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  1. #1
    Platinum Member roxynoodle's Avatar
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    Default How to trap a skunk

    I haven't seen it yet but I'm 95% sure there is a skunk in my corncrib. A couple times this week when I went in to get the tractor I smelled skunk. Today when mowing, as I went past it on the tractor it totally reeked of skunk. And, yes, it is more overpowering than diesel. Then when I put the tractor away, one of the doors on a metal armoire I use to store stuff swung open and banged shut. It opened a couple more times while I was cooling the tractor down but when I finally looked over to investigate I didn't see anything. Pretty sure it wasn't a ghost. What is the best way to trap such a critter without getting sprayed? Is there something they like to eat that would not attract my cats to the trap?

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    I was just looking at the Havahart traps and they show some to be for skunks, but years ago, I "borrowed" similar traps from the city animal control department, except that they were solid metal top, bottom, and sides. You could see through from either end and could tell when you had something caught that way. When I'd have a skunk in the trap, I'd just call animal control and they'd come get the trap and skunk. With the solid sides, the guy could approach the trap from either side without being seen, gently pick the trap up, then set it in a slightly larger metal box and close an airtight lid. For bait, I used sardines and they worked great.

    However, if you have cats around, that's probably what you'll catch first.
    Bird

  3. #3
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    OK, guys, here's my explination about how to catch a skunk.



    Long ago I was a Junior at Uvalde High School and living on the Stoner Ranch 25 miles outside of Uvalde, Texas.

    My grandfather and grandmother Stoner were still alive and residing on the place. I was headquartered at the “rock house” and had the run of the place, a couple thousand acres, hunting and fishing in all my spare time. My companion was a border collie dog, “Snip, ” that had been given to me by my uncle Red Stoner. She was almost 2 years old and I had spent a lot of time with her. She had the natural herding instinct of the breed and was taking direction very well. I had been working with her on verbal herding directions and she took directions to stop, creep up, back off, go right, go left, etc… very well. We herded sheep, goats, cats, the usual.

    She also loved to hunt… lots of heart with a good nose and I now realize she was an excellent coon dog. She could find, follow, and tree coons, ringtails, possums. On command she would wade into them and dispatch them quickly… seldom getting injured herself.

    We understood each other when it came to hunting critters. She also understood “pole cats” because we ran across our share of them… and she had gained experience by getting sprayed so that she kept her distance unless I asked her to dispatch the critter. I had gotten past the excitement of doing this because she would get sprayed (a long time in passing) and could get rabies if bitten. So, she simply located them and allowed me to dispatch them with my octagon barrel “ranger” 22 pump rifle that dad had gotten when he was in high school. My research says it came from Sears, and I have never seen another like it. Open sights, super accuracy, hard hitting with Long Rifle shells. I still have it and it still works.

    One warm sunny afternoon about 6PM, just before chores, I heard my dog barking in the open space in front of the Rock House. Experience told me she had located something and I picked up my gun and went to investigate. It was a pole cat. He was in the open with no place to hide… just low cactus scattered around. It being late, it was natural for it to be out hunting, although we more frequently ran across them after dark. It appeared healthy and fully alert.

    Sometimes, my mind is always working…

    I noticed that Snip had not distressed this pole cat sufficiently to get him to spray. Actually, he was facing the dog and not yet in a fully defensive posture… tail to the dog… however, the tail was raised somewhat. As I approached the pole cat, it occurred to me that the location was ideal for an experiment… Snip had lots of maneuvering room and the pole cat didn’t know I was anywhere around since his attention was on the dog which was on the other side of the pole cat from me.

    I began giving Snip herding directions, just for fun, to see how well a pole cat could be moved around. After a few commands for right, left, come up, etc… I discovered that the pole cat would continue facing the dog while backing up to re-establish a “pole cat comfort distance” from the dog. This brought the pole cat still closer to me.

    Now, in those days I was willing to try new things. My fellow male bus mates who rode the bus to and from school with me had once told me a “little known fact” about pole cats. I considered it hogwash, much of that they said was bull, bluster, or puffery. There was just enough veracity in what we told each other that our conversations about ranch life and lore on the bus stayed interesting.

    Their sworn word was that a pole cat could only spray if he hiked his tail at a 90 degree angle to his back bone. Well, I had never seen a pole cat spray without raising his tail, but figured this was simply because it’s not effective to seek to spray through bushy tail hair.

    Then, it hit me.

    If I could stand still and make like a bush , then maybe, just maybe, I could direct the dog in such a way that the pole cat would back up all the way to me, all the while watching the dog and not worrying about its immobile surroundings. Then all I would have to do is to bend down, grasp the raised tail at arms length while making sure that it could neither bite my leg when I raised it off the ground nor spray more than just my hand. That is, if it sprayed at all. Surely, I could de-stink a hand!

    It might work… and, if it did, without spraying, then I’d have bragging rights on the school bus . It would be a balancing act. The dog would have to take direction properly and not push the pole cat into spraying. Or into me. I thought about this. What would happen if I just got the tip of the tail and it broke while I lifted it.. or if I just got a handful of hair… this would leave a very upset pole cat right at my feet! This had to be a “first time final” effort. If I missed I still had a pissed pole cat within close spraying distance. This would not make for a pleasant trip back to the house.

    In case you have never been really, really, really close to fresh pole cat spray, let me tell you that it is unimaginably difficult to take… Recently I saw a “Top 10 most smelly animals” show… as I recall, the pole cat was number one. Nausea is just the beginning.

    All this I knew… and yet, the lure of adventure was strong in my adolescent adrenalin…. And it was beginning to get going… The hunting nature of man was coming out. There would be no sport in shooting the critter where it stood… about 50 feet away. I could plug a jack rabbit in the head at 50 yards with that 22 rifle. No sport at all. Yet, my code was to dispatch all pole cats because of the risk of rabies that they could give to our ranch animals.

    So, a plan emerged. I would attempt the “pole cat snatch” if and only if all conditions were right. The options were: wait, abort, snatch, or run like heck if he spotted me and I felt he was going to spray me. I only had to cover about 10 feet to get out of range. Just a few strides. Of course, since he would be “aimed” in my direction, this might be difficult to detect until too late. If I needed a diversion to effect an escape, my plan was to sacrifice my noble dog and give Snip direction to attack. Then there was the matter of the grab itself. I planned to grab the tail 1 inch above the spine and to get a good grip. Experience told me that a pole cat tail is not very large under all that hair, about the size of a number 2 pencil, and I’d have to hold tight. It wouldn’t do to have it rotate in my hand and drop to the ground because of a poor grip.

    Then, there was the matter of the arc of the grab itself. Normally one grabs something and pulls it toward the chest. Hmm… not a good plan to have a pole cat close enough to be able to grab my shirt with its front feet and start clawing up my shirt toward my chin… nope. The only solution I could think of involved even more risk. The pole cat would have to be very, very close… I didn’t want to have to reach way out, lose my balance, and fall face down on the critter. I mean, there were rocks and cactus all around. It could be painful. The solution was to wait until the critter was right at my feet… maybe 4 inches away…. Then pick him up in a grab that would move him away from my body and hold him at shoulder height. If things didn’t go as planned … a poor grab, hair pulls out, tail breaks, whatever… then the critter would already be on a trajectory away from me and I could boost him in that direction as much as possible, turn lose and run in the opposite direction. If it worked, then I’d have a firm grip on the tail, he would be looking into my eyes, unable to reach me, orifice of concern would be pointed away, and I’d have good balance.

    What should I do with my gun? Well, this wasn’t going to be a 2 handed grab… they don’t weigh that much. I considered putting it on the ground, but if I needed to make a quick get away it would make an obstacle that I didn’t want to worry about. I loved that gun and never abused it. Also, it might come in handy in some way if things went wrong. So, I decided to hold it in my left hand and grab with my right hand only since I am right handed.

    The plan was coming together! And, all in the space of maybe 2 breaths. I was a fast thinker back then! I was proud. I had thought of everything!

    And so, it began. It was a thing of beauty to behold. Snip performed flawlessly and in maybe 15 moves the pole cat backed up the intervening 50 feet and was at my very feet while remaining focused intently on the dog. He hadn’t shot his wad yet. My “pole cat snatch” was executed perfectly as planned and I was seeing my reflection in his black beady eyes at arm’s length. The good news was that he seemed incapable of curling back up on himself and thus getting to my firm hand hold on his tail. So far, so good. I noticed that my eyes were not stinging and chanced a breath… all was well! Only the residual skunk aroma… nothing really fresh. He twisted a few times then simply hung there… I had everything under control.

    My school bus buddies were right! Hanging there his tail and backbone were as straight as a pencil. A pole cat can’t stink unless the tail is up. Then, Snip came right up to me and barked proudly, having “treed” the critter.

    Then, I realized that perhaps my plan was a little incomplete…. What now?

    Well, obviously, if you catch a pole cat in the pasture and nobody else is there to see it… well, it can’t be proven. So, there was only one solution.

    I walked the 100 yards back to the Rock House holding my prize at arm’s length. I went thru the gate and into the house since I could not get the attention of my aging grandmother. She was “resting her eyes” in the easy chair in the front room. Yep, she observed the event and clearly understood the import. I had my witness but she didn’t agree that I had everything under control! I also received a clear and certain ultimatum to “get that thing outta here!”

    I took it out to the front yard and we discussed the situation for a while… she was a little heated about it but I had long ago learned that if I remained calm then she, too, would calm down… sooner or later…. And another plan emerged. She brought a large metal Crisco lard can out of the house along with its lid. The gun had by now been properly placed and I had one free hand. I set the can on the ground, grasped the lid in my free hand, and plunked the distraught pole cat head down into the can. I managed to get the lid on the can without getting the tail caught on the rim. And, the lard can lid sealed the critter inside.

    Relief! I hadn’t realized how tired my right arm had become from holding the critter at arm’s length for maybe 15 minutes… but it felt good to get the lid on and not be all stunk with skunk . Then, a great fear hit me. I still didn’t smell the pole cat. What if this was the one in a million that didn’t stink…. Or maybe it had already used all its stink earlier that day… maybe all this had actually proven nothing… If it didn’t stink now, then it couldn’t stink and my prowess was all for naught.

    About that time my grandfather drove up to pick me up for the evening chores. From long experience he determined that my grandmother was really agitated. As she described how she had been “resting my eyes” and “John brought a pole cat into the house,” the twinkle in his eyes became brilliant and his grin uncontrollable. “Well, where is it now?” I pointed to the shiny can at my feet. “What are you going to do with it?”

    Well, that same question was actually weighing on me at that moment. I admitted that I didn’t have a disposal plan.

    “Why don’t you take it outside the yard and use it for target practice?” Was his practical query. Relieved that a plan had emerged, I did just that…. And discovered that a Crisco lard can lid is air tight. As soon as the metal membrane was punctured by the first bullet there remained no doubt that the pole cat was, in fact, capable of making his fragrant essence known.

    I will admit that, having perfected the “pole cat snatch” the first time, I have not seen a need to repeat it!

    And, that’s the truth!

    By the way… like Myth Busters always says… don’t try this. I’m an expert and know what I’m doing!!

    YPCSMV (Your Pole Cat Snatch May Vary)
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

    Kubota 5030 HSTC, BB, Danueser PHD, LA853 QA HD FEL w JD toothbar, 3pt chisel, 3 pt disk, 6' shredder, Kubota FEL hay spike, 3pt hay fork w carryall, Kubota RTV 1140

  4. #4
    Bronze Member dancer's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    Quote Originally Posted by texasjohn
    OK, guys, here's my explination about how to catch a skunk.

    ...

    And, that’s the truth!
    I believe it! And also that that is the best story anywhere on TBN! Feel free to tell more!
    Kubota L3130, LA723 QA FEL, Woods BH80-X backhoe, Modern "Super Sunshine" Rotary Cutter, Wheat Disk (now broken)
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    Most people don't know what they're doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.

  5. #5
    Super Star Member rswyan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    So rox .... what I wanna know is

    .... are ya game ?

  6. #6
    Platinum Member roxynoodle's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    No way! I'm not grabbing that thing. My dog is a Dalmatian. When faced with a skunk, she will just go after it and get sprayed. The tomato juice bath is something she has experienced, as have I. Great story though!

    We do not have animal control in our county. When I was building my pole barn I found a bat. I was a tad concerned about this bat because not only was it not with the other bats in the big barn, it was on the wall and in the sunlight. Very carefully, I got the bat into a coffee can and went to call animal control or the health department or whoever I thought could test this bat for rabies. Nothing like this in the phone book. Eventually I called the sheriff to see if they knew who I should call or where I should take it. Must have been a slow day for them because next thing I knew, I had 4 sheriff's cars in my driveway. The neighbors all freaked out and thought my ex-husband had killed me or something. To this day I don't know what they did with that bat. They wanted to shoot it and throw it in a ditch, but I thought that was a bad idea. At least rabid bats don't attack people unless the people grab them. If something else like a dog or possum ate that bat, then I thought there was a possibility that it could get rabies and then we'd have an animal that was dangerous to humans or livestock running around with rabies. The point is, once the skunk is trapped, I'm not sure what I will do with it. If there is some way to trap it so it can't spray I would at least be willing to drive it a few miles away and attempt to free it. A couple years ago after the fields were harvested I had a young "teenage" skunk coming to my porch to eat cat food. At first I was pretty freaked out about it, but as a time went on, the skunk realized I was the food provider and seemed to have no fear of me. I would walk past it, reasonably assured I wouldn't be sprayed. After about 6 weeks it went back to wherever it came from and there were no incidents. The one hanging out in my corncrib has been spraying though. I must have scared it with the tractor yesterday as I was mowing because that was a pretty horrid stench I smelled as I went by. Guess I'd better be careful in the mornings when I go out to feed the horses. The pole barn is right behind the corncrib.

  7. #7
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    My father was able to dispose of unwanted skunks with a 10 foot pole and not get sprayed. There was a technique to the procedure.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  8. #8
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    Catch it in a Haver Hart or a homemade box trapand then submerge trap AND skunk in water. No Smell. bcs

  9. #9
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    roxynoodle , I gotta level with you.... I strongly suspect you have a momma skunk that has set up housekeeping at your place. If you don't want it, you will either have to catch it in a live trap (it WILL smell and is very hard to handle with a live critter running back and forth in the trap while you try to keep your fingers away from becomming skunk food) or a snap trap (dangerous to cats, other pets, yourself if you don't know how to set and handle it), or shoot it.

    I recommend shooting it with a shotgun. Done quickly, you CAN drop the critter without a stink. Use number 4 or 6 shot. Accuracy is not as critical with a shotgun and you can be reasonably safe shooting around your place with it. Set up watch by sitting rather still in a chairin the late evening and wait for it to come out of its hiding spot and amble off for a night of foraging... then lower the boom on it.
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

    Kubota 5030 HSTC, BB, Danueser PHD, LA853 QA HD FEL w JD toothbar, 3pt chisel, 3 pt disk, 6' shredder, Kubota FEL hay spike, 3pt hay fork w carryall, Kubota RTV 1140

  10. #10
    Platinum Member roxynoodle's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to trap a skunk

    Is this the normal time of year for them to have babies? My "pet" raccoon only has one litter per year, in March. By August she has them out on their own. I don't shoot but I'm sure a neighbor would help with the dispatch. But, of course, it sounds like I will have to look for the babies. Do they climb like raccoons? If so, she may have them in a wall. That armoire keeps getting opened, yet I haven't seen a skunk nor baby skunks in it. Do they make any noise? Baby raccoons make a cooing noise.

    Just wondering, is a polecat a weasel or a skunk?

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