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Marten Home Ranges and Population Fluctuations

Vernon D. Hawley, Fletcher E. Newby
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1376307 174-184 First published online: 27 May 1957

Live trapping was initiated in 1952 on a six square-mile area in Glacier National Park, Montana, to obtain quantitative ecological data on a population of marten (Martes americana). Field work for this report was conducted during the periods shown in Table 1. Investigation of marten ecology on the study area is continuing.

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Table 1

Field periods and trapping effort

Methods used and description of the study area were presented previously (Newby and Hawley, 1954). The 1954 progress report did not give final figures for the size of marten home ranges and gave little information on population dynamics. The present paper will discuss these aspects of the study based on the more extensive data now available.

Trapping Success

A total of 3,993 trap units was set during the study period, resulting in 525 captures of 85 marten (54 males and 31 females). Forty-nine marten, or 57.6 per cent, were recaptured at least once. The highest number of captures of one individual was 73 for an adult male over a period of 562 days. Male marten, with 391 captures, accounted for 74.4 per cent of the captures but composed only 62.3 per cent of the marten captured. The average trapping effort required to capture one marten was 7.6 trap units in total, but varied from 2.8 to 11.9 trap units per marten during the various quarterly periods. The winter period required the least trapping effort.

Home Range

Live trapping of marten produced quantitative information on their home range size and on their relationships with each other and with the habitat. Minimum home ranges were delineated by connecting the outside points of capture as plotted on a map prepared from aerial photographs (Fig. 1). Home range areas were obtained by the use of a planimeter. This method was used because it encloses an area within which the marten …

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