Fisher

(Martes pennanti)

Habitat and Biology:
Fishers usually live in mature and old growth conifer forests. During the winter they are more likely to use younger forests. They need snags (dead trees) or large down trees for dens where they raise their young. Fisher diets are quite varied. They eat snowshoe hares, porcupines, squirrels, mice, birds and berries, and scavenge deer carcasses. They don't catch fish.

Management:
Fishers need holes in large trees or snags for dens where they give birth to their young, which are called kits. These cavities are often excavated by pileated woodpeckers, so managing for fishers includes managing for pileated woodpeckers. Logging, fuels treatments and other forest management practices should maintain large trees for fisher habitat. Although fisher trapping is not legal in Idaho, fishers occasionally die in traps set for pine marten or coyotes.

Interesting Facts:

  • "Fisher" may have come from the French word "fichet" which is the term for the pelt of the European polecat.
  • Fishers were so abundant in North Idaho in the late 1800s that one trapper trapped 50 fishers in one winter.
  • Fishers occasionally move over 60 miles (97 km).


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