From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 13 - 11/14/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

More Pine Marten Live Trapping

Another winter we worked Sweeney Creek with Horace Swain as a guide. Horace really knew the country and I felt like a dude the first couple of trips. This was also good marten country, and we had fair going until one time we got messed up in a big downfall of pine timber. The snow was real deep, but wasn't set up hard enough to hold the machine up. It will amaze you, with so many lodgepole pine poles, how they can all slope downhill! After using all the nylon cords, ropes, wire, and everything I could tie to the machine and pull, grunt and groan, I finally got the machine back on top, just as Horace came back to see where I was. From that day on I started carrying an old time rope fence stretcher and a few loops of 1/8- inch cable, all wrapped around the windshield, as that was the only place I could find to put it. This added more weight, which wasn't good, and caused a lot of questions and snickers, but after using it a few times, I was glad to have it with me.

One winter we worked North Beaver Creek, up the road and beyond, but never did get to Water Dog Lake. We did see one lynx track, but I think they stay mainly in the Wyoming Range for some reason. I made a map of our traplines and marked them with the locations where we caught the martens, and the sex of the animal. It wasn't required, but I turned a copy of these into the Game and Fish Department so they could see where they had pine marten. We didn't try to catch all the marten out of a given area, and always left some for breeding stock. One interesting note - we averaged seven male marten caught to every female, and I have read where the males are prone to kill the females; Mother Nature's way of keeping the population down. We found this to be true, as we kept ten pair to try to breed them and raise little ones.

Tom Astle and I went to run the North Beaver line one morning and it came up a real Wyoming Blizzard, and when we got to the parking lot at the rim, we sat in the pickup for about an hour, waiting for it to clear up some so we could see where we were going, but it wouldn't clear up. The flat from the highway to the North Beaver Road is only about 1/2 mile wide, and we thought if we went due northeast, we would hit the road and the trees, then could tell where we were going. Besides, we had our old snowmachine trail to follow and decided to try it. We started across the flat and couldn't see a thing except blowing snow, and lost our earlier trail right quick. Pretty soon we started climbing a hill and couldn't make it and decided to turn around and go back. Besides, there shouldn't be a hill here anyway. Pretty soon we crossed a fresh snowmachine track, and Tom said "We aren't the only crazy ones in this country as someone else is out here also." We got on the new trail and stayed on it as it was the only way we could keep the machines moving.

The trail seemed to be going the wrong way, and we figured we would end up at Mickey Buyer's place over on Twin Creek. We finally got a little worried and were going to turn around and follow the trail the other way, when all of a sudden our own pickup was right there in front of us.

We finally figured out we had went due east instead of northeast, and had circled and come back on our own trail, after we had lost it on the hill. We cussed ourselves a bunch for being so stupid, and waited a long time in the pickup for it to clear up some so we could see where we were going. If we could have climbed the hill, no telling where we would have wound up. We finally did get to run the trapline, but sure didn't do any exploring.

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The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul