A study is underway in the southwest Crown of the Continent ecosystem that attempts to gather more information on smaller, elusive predators such as wolverine, lynx and fisher . . .
A compact disc dangling from the branch of a lodgepole pine catches the morning sunlight and mimics the flash of a snowshoe hare, while the hindquarters of a road-kill deer wired to a nearby bear-rub tree will lure in a suite of small, elusive carnivores that range in the Swan Valley.
Wolverine, lynx and fisher will visit the “bait station,” which bristles with gun bore brushes that collect clumps of the critters’ fur. Subsequent DNA testing, to be completed this summer, will identify the individual animals and help establish a baseline for population and distribution of the three target species, as well as other small carnivores that sniff out the carrion – bobcat, coyote, fox, pine martens, and weasel.
Do fishers live in Glacier Park? Probably not, but there are a lot of good reasons to look . . .
After wading across the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in a pair of brand-new defective waders and skiing sodden-footed through a miles-long thicket of tangled deadfall, Glacier National Park wildlife biologist John Waller admits he may be chasing a phantom.
His research often requires skiing across 15 miles of steep, rugged terrain in a single day and working from dawn until dusk – a trying effort for what may prove to be the wildlife biologist’s equivalent of a snipe hunt. But even if the critter he’s pursuing eludes him, and even though the ultra-lightweight Hodgman waders he just bought are worthless, the scientific data Waller’s study will produce and the questions it may help answer are invaluable.
Glacier Park thinks they might have a few fishers living within their boundaries. Now, they are going to try to find out for sure . . .
Every year, Glacier National Park biologist John Waller gets about a half-dozen reports from people who claim to have seen a fisher in the Park.
But the reports don’t come with photos. A few years ago Waller tried setting up some “hair traps” in the Park in hopes of snaring some fisher hair in wire brushes, but to no avail.
Now the Park will give it one last go. Through a $20,000 grant from the Glacier National Park Fund, a Park-wide fisher survey using bait stations and camera traps will try to, once and for all, see if there are truly any fishers in Glacier Park.