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The Vinalhaven Sightings Report is organized and edited by Kirk Gentalen on behalf of Vinalhaven Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Out and about on Vinalhaven, MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen reports on what he and others have seen in their travels. Contributions of stories and photos are welcome, and can be sent to


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings report – all Fisher edition.

Brought to you with the support of MCHT and VLT
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hope you like pictures of fisher!

The word of this post is “Macked”, or “macking”, or I guess simple old “Mack”. Meaning to eat voraciously, usually for an extended period of time or until the food is all gone…quickly. “Man, you macked that veggie burger”.

the fisher is chewing on a deer leg bone in the snow.
this is macking

Let’s be clear on this – nothing in this VSR happened on Vinalhaven. This is a continuation of the VSR posted today? Or Yesterday?. There simply was not enough room for the 40+ Fisher pictures included here. I don’t know where else I can put these, and many of them are cute, so here we go!



To get more of the complete story about this event check out the last two VSRs. The pictures in this VSR are all from Tenants Harbor, and all within walking distance of my house. I took none of these shots, all I did was put up the camera. The rest is luck.


The condensed version of the story is this – I tracked a fisher in the snow on December 23rd. The trail led me to a dead buck in the snow. I put the trail camera up and got pictures of a phat raccoon and a silly snowshoe hare. It got cold and nothing visited the dead deer.
Then it got warm. I put the camera back up on January 2nd, and on the night of January 3rd the fisher returned and macked on the deer for about 2 hours. It came back two mornings later for more macking and better light for the photos. When I retrieved the camera there were 1320 pictures registered. I was excited because I could see the fisher tracks in the snow and knew at least some were going to be of the fisher. It ended up that 1300 photos of the fisher were there. And 20 pictures of my mug putting up and taking down the camera. Needless to say, the fisher shots were the cutest ones on the camera that day.
sniffin' my snowshoe track


And so – the first thing the fisher did when it returned to the deer was to sniff out my snowshoe tracks. From 36 hours before! I made sure not to leave my trademark “coffee stain” spill in the snow there, but apparently the scent of my regular snowshoe was enough.


Got me thinking just how many animals recognize my coffee smell out in the woods.


The fisher was very aware of smells and sounds nearby. Many times in the course of the two hour feast it stopped to sniff the air.  Got to be alert.


The fisher started its feast at the rear of the deer, which had been opened previously. This is classic (or so I have read) as the butt of a carcass is the easiest way to get to the meat inside. Note that for when you are starving and find a nice carcass to mack on.


This fisher chewed on the leg bones for a bit before opening up a new hole in the carcass at the deer’s chest.



From here the photos are partially blocked by the carcass itself, which is cool. I skipped a lot of pictures where the fisher’s back is all that can be seen. But the fisher continually took breaks to sniff out the scene, and looked up often to see if anything was moving in the area


there were several shots of the fisher with its head face first
into the carcass and its back arched as its pulling meat and
goodies from the carcass

and of course it kept coming back to sniff the zone

the fisher is on its back rolling in the snow.
the snow was majorly stained afterword.
that's it left back leg in the air

Some of my favorite photos here are of the fisher rolling  in the snow next to the deer. Was it rolling to get the scent of the deer in its fur or was it rolling to mark the deer as its own? Probably a combination of the two, but the dirty snow left behind was too similar to the rolling marks in the original trail I followed on the 23rd to deny that at least some of the stain in the snow came from the fisher itself!


cute paw!
clear paw


paw, tail, and butts up!

there were many breaks from marking and eating
to look around
and as if that weren't enough.....

The morning of the 5th the fisher returned for a quick snack and registered some of the better lit photos included here. Sometimes I think the way the fisher’s paws are hanging when it stands up it should have a piano in from of him. More ol’ timey western saloon type piano scene than Elton Johnny, big glasses piano type. I guess that goes without saying.


reminds me of ralph the dog.
without the floppy ears of course

big sniff

needless to say, the camera is back up on the deer.....can't wait to see what shows up next!