see her or any possible cavities/nests she might be in.  No such luck.

18871 at one of her dens in May 2011

Just then it suddenly began to rain.  I looked up to see a fine mist coming down.  The weather reports hadn’t mentioned a very high chance of precipitation today, but I’ve learned not to put much faith in any weather predictions of the study area.  At the same time I also noticed the distinct smell of fisher.  I figured I must be getting close…wait a minute…it’s not raining anywhere else…then it hit me…literally!  I looked up again to see a fisher tail straight above, and round two raining down on me.  I’d been scent marked!

The culprit of the sudden downpour was 18871, a three year old female.  This fisher was released in December 2010, had two kits in the spring, and has basically occupied the same area since shortly after release.  She was resting up in a nest at the top of a 40ft white pine.  Her behavior indicated she obviously wasn’t happy that I was close to her, but I wasn’t very thankful for the present either!  She was very vocal and moved through the canopy over to a tree further away before climbing down and making her escape. Since she seemed to be agitated by my presence, we will avoid any walk-ins on her for a while.

Anyway, thought you might get a kick out of today’s misfortunes.  I better go take a shower.

 

Kevin

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