FWP News: Marten research project underway during trapping season
By angelamontana

Posted: November 28, 2022

Dear Trapper,

This winter, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is starting a research project on marten in Montana. With the help of marten trappers, FWP biologists will collect DNA from tissue samples and evaluate the distribution of marten species and potential hybrids within the state. This is entirely voluntary on your part, but we appreciate your participation.

How to submit a DNA sample from your marten:

Option 1: Collect and submit your own muscle tissue sample:

  1. Contact your local FWP regional office or furbearer specialist to request a vial for sample submission:
    1. Region 1 (Northwest Montana): Jessy Coltrane, 406-751-4584, jcoltrane@mt.gov
    2. Region 2 (West-central Montana): Tyler Parks, 406-542-5523, tylerparks@mt.gov
    3. Region 3 (Southwest Montana): Claire Gower, 406-577-7866, cgower@mt.gov
  2. Cut an eraser-sized sample of fresh muscle tissue from the marten carcass and place in the pre-labeled vial filled with desiccant. If fresh tissue cannot be obtained, either scrape an equivalent amount of tissue from a dried hide or take a hole punch-sized sample of hide and place in the vial.
  1. Fill out the hunter and harvest information on the vial. We are looking for as specific a location as possible, so latitude and longitude coordinates are preferred; however, township, range and section is better than nothing.
  2. Please return all vials when you come in for mandatory check of your marten or ship to FWP in the prepaid envelope you receive with the vial.

Option 2: Submit a tissue sample when you bring your marten to FWP to get tagged:

  1. FWP has reinstated mandatory tagging for all marten within 10 days of the calendar close of the season. When you bring your marten to an FWP regional office to get tagged, inform the staff member that you would like to submit a sample from the hide.

Project Background

Roughly a century ago, marten across North America were divided into two species (Pacific marten & American marten), whose ranges met in Montana. However, after evidence of hybridization was observed in Montana pelts in 1953, they were generally lumped into consideration as one species. The idea of two species has reemerged with new genetic approaches to evaluating relatedness among marten range wide. With the help of marten trappers, FWP biologists would like to evaluate the distribution of marten species and potential hybrids within Montana.

Thank you in advance for participating. If you have any questions, please contact your local FWP furbearer specialist.

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