Fisher caught on video in Plummer’s Hollow
Another great game cam moment from Troy and Paula. We’ve had fishers on the mountain for at least seven years now — here’s Marcia’s column about the first sightings — but this is the first video footage (there was one blurry still photo from another game cam earlier this year). The fisher seems simultaneously frightened and fascinated by the swinging deer carcasses that the Scotts used as bait.
Fishers, of course, had been extirpated from the state for over a hundred years, and were reintroduced by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 1994. Wildlife biologist Tom Serfass, who consulted on the reintroduction, told our Audubon chapter at a program last spring that Blair County fishers were more likely to be from a southern population started by a smaller reintroduction effort in West Virginia a decade earlier.
The West Virginia reintroduction project came to halt due to public concern about fishers carrying off children, something they have never been known to do. The Pennsylvania program, by contrast, was hugely popular, possibly in part because the PGC did a better job in selling it to the public in advance, saying that fishers would help keep the porcupines under control, and thus protect trees. In fact, we did find several porcupine carcasses the winter and spring after our first fisher sighting… but we do still have plenty of porcupines. We are more anxious to see them kill off the feral housecats, which are continually restocked here by barn cats in Sinking Valley. Between the fishers, the coyotes and the great-horned owls, it’s a wonder any cats survive at all, but one or two always do.
Troy and Paula say their next goal is to get footage of a bobcat or a coyote. But who knows — someday maybe they’ll get a cougar on film, too!