Skunked Again?

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What can you say about a skunk? They smell and they smell bad. Here on the farm it seems as though they are becoming a nuisance. The past six years that we have been here the skunks have not let up yet.

Let me go back to when I was young and I first learned about skunks. Where we lived we fed our cats in an old hubcap at the bottom of the stairs. If the cats did not finish the food either the chickens or skunks would finish it off. I’m not sure why we never thought to just remove the dish at night. Well my Uncle had heard about how to get rid of a skunk. Now to just let you know about Uncle Geoff, he never lived in the country, and he runs away from any sort of wildlife. So I am surprised why my step father took his remedy to heart. Uncle Geoff said if you can pick up a skunk by the tail and get his hind legs off the ground, he cannot spray. Then you whack him in the head and he will be dead, no fuss, easy as that.

Well the skunks did have a habit of running under the stairs if startled. So one very hot and humid July night, the moment of truth, Mr. Skunk was back. He was happily eating the cat food like he did just about every night. My step father had his lead pipe and did just as Uncle Geoff advised. He picked him up by his tail, hind legs off the ground and gave the skunk a good crack on his head with the pipe. That only made the skunk mad, really mad. His spray was so powerful; my step father dropped him because he just got a face full of nastiness. He didn’t give him another whack to make sure the deed was done. Well Mr. Skunk, really mad retreated under the stairs and continued to spray all that he had. My whole family was awoken to the most horrible rotten onion skunk smell on a hot and humid night. The entire house was filled with this venom. You felt like you were choking because it was so powerful. It was awful. My step father tried to cook dried ginger in some vinegar on the stove to get rid of the stench. No one could go back to sleep and everything smelled like skunk for a very long time. So I learned a valuable lesson, do not listen to Uncle Geoff about any wild animal period, and second don’t ever try to pick up a skunk.

I hadn’t lived in the country for a very long time before we bought our farm and my kids had no clue about skunks other than what Walt Disney showed them in Bambi and that was about it.

Late one night I smelled that familiar smell of skunk. I started boiling vinegar and pickling spice to get rid of the smell. I woke the kids up in the morning to get them ready for school.

“Mama why were you making pickles last night?” asked my daughter

Having forgot what I had done the night before due to lack of sleep.

“What?” “Why would I make pickles” I asked.

Then it dawned on me the pickling solution. I asked them if they smelled something bad last night, they both answered “Yes”

That was a skunk he makes that smell because something scared him. Fine, everyone seemed to get the picture skunks equal bad smell. That night I asked if they had closed the barn doors, which it seems to be the same question I asked every night. It was dark out and I didn’t want a skunk in the barn. “No, I forgot”. Great!!!

Well I took my oldest son out to hold the flashlight so I could close up the barn. Before we could get out there it was that awful smell. Well all we could do is making sure that he wasn’t in the barn when we closed it up. I explained to my son that we had to be very quiet and try not to startle him. We had an empty plastic dog house in the barn at the time and since he had the flashlight, look inside and make sure he wasn’t there. The next thing I heard was this loud BANG. My son was kicking the side of the dog house.

“What are you doing?” I exclaimed!!!!

“I was checking the doghouse” he said.

“Do you remember the long conversation we had about being quiet and that skunks do not like to be scared?” I asked


This isn’t a cat were scaring here it is something a whole lot worse.

Well we have had many skunks come to the barn and another night someone forgot to shut the barn door the skunk came in and ate 3 pounds of cat food and proceeded to be sick out of both ends before leaving the barn. Usually we shoot about 8 or so skunks every year. So far there hasn’t been any let up. And let me tell you when they die the same horrible smell that I remember as a child are what they do when they die. They empty their reserves.

Our attached barns are starting to fall in and some of the floor boards have come up. Well it wasn’t surprising since the floor is warped and rotted. Really didn’t think too much about it until something was getting in the garbage. We do have cats but they have never done that before, so we bought more garbage cans with covers and considered the matter solved. Then the same skunky smell that we all know too well here. The skunk was going under the barn and coming up through the holes in the floor. The only reason we found this out was my husband went out to get wood for the fire and quickly came back inside.

“There is a skunk in the barn.” He said

“Yeah, so let him leave the way he came and then cover up the holes tomorrow” I said.

“No, he has to go now” he said

“Do not shoot that skunk in the barn, the smell would be horrible” I said.

“Yeah, yeah I know I am going to follow him” he promised

So my husband loads his gun and is in the barn all of two minutes and KABOOM!!! The horrible penetrating rotten onion skunk smell filled the house. My husband came to the door and I only opened the door a crack.

“I thought I said DO NOT SHOOT THE SKUNK IN THE BARN” I exclaimed.

“I had no choice” he said

“Yes you did and here is a garbage bag for your clothes and shoes and here is a change of clothes. Do not come into the house until you get rid of the carcass and change your clothes and leave the garbage bag outside” I said.

For a few days all he could smell or taste for that matter was skunk.

So we were living a skunk free home for a short time and it started all over again. A whole week straight and he was really polite too. He was spraying at 8pm and then again at 3am. Just so you wouldn’t forget the smell. I wasn’t getting much sleep and by the end of the week I was down right ugly about it. What the heck is the skunk scared of at those times? The only thing that was going on was the wind blowing, what is scary about that? Its nature you stupid fool, you have never heard the wind blow your entire life? On our weekly trip to the Farmer’s Union my husband said he was buying a Haveaheart trap.

I really didn’t want to spend the $45.00 for a trap and who and how is the trap going to be emptied?? Well of course we got the trap just the same. The first two nights my husband didn’t set the trap. I felt as though that was a wasted $45.00 to not set it up. So he sets it up for the first night, nothing. Then he was going to leave it close to the house while he was gone all week. Uh… No!! That’s all I need is a trapped skunk that is going to continually spray my bedroom for a week, No thanks! Move the trap to the end of the barn, which is something I do not want to take care of while you are gone. So there sits the trap for over a month, no smells of skunk. Nothing, so what the instant repellant of skunk was buying a trap?

write by Eira

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