Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trapping A Problem Skunk On The Farm

We have had skunks here before.  I remember one year seeing a mother skunk and her two little ones.  We had one skunk that would come onto our deck and help itself to the food we left out for the cats when they were outside.  None of these skunks were ever really a problem, and for the past couple of years we have not had any skunks around that I was aware of.

This year we were awoken at night by the nauseating smell of a skunk on more than one occasion.  I am not even sure what the skunk was spraying, they are usually very accurate but none of our cats was sprayed, nor where the sheep.  It seemed like this skunk was just "spraying" so I suspected perhaps it was a male marking territory.  I saw it a few times in the compost, and tried to scare it off, but the skunk just kept hanging around.

Finally I went and rented a skunk trap from the county office.  The charge was $5.00 a week.  I baited the trap with cat food (sardines also work well) and put it in the barn, shutting all the doors to the barn so the cats could not get in.  I knew the skunk was in the barn, it had a hole that it used to go under the tack room floor.

Skunk trap, with skunk in it.

After a couple of nights I did catch the skunk, so now all I had to do was to release it.

I should back up my story here a bit.  When I went to rent the skunk trap I asked the man what should I do with the skunk after catching it, he said to either hook it to my exhaust pipe and gas it to death, or to release it in the yard of somebody I dislike.

As I was not going to gas it, I drove it far away to a park.  I pulled over, set the skunk trap near the side of the road (I had tossed some cat food into the bushes for the skunk to hopefully find later) and waited for it to come out.  It took a few minutes before it moved and left the trap, scurrying into the bushes.

It is fall, and we are expecting good weather for a couple of weeks more so I do hope the skunk will use that time wisely to set up new accommodations before winter.

The skunk as it left the trap and made its way into the forest

According to the guy at the county office this year has been really bad one for skunks, he was glad I returned the trap as quickly as I had, some other people had skunk traps out for several weeks.

Skunks are cute and I have heard of people making them into pets, but this is illegal in my area.  In areas where it is legal to own skunks, people have to buy them from breeders and cannot catch wild skunks and turn them into pets.  Other than the obvious problem of their smell, skunks are also known to carry rabies so caution should be taken around them at all times.

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