Friday, January 18, 2013

Tracking A Fisher, Part Two

   We followed Fisher tracks through this heavily forested stream valley in North-central Pennsylvania.  It is surprising what you can learn about a creature  -without actually seeing it-  by tracking it through the snow.
Fisher habitat in Pennsylvania
 The Fisher's tracks were fairly large with five prominent toe/claw marks.  This photo of the Fisher tracks is framed in approximately eight inches by one foot.
Fisher tracks in snow
 The footprints could almost look like little bear tracks.

Many of the tracks we found showed the Fisher's 2x2 lope.  We could picture the Fisher bounding through the woods similar to the way a very large mink or giant weasel would travel.
Fisher tracks - 2x2 lope
 Here is a photo of one set of tracks from its 2x2 lope.
 Each set of 2x2 footprints were about two feet apart.  We found a few places where it jumped much farther.  We could imagine the Fisher bopping along at a good rate of speed.
We could also see the Fisher is a lively, lithe critter by the way it navigated obstacle like these branches.  The Fisher just jumped up on the branch and back off of it as a matter of course.
 Here in this photo it did the same thing... the Fisher bounded from the foreground up onto the log and then proceeded to jump down under the next one.
 Again the Fisher demonstrated its liveliness by jumping from the creek bank onto a log and then onto another log which it then used for a bridge over the creek.
 We noticed the Fisher commonly runs on logs just like our log-running Bobcat.
Fisher tracks on log

fisher tracks on snow-covered log
  The Fisher is an inquisitive creature, from the way its tracks recorded its investigation of the upturned roots of a windfall as well as holes in the stream bank.
   We could also tell the Fisher liked these trees pictured in the background.  We surmised that because there were tracks running around in various directions.  We could also tell that it had climbed one of the trees... one with a squirrel's nest near the top.
Yes, tracking the fisher was educational and rewarding...
.... it's almost as if we were privileged to see one.
Perhaps soon we will, for the Fisher's territory here in this rugged, forested part of Pennsylvania isn't far from home.


  1. Don't know how I missed this post Dana. I really like the shot with the red lines indicating the Fisher's path.

    1. Sybil,
      The red lines are illustrative of the Fisher's character, I reckon, and they animate an otherwise dull shot.
      The tracks were hard to see in most of my pictures. In some of the photos I tried to enhance the track's visibility... like the ones where the Fisher was running on a log. Other photos, like the ones that showed where the fisher had jumped about four feet, weren't worth posting.
      Maybe next time we track a Fisher the lighting will be better for photos.