Situations & Solutions

Fishers are secretive and elusive creatures. They keep their distance from humans and, unlike other wildlife such as squirrels, raccoons, and skunks, they do not den under buildings.

That being said, Fisher sightings have increased significantly since 2000, which may cause concern among homeowners. There may be a number of contributing factors for the increase of fisher sightings, among them:

  • The reforestation of land previously cleared for farming, particularly in central Massachusetts.
  • Habitat requirements of fishers are more flexible than was previously thought. Biologists assumed fishers could only survive in large, contiguous forests of mixed conifers and hardwoods. In recent years, fishers have begun to occupy second-growth forests (land cleared for farming and now reverting back to forests).
  • Trapping regulations may have affected the increase in fisher numbers. The Wildlife Protection Act (passed in Massachusetts in 1996), outlawed the use of leg hold traps and conibear (body gripping) traps in the state; thereby decreasing the number of fishers trapped by people.

Fishers and Small Animals

Fishers are known to prey on chickens, domestic cats, and, on rare occasions, small dogs. At night, chickens should be kept in a completely secured coop or barn. To protect cats, it is recommended that they be kept indoors.

Public Health

Fishers may carry ticks, fleas, and mange, and like all mammals they are susceptible to rabies. Learn More

Fishers and State Law

Relocating wildlife is illegal in Massachusetts. It is detrimental to the well-being of wildlife as well as the public. Learn More