Many demographic parameters of imperiled fishers (Martes pennanti) in the Pacific Northwest remain poorly understood but are necessary to develop conservation strategies; herein we report on fisher reproduction, recruitment, and dispersal on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, California, to help fill key knowledge gaps. Forty radiocollared, breeding-age females exhibited denning behavior on 80 (87%) of 92 opportunities between 2005 and 2011. Twenty-eight female fishers weaned offspring in 55 (65%) of 85 adequately monitored denning opportunities. Two-year-old female fishers were less likely than older females to den and wean kits. We counted 52, and extracted and marked 51, kits comprising 28 litters of 19 females between 2005 and 2008. Average litter size was 1.9 kits (27 females, 24 males, and 1 unknown) 4–12 weeks postbirth. Mean distances between natal dens and centroids of newly established ranges for 7 juvenile females was 4.0 km (range = 0.8–18.0 km); this distance for 1 male was 1.3 km. The recruitment rate of juveniles that successfully established a home range per adult female was 0.19 (0.16 for females and 0.02 for males). Our results suggest that managers should work toward increasing female survival rates and consider translocations to increase and expand existing fisher populations.
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Vol. 94 • No. 1