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Skunk Problem. Advice?


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#1 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 02:08 AM

So there has been a skunk coming around my farm for a few weeks. We lost two baby runner ducks a while ago. And shortly after that, I spotted the sucker for the first time. It was about 11pm, and I was minding my own business, sitting on my porch having a beer and talking in chat. I hear a scruffle in the bushes, and whip out my flashlight. There was this skunk, no more than ten feet away, crossing my yard.

I jumped out of my chair, and retreated inside, not wanting to be sprayed. The skunk just wandered back to the bush line along my fence.

It has been back every night for over a week, save one night where I wasn't outside to see it. It seems to show up between 11 pm and 1 am, sometimes coming back several times a night, even after I chase it away.

It almost got me tonight when I was trying to scare it off. It has been harder and harder to chase it away each night, and tonight was the first time it stood it's ground, and acted aggressive, hissing and going into the spray stance.

My concern is obviously twofold. One, I am worried it will try and get more poultry, and two, I am worried it will spray me. It likes to chill in the same area that I do at night, which may prove problematic.

I don't like killing things, but I am not above doing so when needed. I would however like to come up with another solution before I resort to violence.

Comments! Advice, please!

#2 polly_sacharride

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 02:49 AM

I have a cat that seems to like fighting skunks. She's been sprayed three times in as many months this year.

Even the presence of another apparently aggressive predator doesn't seem to deter the skunks where I live though.

I don't have any poultry right now, but I have in past years and have for most of my life growing up. Skunks were always a problem.

That's one of the main reasons I don't have chickens right now.

Unfortunately the only ways I've ever known of dealing with skunks were to either scare them off with another larger animal or kill them.

I just wish I didn't find them so cute.



#3 mithrandiir42

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 05:59 AM

Runner ducks seem to be a favorite snack of predators... we had eight last summer and now we have none. I miss having them around, but I have no way of protecting them.

 

I have a pet skunk.. she hates vacuum cleaners, but I wouldn't suggest running after it with a vacuum cleaner. If you do, record video ;-)

 

Seriously though, I can't think of any (non-violent) way to deter it short of fencing in your poultry or finding safety on a pond or something. Skunks are stubborn critters.

 

We had a pair of large Muscovy ducks that hung out with our runners and I feel like they helped protect the smaller ducks from the smaller, less determined predators, but eventually a fox got them too when the pond was frozen over.



#4 Cue

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 06:19 AM

You could try cracker shells. Basically 12g blanks.

I saw these on TV being used to deter bears safely, without harming the bears.

 

http://margosupplies...gauge_carts.htm

12 GAUGE SHELL CRACKERS
Exploding with a loud bang at end of travel (approximately 200' down range), these 12 gauge 2 ¾” cartridges are ideal where long range capabilities are required. Use with open choke shotgun only. Also known as Cracker Shells, Bangers, Schreckpatronen, Shot Tell and Twin Shot.


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#5 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for the responses. Mithrandiir, that is cool you have a pet skunk, I hear they are nice and make good pets once they are de-glanded, or whatever you'd call it. They are very cute, which is making it even harder to consider the "final solution".

Our poultry is fenced in a large area, and while the yard isn't skunk proof, their coops should be. But I am still worried about predation during the night when they are in their coops. There are two main coops that are pretty secure, but I worry about the skunk digging under the walls and getting in. There are several spots I had to pile rocks, to deter some critter from getting in.

We have about 35 juvenile Muscovy (more on the way soon when more eggs hatch) and 20-30 something odd baby chickens aside from the runners. The runners were in a separate coop when a few got munched, and that coop had a skunk sized hole that I forgot about and have since fixed.

The poultry in real danger are a few mama hens that have rebelled and are sitting on nests of eggs in random places they shouldn't, like the bushes or a tool shelf in the shop (doh!). They won't go into the coops at night, and are pretty vulnerable at night. Efforts to move them and their nests failed mostly, and we have so many chickens it's hard to tell if who is where at night.

Honestly the real immediate issue is me being sprayed. Either it has to stop hanging out where I smoke and read at night, or I am going to step on it accidentally or trip over it and get sprayed.




Cue- I might just try a few explosions, see if that works. I don't have my shotgun here (none of my guns are in the same state as me actually) so that specific idea is out. Which also brings up another issue. I have no gun available, so my options become more complicated. I have a very high powered CO2 pistol that MIGHT be strong enough, but would probably be a messy kill. Better option is a crossbow, which I almost bought a few days ago at Big 5 sporting goods. It was cool, would work, and I have always wanted a crossbow. However it goes down, the actual idea of killing it doesn't excite me. The hunt is always kinda fun, I wish I was just hunting with a camera!
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#6 Skywatcher

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:43 AM

These are a couple humane ways to deter skunks. IMO the most effective was the motion activated water sprayer, although I could not seem to remember it was on myself so It got me on many occassions as well. Maybe a combination.

 

If you have to trap it, 

Be sure to cover the trap before moving it to a far away location. If you do nothing, you or your pets will eventually get sprayed or preyed on. Once you have become part of his nightly prowl, he is not going to go away, and nothing is more fun than a bunch of baby skunks under your house or porch that have not learned how to control themselves yet.....

 

  1. Use chemicals that repel skunks. There are a few different chemicals known to be offensive to skunks. If you place them around the edges of your yard and in areas where you suspect skunks like to spend time, the skunks will start avoiding those areas. Chemical repellents have to be reapplied every few days, especially after a heavy rain.
    • Fox and dog urine deters skunks, since foxes and dogs are skunks' natural predators. If you can figure out how to collect dog urine, that's fine to use. You can also buy products containing fox or dog urine at hardware stores. Spray it around the perimeter of your yard.
    • Pepper sprays, also sold to repel squirrels and other wild creatures, are effective skunk repellents. Spray them on trees and other areas where you've seen skunks.
    • Ammonia also deters skunks. Soak old rags in ammonia and place them under your deck or porch to keep skunks from coming in.
    • Citrus peels have natural repellent qualities. Scatter orange or lemon peels around your property and under your deck or porch.
     
  2.  
    3
    Install motion-activated sprinklers. These automatically turn on when an animal wanders too close, and are a safe and natural way to keep skunks away from your property. Place them strategically close to areas where you suspect skunks might want to shelter.
     
 

 

 
 
Method 3 of 3: Remove Skunks that Already Live on Your Property
  1. 670px-Get-Rid-of-Skunks-Step-7.jpg
    1
    Set a trap. Spring-loaded skunk traps lure the skunk inside with bait, then close the door behind them so they can't escape. The skunk is then carried away from your property and set free in the woods or another open, wild area.
    • Bait the skunk trap with peanut butter, canned sardines, cat food, or another strong-smelling food. Set it near the skunk's den or its route of access to your property.
    • Traps designed for raccoons, feral cats and other wild animals also work well for skunks.
    • When you releasing the skunk in the woods, wear heavy clothes and gloves, and make sure your face is positioned well away from the door where the skunk will exit the trap. Most of the time, skunks leave traps calmly, but you should take precautions just in case you get sprayed.

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#7 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:53 AM

Thanks skywatcher, useful info. I have been pissing all over it's little route, and that doesn't seem to be working. There is also a big old dog that came with the property, and is too lazy to do much but bark, nothing out here is afraid of it ha. The deer don't even look up when it barks.

I will try hot pepper oils and maybe some ammonia rags. A cage trap is probably best, and would cost about as much as the crossbow. Now the trick is to find one for sale around me before I get sprayed.

Edit: decided to make a cage trap myself. I have materials, and they are pretty simple. Project time! Guess cactus tea will have to wait.

Edited by TurkeyRanch, 26 July 2014 - 10:59 AM.


#8 Spooner

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 11:14 AM

Once skunk is in trap, how you pick it up, put in truck, drive 20 miles away, and release, without it spraying?



#9 Skywatcher

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:18 PM

Once skunk is in trap, how you pick it up, put in truck, drive 20 miles away, and release, without it spraying?

You cover the trap with a "disposable" tarp or blanket, move slow, and wear protective gloves and clothing. Once they are covered they calm down, and they do not want to spray in a small enclosed area for their own sake. The tricky part is releasing.......


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#10 roscoe

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:23 PM

A trapped skunk sounds like all kinds of bad news to me.

 

Any other animal I would say trap it and relocate but a stink. . . I mean a skunk, no way.

 

I'm not a big fan of killing creatures either but if it were me I would invest in a wrist rocket, and well you know.


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#11 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

Skunk trap built. It works surprisingly well! Now to see if I can catch a skunk!

image.jpg

image.jpg

#12 Skywatcher

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:58 PM

I can't quite figure out how that works, but I will trust your judgement. Try really strong odor bait. Cat food does work with a sardine or two for good measure. 

 

I want pictures when you succeed, and I am sure you will. Just remember, you get one shot at this or he learns to avoid your high tec feeding station.......


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#13 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 02:49 PM

Hard to tell from the picture, but it is basically the same as the live trap in your earlier post skywatcher. There is a trigger, which pulls on the bamboo rod, which holds the door (cut out bucket bottom) open. The bungee is pulling tension on the door, so it snaps shut when the trigger is disturbed.

Works when I test it with a stick, so I guess I will find out if this was a good idea tonight!
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#14 Skywatcher

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 03:18 PM

Excellent!

Photos if possible, but not at the expense of your prize, or if spraying is a risk.......

 

emoticon-object-034.gif


Edited by Skywatcher, 26 July 2014 - 03:20 PM.


#15 Spooner

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 05:50 PM

The buckets look safer from spray than wire cages.

Well done Turkey!



#16 mithrandiir42

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 06:30 PM

Nice.. good luck!

 

I'd give bait advice, but I think Flower's dietary preferences are a bit different from wild skunks.. She has a wicked sweet tooth and loves junk food. But her favorite treats are things like cheese, peanut butter, caramel corn, dried fruit & nuts. But she does love raiding the cat food bowl when she gets a chance (Though I cat food isn't particularly good for them if they eat it often.. too much ash or something)



#17 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 07:48 PM

Nice.. good luck!
 
I'd give bait advice, but I think Flower's dietary preferences are a bit different from wild skunks.. She has a wicked sweet tooth and loves junk food. But her favorite treats are things like cheese, peanut butter, caramel corn, dried fruit & nuts. But she does love raiding the cat food bowl when she gets a chance (Though I cat food isn't particularly good for them if they eat it often.. too much ash or something)


Aww it's name is Flower? Too cute. Did you get it as a baby, de-scented? How does one come into possession of a pet skunk?

Bait tonight will be a can of tuna fish, and maybe a sardine if my lady wants to open a can (I don't like em, but she does). I am glad I decided not to kill it, hopefully this works.
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#18 Spooner

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:26 PM

Many of us are pulling for you TurkeyRanch, hoping for a successful relocation.

I do worry about the rest of the clan taking up the slack, momma, daddy, young'uns, not sure the foraging and family habits of these striped marauders.



#19 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 12:06 AM

Trap set, with a can of tuna for bait. Sitting out with a sixpack of Sierra Nevada Summer ale, a handful of spliffs, and my ridiculously bright flashlight.

Spooner, I too wonder. I feel like this lil sucker is a lone skunk for some reason. Probably because I hope that to be the case.

Maybe he/she won't come back, and we can all go about our lives peacefully. A successful outcome for me tonight would be to not catch the skunk, because they have wandered elsewhere.
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#20 TurkeyRanch

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 12:12 AM

From some quick reading, sounds like if the skunk is a mama with kits, where I am the litter should be plenty old enough to be on their own. It is almost certain that a skunk in this area at this time of year is not caring for a litter. Whew!
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