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The skunk trials

Getting rid of skunks is not always easy.

Brent Murphree, Senior Editor, Delta Farm Press

February 7, 2023

2 Min Read
Sulfur is one of the components of skunk spray, but rotten eggs is not the only characteristic of the pungent scent that can be smelled up to half a mile away and can linger for weeks. debibishop/Getty Images/iStockphoto

This morning while out with the dog, he encountered a skunk. It was his first encounter and I hope it will be his last.

He is certainly suffering as a result because he received a full blast as he - mouth open – went after the varmint. He drooled skunk funk for an hour after he was hit.

We washed him in a recommended mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn dishwashing liquid. We rinsed him twice with a vinegar solution and then scrubbed him down with dog shampoo. I’m not sure any of that dissipated much of the smell.

Now, by association, the garage as well as the house smells like skunk. I’m hoping the odor will fade enough for my meeting with the head office in five days. Wish me luck.

It’s not my first skunk encounter.

A skunk once gave birth to a litter of kits in the crawl space under my house on the farm. It had gained entrance to the crawl space by digging underneath the evaporative cooler.

The smell was atrocious. I was able to get the critters out from under the house and I immediately filled in the hole. Later the skunks came back, digging under the house at a different location.

I filled in this hole and sprinkled it with mothballs to deter the animals. The smell of the mothballs was toxic and affected my breathing much more than the skunks had.

So, I dug out the soil with the mothballs, hauled the dirt away and replaced it with new soil. Later, the skunks dug back under the evaporative cooler.

When I eliminated those skunks, I filled the area they had dug through with broken concrete pieces so they couldn’t dig back in. The problem was solved, for a while.

One night, I was lying in bed. It was a warm, dry desert night and the evaporative cooler was running. I heard scraping on the metal sheeting of the cooler. One of the skunks was back.

I was sure that it couldn’t get under the house, but I ran outside and chased it off.

Later I was awakened by scratching. Then I heard a screech, followed immediately by the overwhelming smell of a discharge. It must have gotten caught in the pieces of concrete and panicked.

Being under the evaporative cooler, my house was suddenly filled with the concentrated garlicy, ammonia smell of skunk spray.

I ran outside with a .22 rifle. As I rounded the corner, the skunk and I were face to face. It whirled around and I ducked behind the corner as it released another blanket of smell, but no direct hit.

In a period of about a year I disposed of seven or eight skunks. It was all out war. They were tenacious, I was victorious. This morning was a potent reminder. It will linger.

About the Author(s)

Brent Murphree

Senior Editor, Delta Farm Press

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