Baiting your traps is usually an afterthought if you’re dealing with an animal whose trail you can easily track. The muskrat is a prime example of an animal where bait is more of a hindrance than it is helpful. But when your target of choice is the solitary marten, then lures and bait are your best friend.
Some say that the bait you use is even more important than the trap that you select while trapping marten; they are naturally curious and will probably fall for your trap as long as they have any reason to enter the general vicinity, but they will probably not travel too far from their dens unless food is scarce. This article aims to list and briefly describe the best bait for trapping marten as well as some tips to get the most out of them.
For more information on the other aspects of marten trapping, please visit our articles on [Marten Trapping Sets], [Marten Trapping Tips] and [How to Trap a Marten].
Here are our picks for the best bait for marten traps, in no particular order:
- Beaver Meat:
- Pine Squirrel Meat:
One might be surprised by this item making the list, but rather surprisingly beaver meat is just as effective at baiting marten as it is at baiting fisher cats. It probably has more to do with the fact that the musky odor of fresh beaver meat carries much farther in the cold air than the flesh of most other animals. Make sure that the meat is fresh, however, because while marten have been known to indulge in carrion on occasion, they will usually opt for almost anything else instead.
Another important point to note is that while you should try to leave the carcass whole if possible, the marten isn’t as fussy as the fisher in this regard. The last tip concerning beaver as bait is that you should always cover up the carcass in order to keep the birds away.
The Pine Squirrel is the number one prey for the marten so it stands to reason that you would meet at least marginal success using one as bait. While it is our experience that beaver meat is usually better for the high elevations that marten inhabit, a live pine squirrel will also present a rather tempting target for any nearby marten.
Another plus is that squirrels are fairly easy to locate because of their habit of leaving shredded pine cones around the pine trees where they feed. Just make sure to secure the squirrel as tightly as you can before you leave the trap.
While not technically bait, lures are invaluable in trapping solitary creatures like the marten. There are essentially two lures that work with the most consistency. The first is a few drops of skunk essence added to a solution of fish oil.
The second and much more readily available option is strawberry preserve (aka jam or jelly). With either of these lures to complement your baited trap, you’re sure to catch that marten in no time.