Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Of all the bad luck, we caught a skunk in the Have a Heart Trap.

I’d like to whine and say that this sort of thing only happens to me, but this event has precedence. In fact, it happened to DH, who lent us the trap in the first. place. As you may have guessed, we have had a woodchuck problem, which people up here often deal with up here with a rifle or shotgun. Being the peaceful animal lovers that we are, we don’t want to kill the thing since he’s not really hurting our livelihood, he’s just a pest.

Last year, we had a woodchuck problem, as well, and we somehow, by some miracle of fate, caught the bugger with DH’s trap. Well, we’ve spotted yet another one in our yard, so we borrowed the trap and feeling confident and self assured, set it up once again. This new one hasn’t gotten into the garden, yet, so we figured we’d be proactive and catch it before it found its way in.

I set the trap up beside the garden fence, and waited. While we didn’t catch the groundhog, we did manage to catch our cat, Misty, who must have been curious enough to climb inside. She wasn’t upset, and we got a big laugh out of it, but just yesterday morning, I looked down at the garden and saw something black and white inside. My heart sank as it was clear what it was - a skunk.

I called my karate teacher, CH, who is a master hunter and trapper, and in between chuckles he said to just make sure you protect yourself with a big sheet or tarp, then release the thing. He had never caught a skunk before, but he said he got a porcupine once. DH, on the other hand, had caught a skunk, and had firsthand knowledge. He confirmed CH’s advice. He said he used an old blanket and slowly approached the thing before covering it up. Once it was covered, he could transport it. However, he said he had a smaller trap, and the thing couldn’t move around inside. The trap we had was much bigger, and the skunk could move freely inside and spray me at will.

I didn’t have time to deal with it right away, and took N to his hockey practice and then to W. Leb to run an errand, but it was on my mind the whole time. Finally, around early afternoon, I decided the time had come to be a man and deal with Nature’s wrath. I put on disposable gloves and clothes that were expendable, took a 9X12 clear plastic tarp, and slowly approached. I thought the tarp would allow me to view the skunk as I approached, and even see the spray hitting the plastic, but it wasn’t actually clear. I ended up having to peak over the top, thus exposing myself.

Anyway, I was anxious as heck, and assumed the beast was going to blast me. He was clearly scared, and I could see that he was extremely wary of me. Skunks are kind of cute animals, if not for their defensive mechanism. As I got closer, however, he never once turned his rear end to me. I got the tarp over the trap, and then covered that with a sheet, figuring that darkness might be more comforting. Getting the trap open was a bit of a chore because the mechanism that keeps it closed also makes it tricky to open, at least when you’re concerned about a skunk spraying you. I used some hooks and rocks to undo the latch, and after about five minutes (the skunk must have been freaking out), finally got the darn thing opened.

And, of course, once freedom was looking him in the eye, the skunk didn’t want to leave. I think I made it too cozy for him, and he had plenty to eat inside. Also, since the cage was covered, I couldn’t see if he was still there, and didn’t have time to sit and wait for him to leave. I went up to the house and made the kids lunch, then checked the trap, and the guy was still there! I was tempted to lift the thing up and dump him out, but that would have pissed him off.

Finally, I went over and pulled the sheet off, thus making it bright inside the trap. I could see him nestled in the corner. I went away again for a bit, and when I returned this time, he had finally left. Boy was I relieved. I’m not going to set that thing up outside the garden again.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Torli Roberts for the pic.

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