The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local Sports

March 7, 2013

The Fisher has moved into the Western New York area

Medina Journal-Register — A couple of years ago I wrote a column titled “A Unique Furbearer Moving This Way” about the fisher, an animal that is normally found in the Adirondack and Catskill areas. In that article it was also mentioned that they were starting to move into the Finger Lake region and maybe someday we would get established in our area. Well that must be happening because on the weekend of February 23 of this year two fishers were hit on the roads over by Oakfield. The weird thing was that one of them was hit on Fisher Road!

The “fisher cat,” as it is sometimes called, has been increasing it’s range and population. Trapping them has been allowed for many years in the Adirondacks and Catskills, where their numbers have been stable, but not in Western New York State.

This animal is a dark colored member of the weasel family that weights between five and fifteen pounds with the males being on the heavier side. They look similar to their smaller cousin, the marten (2 to 3 pounds), with their long bushy tail and short legs. They are about 3 to 4-foot long depending on the sex, the males being longer of course. The feet are wide and have semi-retractable claws and the hind feet can almost be rotated 180 degrees. This foot characteristic makes them very adaptable to climbing trees.

The fur varies from a dark brown to almost black with a “grizzly” appearance because of the various shades of color of the guard hairs around the neck and shoulders. The most recent value average of their pelt is around $156.

The “fisher cat”, as sometimes called by the local folks in the Adirondacks, prefers large wooded areas especially forests that are a mix of conifers and deciduous trees.

They eat a large variety of things from small animals to soft mast such as berries, beechnuts and acorns. They will also feed on carrion such as deer remains. This animal also has the distinction of being one of the only animals that will intentionally attack, kill and eat a porcupine.

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