Are there Fisher Cats in MI?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

The fisher cat, also known as the fisher, is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. Historically, fishers were found in various parts of Michigan, including both the Lower and Upper Peninsula. However, their population has significantly declined over the years, and there have been no confirmed sightings of fishers in Michigan since 1936.

According to historical records, fishers were once found as far south as Gratiot, Ingham, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Wexford Counties in the Lower Peninsula (Burt 1948). These areas provided suitable habitat for fishers, which prefer dense forests with large trees and abundant prey. Fishers are known for their agility in climbing and their ability to hunt both on the ground and in trees.

The decline of fisher populations in Michigan can be attributed to various factors, including habitat loss, trapping, and changes in prey availability. As human populations expanded and forests were cleared for agriculture and urban development, the suitable habitat for fishers diminished. Additionally, fishers were heavily trapped for their valuable fur, which further contributed to their decline.

In recent years, there have been occasional reports of fisher sightings in Michigan, but none have been officially confirmed. It is possible that these sightings may be misidentifications or individuals that have dispersed from neighboring states where fishers still have stable populations.

Personally, as a wildlife enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by the elusive nature of fishers. I have spent many hours exploring forests in Michigan, hoping to catch a glimpse of this elusive creature. However, despite my efforts, I have never had the opportunity to see a fisher in the wild.

While fishers were historically found in various parts of Michigan, their population has significantly declined, and there have been no confirmed sightings since 1936. The loss of suitable habitat and trapping are believed to be the main factors contributing to their absence in the state. Although occasional reports of fisher sightings do arise, further research and confirmation are needed to establish the presence of fishers in Michigan once again.