Just in time for upland bird hunting: a preseason skunking

As grouse and other autumn bird seasons begin, every hunting dog owner should keep the ingredients handy for a canine de-skunking kit.

The morning had started off just a bit too perfectly. A week of heat and humidity was followed up by two days of rain, Sunday morning broke sunny, clear, and in the 60s. Perfect conditions for a run to Minnesota’s northeastern sharp-tailed grouse cover for a little preseason bird dog training.

Five minutes from the truck, my 2-year old shorthair Esky locked up into a staunch point. My veteran shorthair, Trammell, honored as I approached from Esky’s left. One young sharpie exploded to the air, followed by a second, and a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. We moved a little further into the wind and the pups pointed in unison on another pair of sharpies from the brood.

A couple hundred yards further into the center of the section of grass, Esky locked up again. This time, her tail flagged. I should have known, but it’s August and there is still rust on this bird hunter’s brain. As I approached, Esky broke point and buried her head into a hole and the cloud of skunk hit her, the wind, then me.

Of course I’d taken the ingredients of my de-skunking kit out of my truck last winter, which meant I spent the next hour getting back to the highway, finding a grocery store, then a lake with a boat launch. Three de-skunking applications later, Esky smells like a flower. Unfortunately, as I write this nine hours later, my truck still smells of skunk and the stink will likely cling to me as I make my way to the Pheasants Forever office in the morning.

So, let my preseason skunking be a reminder for all my bird dog brethren. Get that dog de-skunking kit back in your truck.


• 1 quart (2 pints) of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide

• ¼ cup baking soda

• 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap (with grease cutter)

• Sponge

• Rubber gloves

• Small bucket for mixing


1) Mix solution

2) Wet dog down

3) Work in solution

4) Leave on 3-4 minutes

5) Rinse

6) Repeat steps one through five as necessary

Note: solution is unsafe to mix and store ahead of time.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s vice president of marketing. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

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