Winter food habits, responses to snow cover and movements of Fisher (Martes pennanti) and Marten (Martes americana) in southeastern Manitoba

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Raine, Robert Michael
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A trailing and radiotelemetry study of fisher and marten was conducted from August, 1978 to August 1980 in the boreal forest of southeastern Manitoba. Snowshoe hares composed 81% of the winter diet of fisher and 53% of the diet of marten. Marten displayed more subnivean and arboreal activity, and ate more microtines and squirrels than did fisher. Fisher ate marten twice. Both fisher and marten were found to pursue hares actively for distances of up to 1 km. Fisher were found to be restricted by the soft, thick snow cover that was present during midwinter. Fewer tracks were observed at this time, and fisher travelled upon snowshoe hare trails and their own trails to a greater extent than in either the early winter period of thin snow cover or the late winter period of crust conditions. Fisher were also found to walk through the snow cover and leave a body drag in midwinter...