Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 44(1):10–16; 2012


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society. Used by permission.


American martens (Martes americana) were native to northeastern North Dakota but were considered extirpated by the early 1800s. Although there is no historic evidence of martens occurring beyond the northeast, forested habitat potentially suitable for martens exists in the Turtle Mountains region of northcentral North Dakota and southwestern Manitoba. From 1989– 1991, the Turtle Mountain Trappers Association translocated 59 martens into the Canadian portion of the Turtle Mountains. During summer 2007, we used covered track-plates and/or remotely-triggered cameras placed at 123 survey sites distributed among 41 1-km2 grid cells (a GIS-generated layer imposed on electronic maps of the study region) to determine if martens occupied the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota. Martens were detected at 26 (21%) sites, representing 20 of the 41 sample cells (49%) widely dispersed throughout the study area. Our study provided the first evidence of martens occurring in North Dakota since the early 1800s.