The New York Department of Environmental Conservation studies American marten (Martes americana) and Fisher (Martes pennanti) distribution and abundance. Trail camera surveys provide valuable data that contributes to population estimates and aids managers in setting yearly trapper limits. Each survey station is equipped with a trail camera pointed at bait (road killed deer or beaver) wrapped to a tree with chicken wire. Also used is a homemade scent lure which is derived from a skunk's anal gland, combined with vaseline. The Mustelids can detect this scent from several miles away.
Live trapping of Martens usually happens in the month of March, deep in heart of the Adirondacks. Traps are fitted with wool and evergreen boughs--for warmth and covered with a wooden or plastic "cubby". Branches are layered on top of the traps to protect them from the elements. Bait is either road kill, or a homemade special (sardines and jelly). Traps are checked daily once set. When retrieved from the trap, researchers collect biological data including weight, sex, and information on tooth wear. A hair sample is taken from the tail for later genetic analysis. Both of the marten's ears are fitted with a small State band for identification and future research purposes (recaptures can yield important information). Wildlife research technicians are properly trained to handle and process the live martens safely and efficiently. To find out more information about the conservation efforts of Martens in New York state, visit the American Marten Project.