Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The skunk held off as I turned over the cage with a 6-foot stick.
It’s an awful day outside today, but trappers can’t take a day off. The traps are out there, the trapper is morally and legally required to tend the traps. So I planned to write an essay explaining how I coped with the horizontal rain, the 30 mile per hour north wind the chill and all that goes with being outside on a day not even a duck can love. But along the trail, a more interesting topic presented itself.

I love trapping around old farm buildings. Even the most rickety of these buildings offer better shelter to raccoons and opossums than the most weather tight hollow log or brush pile they normally use as dens. Oh, did I mention skunks?

When I catch a skunk out in the wild, I handle it, best I can, stand upwind and hope the skunk doesn’t discharge. That’s the same technique I use in a less than wild location, as well, but if the skunk sprays in a civilized locale, my invitation to trap could be in jeopardy.

In the wild, the option of standing well upwind is usually a part of the plan. In this location, standing upwind was not an option - crosswind was the best I could do. I was using cage traps because the homestead is overrun with cats. The outside cat feeder keeps the ‘coons, ‘possums and skunks nice and fat.

So I held my breath, crossed my fingers and hooked the trap from its location just inside the drive-through of an abandoned corn crib. Slowly, I pulled the cage into the open as I entertained Mr. Stripes with a soft rendition of Rock a Bye Baby. (I’ve always heard they find soft music soothing.)

Door Open - No Smell

Then I used the hook-stick to slowly tip the trap onto its side. The trap’s door latch is gravity activated so once it’s on its side, the door will stay open when lifted. The skunk took this quite well, however, it seemed a bit less friendly and frequently showed me with its "wrong" end as I worked the door latches. Finally, the door opened and soon the little stinker waddled off to its next adventure. Mine was over with no residual odor.

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