Andy's Track & Trails
The fisher was in a number 3 victor offset round jaw coil spring trap with 4 feet extension chain and two prong grapples. When I got about 40 feet away, I stopped to look at the set. Which I did every day to check it. I could see the 5-gallon pail was slightly moved only, and there were numerous tracks around it. The set was made under an uprooted tree where a cedar swamp met a highland ridge. It was on public state trust land about 100 feet from a county road. On top of the ridge was another similar set made by my last year’s student, Brett Dancker. Beaver meat was used for bait. I had placed the ribs of a deer I shot there about two weeks before the season, and when we made the sets, no sign of the ribs was there. The year before, we made two sets on top of the ridge. The carcass of a deer, after the meat was removed, was placed there. When we set it last year, a large fisher had torn the deer in half, breaking the backbone and dragging it halfway down the ridge to the swamp’s edge. This year we decided to put one set on the ridge top and one on the swamp’s edge. Little did I know until I got by the bucket on Christmas Day that the trap had connected until I pulled on the chain that went under the uprooted tree cavity. It pulled back, and I heard a growl. The tracks around were of a very large fisher I knew we had him. I had my camera along and looked in the cavity-like cave under the uprooted tree, and it was too dark to see it. When I took the picture, the flash didn’t go off as it was in the daylight, although I could see his eye reflection. I was in a hurry it was Christmas morning, and I was going to relatives for Christmas dinner. I pulled on the trap chain a second time and got the trap back enough to see the long large tail of a large fisher and then a glimpse of the trap. The trap had a very good hold of one of the back feet. Grasping the single-bit axe I had with one hand, I pulled it some more on the chain with the other. Then like a blur, he came out of the cavity on the attack. Startled, I put my right foot out to try to ward him off as I was afraid he might try to climb up me. Instead, he bit the heavy muck boots I had on, and I could feel him put tremendous pressure. It didn’t hurt; it just amazed me how much strength he had. I carefully hit him on the back of the head with my single-bit axe, which wasn’t enough to kill him. So, I hit a second time harder and with more urgency. Luckily, I hit him good this time. He released his grip and feel him get limp. After I got my composure back and knew he was for sure dead, I took my boot off and saw blood on my white tube socks. He had drawn blood. If you want, I can tell you about the muskrat trapping, although I need to get on other projects today. No sign of predation or at least holes in the muskrat houses when we set them.