Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Unwelcome Visitor

Friends of ours have been having a problem for awhile now with at least one unwanted visitor. Something kept killing their ducks. The odd time a chicken was taken, but mostly it was ducks. They would go out to feed the animals in the morning and either find duck body parts or later in the day, a duck would go missing.

Whatever it was took a Lot of Ducks, 12 in total, if I remember correctly.

The other day, we were visiting and they happened to mention they thought they had solved their duck problem.

So what is this in the picture below?

It's a Marten.

Here's what has to say about Martens:


The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press. (Hide copyright information) Copyright

marten name for carnivorous, largely arboreal mammals (genus Martes ) of the weasel family, widely distributed in North America, Europe, and central Asia. Martens are larger, heavier-bodied animals than weasels, with thick fur and bushy tails. Members of most species are brown above and light-colored below. The American marten, Martes americana, also called American pine marten and American, or Hudson Bay, sable, is from 20 to 25 in. (51-64 cm) long, including the 7- to 8-in. (18- to 20-cm) tail, and has yellow-brown fur. It lives in coniferous forests from Alaska to the extreme N United States, extending south in western mountain ranges. It is mostly nocturnal and spends much of the time in trees, where it leaps from branch to branch, although it also forages on the ground; it makes its den in a hollow tree or log. Its diet consists chiefly of small animals, especially red squirrels ( Tamiasciurus ), but it also eats berries and nuts. The other North American species, M. pennanti, is called fisher ; both are valued for their fur. Similar to the American marten are the European pine marten, M. martes, and the stone, or beech, marten, M. foina, of Europe and central Asia. The stone marten is grayish. The Siberian sable , M. zibellina, is a marten species that produces extremely valuable fur. The yellow-throated martens, M. flavigula of E Asia and M. gwatkinsi of S Asia, are patterned in shades of brown, yellow, and orange. Martens are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Mustelidae.

Our neighbours were going to dispose of it in the bush but the Gman offered to take it off their hands. I already knew what he was thinking - Slipper Liners!

Now, you might think this is terrible of our neighbour for killing the darn thing and terrible of us for wanting the pelt but this is part of living in the country. The wildlife is out there and believe me there is plenty to eat out there in the bush, even at this time of the year.

However, maybe this Marten was just passing through on his way to the Marten Hoe-Down or something when that flock of domesticated ducks caught his eye.

And where the problem started.

The problem didn't end until my friend actually saw the Marten in the chicken run and called for her husband. He came out with the .22 and already know the rest.

His sharp claws. You will likely never see a Marten in the wild, but if you do, don't antagonize it. They can be extremely mean. And of course, they have Sharp claws! All the better to shred you into pieces.

I'll spare showing the pictures of the skinning process. Part of the hide could just be peeled off - this Marten did not have much fat on him. He did however have a lot of meat. Of course he had been dining on duck for several weeks.

In order to tan the hide, Gman had to make sure to scrape all the bits of fat off the hide. Here you can see the ahem....bullet hole.

After scraping, Gman patted on a good layer of coarse salt.

Started rolling up the hide

tucking in the legs and rolling it securely.

Into a Ziplock bag it went, and then it got popped into the freezer. It can stay there for quite awhile, then the Gman will deal with it. More on that later.

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Unknown said...

Glad your friend found what was eating their flock. I've never seen a martin before it is pretty. Glad that it is being put to good use and can't hurt the flock anymore.

Linda Foley said...

Ya, that is what should be done with our critter eating varmints!

I'm very interested in what Gman does with that hide...

Jen said...

Ugh. We had a fisher kill our cat. They are similar to martens. Luckily nothing has made an attempt at our chicken fortress.

The Zany Housewife said...

Aha! I thought it was in the weasel family. Interesting pics. Glad the critter is going to be used further.

Tanya Murray said...

Glad you are keeping the pelt. So many good things to do with it.

Unknown said...

I've been lurking for a while now but feel compelled to say something after reading this post. I follow a quite a few homesteading blogs and yours is at the top of the list. I so deeply appreciate you sharing the romantic and especially the not-so-romantic aspects of living in the country, and just wanted to say Thank You for taking time out of your day to share it with us. If I ever had to move away from southern California I would move to the Cariboo Valley! Btw, it would be gruesome but in the spirit of keeping things real, I wouldn't have minded seeing photos of the skinning process.

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