Martens are a member of the weasel family, and although they're cute, they do make a mess if they get inside. It wouldn'd be so bad if they were toilet trained.
This fall we discovered that there were martens dining and living in the "store," over in the townsite. We had a small trap at the lodge, but it was too small for the marten. We found this homemade trap at the lodge, which we modified and baited up. To our surprise, it caught a marten. The town caretakers, Keith and Jackie, called me on the VHF radio, and because we have a bigger and faster skiff, we became the Marten Mobile and went over to pick up Mac.
Jen and I ran Mac out to a remote part of the bay.
It's an ugly spot, but we thought it would make a good marten home.
Mac Marten thought so too and took off, running up into the woods, as soon as the door was open.
After that, we didn't catch any more martens in the old trap, but we could see them (and their messes) inside the store. They're not particularly shy--I went in one day and a marten just sort of followed me around. We ordered some new traps, and a few weeks later, we were back in business. This trap houses Rowan, marten Number Two.
Each day we'd get a call on the VHF, and would run over to pick up that day's marten for relocation. We called this guy Artie, Number Three.
We caught six marten in six days and were running out of Laugh In names and places to release them.
I wonder why they put this warning on here, "Caution: always wear heavy gloves when transporting trapped animals." Good idea, because these guys scream and snarl and come after you if you get too close to the cage. I've been told they spray, too, but we never experienced that.
On day seven, we caught two!
We found a new spot to release them, farther away, Numbers Seven and Eight.
Catching eight marten in seven days made us a little suspicious. Were these guys making their way back to the store? We spray painted these two so we could recognize them if they returned. I discovered that it's not that easy to spray paint a marten when the old paint can is at 32 degrees, the marten won't stay still, and you're "wearing heavy gloves for transporting trapped animals."
Just a hint of paint, so we can tell the ones who return to the store. Away goes Number Seven.
Number Eight couldn't wait to get out!
But he knew what to do once he got loose!
Looking back to the skiff from the safety of the rocks.
When Marten Number Nine was trapped (better pronounced "Nummba Nyan") a day later, our suspicions were confirmed. This little guy had a whisper of white paint on his fur. Number Nine was actually Number Seven or Eight, but we fondly called him Nummba Nyan.
In less than 24 hours this marten had traveled several miles (three mountains, two lonnng arms of water, a salt chuck, and a river) from across the bay to return to his beloved B&B (bread and butter)! As you look at this photo, look at the mountain peak on the right, then follow down the slope to the left, all the way down to the point in the distance. NN would have returned from that far locale, running all the way along the shore towards the right, continuing out of the photo through more terrain and water and circling around behind us, finally arriving at the townsite behind the skiff as it's positioned in this photo. We were stunned that these guys can cover so much ground so quickly!
Feral decided to keep her distance when Nummba Nyan stopped by for a taste of jam. We'd been told that raspberry jam is supposed to calm martens down. I only had strawberry jam, and it did calm him down--until I tried to take away the spoon.
The following day our Marten Mobile was again summoned, and who do you think it was waiting for us? Nummba Nyan! Amazing. Off we shuttled him again, this time out of the bay entirely and out to a spot in Chatham Strait.
Several days went by before we found one more trapped marten. This one was a newbie, and I spray painted Number Eleven with blue. So, we have ended up trapping a total of eleven marten (although three of them were Nummba Nyan). We haven't caught any in the last week or so and have discontinued baiting the traps. If we see any evidence that they're back in residence (scattered oatmeal and hot chocolate, among other types of scat), we'll start up again.