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Marten Aging Project

Alberta Furbearer Project Update - November 2019

A poster presentation of the marten aging results was presented at the International American Fisheries Society & The Wildlife Society 2019 Joint Conference held September 29–October 3 in Reno, Nevada. This large conference drew in over 5,000 fisheries and wildlife attendees. We received lots of interest and positive feedback on our marten project. Many were impressed by the ease of the marten aging method and the accuracy of results, and were somewhat entertained that Canada has a coin called a “Toonie.”

Marten Aging Results Go International
Alberta Trappers Association

With lab confirmed marten ages, we were able to move forward with some data analysis.


We plotted the lab-determined age distribution of 832 marten submitted by participating registered Alberta trappers in 2017/18.

Interestingly, it appears that only 30 percent of the marten submitted lived beyond the age of one, but the average age was actually near two.

Approximately 60 percent of the catch were male, which some research suggests is a good percentage to target for sustainability.

Also at the conference, ACA representatives attended other trapping-related workshops including “Trapping Matters—Effectively Communicating Wildlife Management.” It concluded with some key messages on trapping:

1) Regulated trapping does not cause wildlife to become threatened or endangered

2) Trapping is managed through scientifically based regulations that are strictly enforced by trained conservation officers;

3) Wildlife agencies continually review and develop rules, regulations, education programs, and capture methods that consider animal welfare;

4) Regulated trapping provides many benefits, including (in certain situations)—reducing wildlife damage to crops and property, reducing threats to human health and safety; and

5) Most of the animal can be used: clothing, food, or other useful products.

Some tips for communicating effectively included the following:

1) Use the key messages described above;

2) Be respectful, listen politely, and acknowledge that there are people who have other points of view;

3) Be professional and speak in a conversational tone, even if you disagree on certain topics; and

4) Show that you care about wildlife.

ACA representatives also attended the “Animal Capture Techniques for Researchers and Managers” workshop. Various topics were covered including issues in furbearer management, uses of furbearers, principles of furbearer management, and best management practices. Trapping using a variety of foothold traps, cable restraint devices, cage traps etc. were also demonstrated. 

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