Changes in the Fisher Population

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What Drives Changes in the Fisher Population in the Northern Zone?

DEC Embarks on Fisher Demographics Project

The New York State Fisher Management Plan, adopted in 2016, outlined the goals and objectives for fisher management for the next 10 years. The plan highlighted high-priority research needs including determining factors influencing recent changes in the Central Adirondack fisher population.

To better understand what drives changes in fisher populations in the Central Adirondacks specifically, and more widely across the Northern Zone, from 2019-21 DEC will partner with researchers at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry to estimate key demographic parameters for fishers including adult survival and reproductive rates. Fishers will be live-trapped, adult females will be fitted with GPS collars, and adult males will be fitted with conventional VHF collars. Juveniles will be ear-tagged only.

GPS collars on adult female fisher will be used to locate and monitor maternal dens. The combination of real-time GPS location data as well as trail cameras deployed at maternal den sites will be used to estimate kit production and survival. These den attendance patterns will be examined relative to conditions that may influence kit survival such as temperature, snow, and storm events. Location and activity data from these collars will also be used to monitor adult fisher habitat use and survival.

Ultimately, data on the reproductive potential of Northern Zone fisher populations and a better understanding of population dynamics will be used to inform season setting and ensure sustainable harvest opportunities for this important furbearer resource.

Report Your Furbearer Sightings!

DEC wants to learn more about the occurrence of various furbearers throughout New York such as bobcat, otter, fisher, weasel, and snowshoe hare. Your observations help biologists understand the distribution and abundance of these elusive or inconspicuous mammals.

You can report your observations online, and you can even include photos!

Go to www.dec.ny.gov/animals/30770.html or e-mail us at wildlife@dec.ny.gov!

Thanks for your help!