Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Fisher

By Duane Fronek

  Been awhile since I posted a blog. So to my readers I apologize for the lapse, there may be more as I venture in to the spring beaver. Been kinda busy with stuff. Been rollin’ a lot of things around in this head of mine. Thinking about past hunts, season’s, mishaps(believe me I have plenty) etc. So let me begin.

 It was the second day of the 2009 WI deer season. And like every deer season I string some steel for coyotes where I hunt. The hunting season for coyotes closes during deer season, supposedly to protect the few Wolves we have(yeah right). But we can still trap during that time.

 Anyway I’m driving the two miles of logging road and skidder trails into my stand with my son. As I come around a corner of my first set, in the headlights there’s a big orange blob standing there. I commented I got something in the trap to my huntin‘ partner‘s. Which I did. As I closed in the orange blob turned out to be another deer hunter, posed  in a shooting stance with his rifle pointed toward my set.

  I stop the truck and say hold up. What you doing. He replies, I think there’s a mink or something here and he’s big and just nasty. Turns out I had a fisher, and that’s what I told him. I explained to him that I was trapping some coyotes and that it was a good thing he didn’t shoot the fisher, for a number of reasons. The biggest is about $4000 in fines and loss of license for 3 years. He was from down south around Milwaukee and wasn’t up on the regs except deer and never saw a fisher in his life. He thought it was pretty cool. Now a lot of guys would of went off on this guy for his ignorance the deed he was about to do. But I tend to treat other sportsmen and women with a benefit of doubt and in this case was the right thing to do. I was able to educate a fellow hunter and some things he didn’t know.

  Now onto the fisher. Since you need to draw a tag to keep one and I wasn’t lucky this go round, I had to release it. This is where it gets interesting. It’s still kinda dark and I’m working in head lights in the shadows and my son is hanging out the window watching intently and mumbling things like don’t get bit, is it biting. I carry a catchpole in the back of the truck for releasing critters I don’t want. So I get it out and try lassoing the fisher. Well if you ever had a fisher in a trap, they are about as squirrely as a barn cat that’s tail hit the electric fence. After a couple attempts trying to get the noose on the little rascal, he manages to get the cable fouled up and is now holding it firmly in his jaws. Since his teeth are occupied, I did the next best thing, I put the boot down on him and got my hand wrapped around the back of his muscular neck. They are a stout tough animal and can be hard to hold. But after a few decades of handling wild life I pretty much had it down pat, pretty much. After getting the little psychopath subdued, I release the trap off his back foot. Now comes the tricky part, letting him go. This can be a delicate matter, the fisher had finally dropped the catch pole and I now have a firm grip around the back of his neck and the other firmly gripped around the base of the tail. First I asked the suburban hunter if he wanted to feel the fur, he just stood there staring with his mouth agape  and nodded his head side to side and finally uttered; that things too mean too pet.

  So now I have to put the release plan into action, with my grip on the fisher I had, I just normally just do the ol’ heave ho toss and the critter is slightly airborne and in perpetual motion away from me. Works every time. Well it use to, seems this fisher was plotting and planning while I was distracted with his release. As I was in the final motion of the forward movement and the release of my grip, this little Tasmanian nutcase  decides to roll in my hand that was now releasing it’s grip around his neck, and he firmly planted his nice razor sharp canines into my wrist, and at that moment a few explicative’s  rolled off my tongue as my son made a few shrieks out the window when he realized daddy got bit. Now you d think as this little fur ball of fury would realize I was no longer holding on to him he’d just release his grip and fall to the ground and run off. BUT NO!!!! He has to shake his head while his teeth are sunk into the tendons in my wrist like a musky trying to shake a bucktail. I could see the gleam of victory in his beady little eyes as they shown in the headlights. With a sweeping motion like a pro bowler on steroids I fling the little creature from hades and  he comes loose while one of his canines rakes across one of my tendons like a guitar string, sending what felt like 20,000 volts of pain up my arm as he breaks free and sails off into the darkness.

 Now my dilemma, and the inevitable that I know is coming. I get to get more rabies shots. Yes, I said more, I was lucky enough to have to get the series of shots once before and knew, I was about to get them again. But right now it’s deer season and the dawn is cracking. I heard comments in the truck that I should get to the hospital and stitches, etc. For now I didn’t want to hear none of that, I wanted to hunt. I let the wound bleed into a bandana to help cleanse the wound, as I finished driving to our spot. Once there I downed 4 ibuprophen and wrapped the wound in the bandana. I figured I could make it till noon and then head the 18 miles to town to get the rabies treatment. Well I made it till 10 am, I wasn’t seeing any deer, probably because the screaming in my head was getting to loud and deer are sensitive to such things. Or they were just sitting around a stump somewhere listening to some fisher  telling his story how he whupped a hunter this morning, laughing their tails off.

  So we pack it in and head to town. As we get to the emergency room, I check in and go thru the regular ropes, some know me by now and don’t get too surprised with some of the afflictions  I’ve managed to acquire over the years. I explain the details and that leads to setting up the series of the shots. I’m a big guy, but when it comes to needles, I tend to get weak. With rabies shot, I not only get weak, I wonder what Nazi came up with this treatment, he couldn’t make a pill or 1 shot instead of 9? After the wound is clean and shot dispensed in parts of my carcass, the Dr. tells me that I’m not really doing too bad for rabies shots, 2 times in 30 some years of handling wild critters isn’t too bad an average. I think he was trying to make me feel better or add a little humor to the situation, but I guess I missed it, cause I was a little distracted with all the new painful spots inflicted upon me.

  Ahhh, fond memories, that will not be easily forgotten, unfortunately. Below are the pics of the little critter and his brand mark he left and a vid of my son kinda making fun of me. Hope you enjoy!! Till next time stay safe,lol
 You can see the evil.
 The damage
My Huntin' bud

And an interview with an on scene eye witness


  1. Hi Duane, I grew up on the corner of Taylor, Lincoln and Marathon counties. Hunting, fishing, and trapping in north country. Will definately stop by your blog. Added a feed.

  2. Cool, your just west of my neck of the woods. Stop by often.

  3. Nothing like the honesty of our kids to let us parents know what we really are! lol!

    I've been very lucky to never had to have rabies shots. My husband says they're awful, especially when you get bit by a house cat and not something "cool."

  4. Kids come up up with the silliest stuff sometimes, they keep us humble,lol.

    Yep, the shots suck, and then that extra one they call a tetnis shot. I think thats just an extra shot to remind you how stupid you are. I've had so many tetnis shots I probably should be recieving an award soon.

  5. Yep, sounds like a typical mustelid stunt! I train mink to hunt and fish, so I know very well the temper of a mad mustelid. It doesn't matter that you let them go, the fights not over yet! I've seen a mink get attacked by a dog, and instead of running, attack the dog back, and chase it all around trying to get it. Suckers are NUTS when you make them angry! Here's a video showing some of my trained hunting mink in case you're curious.....