Set on Sign When Trapping Marten


This is an excerpt from Cary Rideout’s article “Trapping Marten,” which appeared in the November 2013 Trapper & Predator Caller issue.

By Cary Rideout

The most productive way to trap sables is probably to set on sign since they generally use the same travel routes. Although it takes some serious scouting, it can save time over just randomly scattering traps.

Scouting in the March snow can reveal which directions the sables are traveling. After you have identified the tracks, which resemble those of a big weasel, you can use a GPS or accurate map to carefully mark all sign. Don’t blaze trees or make any identifying marks that might attract attention. Follow the tracks back 100 yards in both directions and look for a place to set traps next fall.

Always set two traps right on sign a couple hundred yards apart since several marten might be traveling the same route. I use a running pole set on one side and another trap lower, perhaps on a stump. It’s sort of a high/low set. Marten are pretty bold, but you will get refusals. By setting two ways, you offer a choice that might connect. I vary baits between traps as well. You can also set a dirthole between the marten sets to pick up the canines or bobcats that are curious about the marten box.

Occasionally, a trapper will hit a corner territory where several sable ranges border each other. In this case, a lot of fur can be harvested, but use care not to over trap these locations. I carefully keep track of the male-to-female catch ratio. If the catch is running to mostly females or that year’s young, I pull the line. With the excellent prices sable bring and the ease of harvesting them, it pays to use a lot of discretion.


Tom Berg’s full story appeared in the November 2013 issue of Trapper & Predator Caller.

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