So how would you manage a problem skunk?

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,971
16,362
797
Southeast Louisiana
I've only shot three skunks in my life. One was after the dogs tangled with it and I just finished it off. Let's not talk about that one. The other two did not spray.

Right after I left home many decades ago, a skunk sprayed under a neighbor's front porch. The neighbor, his sons, my father, and my two younger brothers declared war on skunks that summer. They killed 54, practically all of them in daylight. None of them ever got sprayed, though that may have been because they were far enough away. I do not consider skunks an endangered species.

I have not caught a skunk in my live trap yet. I'd really rather not. But I wired my live trap to a piece of plywood to stabilize it, then built a box that fits over it. The only opening is in the front where they have to enter that way to get to the bait. My hopes are that if I ever catch a skunk, the box around it will keep it from spraying. If I ever have a skunk in there, I would approach it with a tarp or heavy plastic in front of me, then try to put that over the trap to contain it. I still have not worked out how to check inside to see if it is a skunk, raccoon, cat, or what. I guarantee you the adrenaline is pumping when I slide that box back enough to get a look at what is in there.

If you have it in a live trap and decide to shoot it, I recommend a rifle instead of a shotgun or you may ruin your trap. I also agree with the head shot. There is such a small body under all that fur that it is hard to get a killing shot if you try for the body.
 

woodmort

RIP 1938-2020
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
3,524
959
301
MY DD has had a number of skunks live-trapped at her place--both professionally and by her husband--using medium sized Havahart traps. As long as the trap is low enough so the skunk can't raise its tail it won't spray--it doesn't want to spray itself--and then cover the trap with a blanket and move it where you want to dispose of the animal. I caught a young one last summer while attempting to catch our escaped cat, had no trouble just walking up carefully to the trap and opening it--then backed slowly away. It was gone when I came back later but I had to spray-wash the trap to get the dirt it had scraped up into the trap in an attempt to dig its way out.
 

Katy

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
16,317
81
331
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
Quote:They can and will spray whether they can raise their tails or not in the live trap......my husband can attest to that......They just can't aim as well.

When I get them in the live trap I cover them with an old blanket and carefully carry it out away from the farm yard. Then I dispose of it with my 22.
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
48
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
Quote:I've released them in the same fashion, ones that weren't causing problems. Which maybe means the youngin stealing eggs could be one of their kids. Eh, anyways. Both traps are set and baited one with an egg and one with cat food. Today is the first time I actually smelled skunk when I was out with the chickens. Don't know why I haven't smelled this one before now since I've been loosing eggs for over a week now.
I was getting so many eggs the fridge was overflowing, but I've been lucky to get one or two per day lately and ONLY if I manage to get them before dark.
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
48
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
I had an egg that quit in the bator on day 4ish. I put it in the big trap for bait and this is what I caught:



Good use of a bad egg if I do say so myself

The skunk must know I'm on to him, because there were 2 eggs still in the nest tonight. I put one in the smaller trap for bait. Sad way to use a good egg since I'm not getting as many now, but hopefully it's for the greater good.
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
Mar 15, 2010
14,881
29,085
982
On the MN prairie.
That's not a skunk!
You may not have smelled it before, because they don't always smell. Several years ago, I had a 5-gal bucket of apples in my garage and noticed that *something* had been nibbling on them. Then one morning, as I backed my car out to go to work, a skunk waddled from under the stairway that goes into the house to the other side of the garage. There was no "scent" when I had gone out that morning. I locked the dog up so he wouldn't get it, DH was notified, and I went off to work. Later that day, my mom called and told me that we'd be eating supper at their house because the skunk smell was too strong in my house. "Uh, skunk smell? Who ticked off the skunk?" I called DH and asked who provoked the thing, and he said, "Well, it really wasn't too bad the first time it sprayed..." FIRST TIME??? How many times were there? Well, the first time was because DH had let the dog out of the kennel without thinking (really?) and, of course, the dog went immediately into the garage and barked at the skunk. The second time was after DH had shut all the doors, started his pickup and let it run for several hours, hoping to asphyxiate it. When he finally shut it off, he looked and the skunk wasn't moving, so he poked it with a rake handle. 'Nuff said. We finally decided to just take the food source out, leave the doors open that night and hope it had been pestered enough to just get mad and leave. It did. We now make sure the garage is closed up tight every night.
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
48
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
Yup, looks like I'll be trapping in full force again! Two coons in the past 3 days!
Got to get some more padlocks so I can set up all the traps, coz 2-legged skunks made off with one of my coon traps last fall. Annoying really, before you know it I'll have a whole ring full of keys just for my coop stuff! I have 3 locks keyed alike, but I need at least 2 more....
 

redhen

Kiss My Grits...
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 19, 2008
35,107
177
458
Western MA
Do skunks kill chickens?? Or just eat their eggs?
Cause i've smelled one around lately...
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
48
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
Quote:I've released 2 previously and never had any trouble with them. I consider them in the same class as possums in regard to "threat level" to my birds.
However, I believe they are in the Mink family, like weasels, so they could be worse than I know. From my recent experience, the young one sneaking in my coop has been taking eggs from my 35gal drum "next box" while pullets were sleeping on top of it unharmed.
One hen seemed to have trapped herself between some tin and the outside fence and was killed, possibly by the skunk, but I can't say for sure. The head was missing and it's possible that one of the coons did it through the fence.
 

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