There are good ways and bad ways to deal with a skunk in a trap

Mike SchoonveldA friend of mine runs an “urban trap line.” There are lots of raccoons, opossums, muskrats, even foxes that live in urban areas. Depending on the place he’s trapping, he relies on two types of traps, either cage traps or 220 body-grip “killer” traps.

He either wants the animals he catches to be dead, usually a few seconds after the trap snaps, or healthy, in case the neighbor’s cat is caught. Working only weekends, before and after work, he amasses a tidy pile of pelts as the season progresses, all inside the city limits and completely unnoticed other than by the home owners who rely on him to keep the neighborhood vermin at bay.  

Tom recently learned there’s another species of wildlife that lives in his area – skunks.

From historical accounts I’ve read, skunks used to be far more abundant than they are now. They also used to be much more valuable for their fur than they are now and accomplished skunk trappers used to pile up hundreds of pelts per season. I can only imagine, these trappers were mostly shunned at school, church or other public areas. From my own trap line experience, when you deal with a skunk, you end up smelling like a skunk. Not every time, but enough to know you better tread lightly and upwind to avoid becoming a pariah and a stinky one, at that.

Tom made several mistakes with his first-ever skunk capture. Though caught in body-gripper trap, it wasn’t “killed,” just gripped. It had already discharged one load of “mist” so the area was already contaminated. When he came near, the “skunk-juice” on the ground became the skunk-juice on the soles of his shoes. (I carry plastic bags from the grocery store to slip on over my boots when dealing with the stinkers that blunder into my sets.)

He dispatches his live catches with a pellet gun, legal in his town, almost silent and a head shot is deadly at close ranges. Except a head shot on a skunk guarantees a discharge as the skunk moves onto whatever afterlife they may have.

Better, when dispatching a skunk, is a shot to the heart/lung area as when shooting a deer.

That doesn”t guarantee a scent-free death, but gives the dispatcher at least a 50/50 chance of a no-discharge demise. Tom went for the brain-shot and got the normal results.

He’s also shopping for a new pair of boots and hoping the scent on his clothes will fade or wash away. He’s hoping the residue on his hair, face and hands will expire allowing him to go to work, church and other public venues.

Good Luck, my friend. It’s a road I traveled years ago and a bumpy road it was.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, MicBlogs, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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