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What’s the best marten trapping lure out on the market? Some experienced trappers say the best marten lure is no lure at all. That’s right, some just use bait. And if you’re on the right location, bait alone is usually enough to make great marten catches.
But when it comes to calling marten from a distance, or getting a marten that isn’t very hungry to investigate a set, the right lure can make a big difference. Here’s an overview of some of the best marten lures available on the market.
Tim Caven’s “Gusto” might just be the most popular lure among marten trappers. It’s a strong call lure, heavy with skunk essence, and excels in cold weather. With so many positive reviews from experienced trappers, this one is an easy bet on the marten line.
Another lure from Caven’s, “Tree Climber” was designed with marten and fisher trappers in mind. It doesn’t seem to have the consistent rave reviews that “Gusto” has, but some trappers swear by it, and it’s probably a great change up if you’re using Gusto at a lot of your sets.
Jeff Dunlap’s “Hell Fire” long distance call lure is a great smear lure that will attract marten to a set. Like his father before him, Jeff has been making trapping lures for a long time, and his products are gaining popularity every year.
I haven’t heard much about Jeff’s marten lure, but I believe it has more beaver castor and essential oils than “Hellfire”, with a great punch of skunk essence for calling power.
A changeup from the majority of skunk-heavy marten lures, Lenon’s “Marten Super All Call” has a unique, milder smell to it. I’ve found it very effective for marten working a set up close. Use a long distance call to bring it close to the set, and Lenon’s can help get a marten to commit.
Anything from O’Gorman’s has one heck of a reputation behind it, and his “Mountain Marten” lure has a strong following. If you can find a bottle, it’s worth adding to your lure shelf.
James Halseth’s “Alaskan Sable Oil” is a popular option for many northern trappers.
This grease based long distance call lure made by Scott Phillips of Northwest Predator and Wildlife Control was the lure I had the most success with early in my marten trapping career. Having difficulty finding this lure was what motivated me to start making my own LDC marten lure.
Hawbaker’s lures have been around for a long time, and have developed quite a reputation. I haven’t heard much about this lure, but I have done well with Hawbaker’s weasel lure.
Pete Rickard’s lures have been around forever, and have stood the test of time.
Russ Carman probably knows more about the science around lure making than anyone else alive. His lures have been developed with great care, and have been proven in government tests. I’d use any lure from Russ with great confidence.
I developed the Trapping Today Long Distance Call Lure to fill my needs for an LDC lure that would hold up to highly varying weather conditions, including rain, snow, wind, cold, and massive fluctuations in conditions that are common on my northern Maine trapline. It’s a grease-based lure with a strong skunk odor and a number of musks and oils. It also doesn’t contain secrets. I have publicly shared all of the ingredients and how I make the lure, so trappers can judge for themselves what works and doesn’t work on their own lines.
There are a bunch of marten trapping lures available on the market. The list above is just a selection of the many available options. Some are targeted specifically for marten trappers, and others are general lures that work for a variety of species, including marten. The lure business is a crazy one, and it’s often tough to distinguish quality and dependability, but the lures with good reputations behind them are usually a safe bet. Most importantly, though, remember that lure is just another tool to use on your trapline. It’s not magic, and won’t substitute the fundamentals, like proper set location and effective baits.
Do you have a favorite lure on your marten trapline? Feel free to share in the comments below.