The dead-fall and Garrote traps are very successful in trapping the martin. They should be set several rods apart, in the forest or on the banks of streams, and a trail established by dragging a dead or roasted crow, entrails of a bird, or fresh meat from one trap to another, as described in relation to the mink, page 190. The twitch-up may also be used, and possesses the additional advantage of acting as a spring pole, thus holding the captured victim out of reach of larger animals, to which it might otherwise become a prey. Any of the varieties described under the title of “twitch-up” will answer the purpose, and a little experimenting will soon prove which one will be the most successful for this particular animal. The bait may consist of a bird’s or fowl’s head, fish, liver, or any fresh meat or entrails.
The common box trap, page 103, or the box snare, page 56, may also be used to good purpose, but the former will need to be carefully watched lest the enclosed prisoner gnaw his way out and thus escape.
When the steel trap is employed, it should be of the size of Newhouse, No. 2-1/2, set on the ground beneath some rock, [Page 194] and covered with leaves, rotten wood, or earth, and the bait fastened or suspended about eighteen inches above it, in such a position that the animal will be obliged to step upon the trap in order to reach it. An enclosure may be constructed of stones piled together, the trap being set and covered in the opening and the bait secured at the back. A staked pen, such as is described on page 143, with the trap and bait arranged as there directed, also works well. Wherever or however the trap is set, the bait should be so placed that the animal cannot possibly climb on any neighboring object to reach it. The hollow of a tree trunk forms an excellent situation for the trap, and the same hollow may also be baited at the back and a dead-fall constructed across its opening. The box or barrel pit-fall, described on page 127, is said to be very successful in trapping the marten, always baiting it with the platform secure for a few days before setting for capture. The same methods directed for the capture of the mink are also useful in trapping the marten. The animal should be skinned as described for the fox.
This animal is classed among the martens, and is principally to be found in Canada and the Northern United States, where it is known as the black cat, or woodshock. In our natural histories it is described under the name of the pekan.
In general habits, this species resembles the other martens, but its body inclines more to the weasel shape. The fur is quite valuable, and much resembles the sable. Its color is generally of a greyish brown, the grey tint being found chiefly on the back, neck, head and shoulders, the legs, tail, and back of the neck being marked with dark brown. Like the marten, the fisher prowls by night, frequenting swampy places in quest of food.