Fisher Situations & Solutions

Fisher perched on top of a rock in a dense Massachusetts forest © Adam Grimm
Fisher © Adam Grimm

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 some homeowners.

There may be a number of contributing factors for the increase of fisher sightings, including:

  • 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 & 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.

Wildlife & Public Health

Good judgment will help eliminate the chances of people and wildlife coming in close contact with each other. Fishers may carry ticks, fleas, and mange; like all mammals, they're also susceptible to rabies. Find out what to do if you or a pet have come in contact with a fisher.

Fishers & State Law

Relocating wildlife is illegal in Massachusetts. It's detrimental to the well-being of the animal as well as the public. Learn more >