Just to put you at ease, as I think you may have an alarmed perception of how the fisher is. In the article the late Peter Thomashay stated "he had heard of a fisher taking a deer down." He never saw such happen. None of the animal control officers in this part of the state that I have talked to have ever seen such a thing happen. Animals are unpredictable by nature, and in some cases a fisher may indeed jump down on a deer but most likely on a deer that is geriatric, seriously injured or an orphaned fawn. So I can't say it hasn't happened, but just that it is more unlikely to happen. The general rule of thumb is that an animal is more likely to attack prey that is of their stature or smaller unless there are other factors like I listed above. The other danger zone is if a person or animal walks into a den area and the animals there perceive it to be a threat.
In my ten years upcoming as the ACO of Norfolk I have only seen a handful of different fishers, and they have all been very elusive, resistant to any threatening/aggressive behavior. I have not had reports of anyone being injured by a fisher in this town.
I think the bigger issues surrounding our wildlife is not that they are here, it is that with continued development of land for residential and commercial purposes, these animals are and will continue to try to take residence behind our properties and in some cases upon our properties looking for safe haven and also an easy meal. This is why the state has laws regarding "trap and relocate." To trap an animal and to relocate that animal elsewhere will only move the problem for another jurisdiction to have to deal with.
As with any wild animal, there is always the potential that they are sick (rabies or distemper are most common right now as diagnosed diseases) or injured, and could show to be a threat to animal and human safety. To limit the potential dangers of such an attack to just the fisher is unrealistic. Last year was a large year for rabid skunks, before that we saw a huge increase in the fox incidents, and prior to that coyote and racoon. So each warm blooded mammal has the "potential" to act out in an aggressive and non-rational way if they are infected with disease or are injured. Most wild species that are affected by rabies go through cycles of the disease where their population rate decreases from a high positive infection rate in that species.
There is always the curiosity factor when dealing with a new species as they are unknown and unfamiliar to residents. The first time I saw a fisher it was walking across 115 by the Arnold road area. I was both shocked and intrigued as this was years ago and at that point knew very little about them. Wanting to know more, I pulled off the road, grabbed my binoculars and ran into the woods after it to try to get a better look. I caught a very small glimpse of it as it ran deep in the cover of the woods trying to retreat from my presence.
At the end of this email I'm including links regarding MA wildlife laws and fishers in particular. You can always give my office a call if you have further questions. I am out of the office until the weekend with strep throat so if you (or any resident) want to talk with me regarding concerns you have I will return phone calls on Saturday and Monday. Of course all emergency calls will be handled in the meantime, so if anyone has an emergency please call the police department and they will get the proper assistance for you.
The best course of prevention to offer any animal owner who has cats or dogs and is concerned with wildlife is to not leave their animals outside unattended. There is a false safety perception for those with dogs on invisible fences left outdoors unattended as a sick or rabid animal could come upon their property and have contact with their dog. Cats are prey to several different species as well, and to eliminate that threat the best course of action is to have your cat as indoors only. And of course, goes without saying, keep your animals vaccinated per state law for rabies.
Omni/carnivorous animals will be attracted to properties that have trash left outside, pet food outside, or decks or sheds they can crawl under to make a home. Preventative measures can go a long way in deterring wildlife from your property. If you have wildlife that frequents your trash, try spraying ammonia on the outside of your barrels. That will deter most species from messing with it. Sealing up denning areas for animals requires digging down under the ground line by 6 inches and installing material that is animal deterrent (i.e. lattice, chicken wire, etc.)
I hope this is a helpful start in understanding the different facets of living with wildlife. To answer the locations of the fisher in Norfolk, I would say that they have been reported to have been seen in just throughout most jurisdictions in town. Not one area more than another.
MASSWILDLIFE Rabies Facts
MassWildlife Problem Animal Control
Living with Fisher in Massachusetts
and of course lots of information regarding other animals in MA and how to live with them such as Moose:
MassWildlife - Wildlife Program
- HNP, Norfolk Animal Control