Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ready to Commit Murder


by Libby Hellmann

Ah, the joys of summer: bright sunshine, soft breezes, flowers, steaks on the grill...

And skunks.

Some of you already know about my ongoing trials with these creatures. Well, at this point, they’re winning. And I’ve had it. It’s war.

I live on the North Shore of Chicago not far from the forest preserve. I’ve gotten used to the deer eating my day lilies (and pooping on the lawn), the raccoons tipping over the garbage cans, even the occasional fox strolling across the yard. Live and let live, right?

No more.

It started about three years ago when our wonderful Beagle, Shiloh, was still with us. Unfortunately, Shiloh thought everyone was his friend, and that included rodents and varmints. The upshot was that he got skunked in our back yard, not once but three times. The first time I rushed him to the vet, but they wouldn’t take him. Instead, they told me about the peroxide-baking soda-dishwashing liquid mix (tomato juice definitely does NOT work), and I raced to the drug store to take care of the poor guy. Shiloh hates baths, but he had a good one that night. Of course, the stench stayed in my car for days – even a once-over with the mixture and at least two bottles of Febreze didn’t do much.

About a month later, it happened again. This time I was ready. I locked Shiloh in the garage, had the solution ready in a jiffy, and we went through the process again. It happened a third time before the end of that summer (I never said Beagles were smart). I remember being thankful when cold weather came.

Fast forward to the following spring. It’s about five in the morning, and I’m having a nightmare about a disgusting odor that just won’t go away. I wake up to discover it’s no dream. The odor is in my house, and it’s skunk spray. I jump out of bed, tear through the house, and find out that skunks are mating under my deck, and one of them just had to spray into the window-well where the stink penetrated into the basement.

This time it took two weeks and several trips to the store get a special enzyme-y thing that was supposed to break up the skunk-spray molecules but didn’t really work. Not to mention the traps that Animal Control set. Naturally, they didn’t catch the skunk -- Turns out they’re pretty smart, at least smart enough not to crawl into a cage for bait. But I did catch two lovely raccoons.

The last straw came a couple of nights ago. A skunk came to my front door, sprayed, and then pranced off into the night. The stench penetrated inside in a minute. I swear it was a deliberate provocation. That skunk was singling me out. I know it.

I’m convinced that there’s a skunk population explosion on the North Shore and the authorities are covering it up, because they know the citizenry would rise up in arms if they knew how many of these creatures are actually roaming around. It’s clearly a conspiracy. And what the authorities aren’t covering up, the skunks themselves are perpetrating. Because they can. They’re trying to take over the world, one forest preserve at a time.

But I won’t let them. I’m done playing defense. It’s war. I have my Illinois FOID card and I’m going to the gun range for target practice. Before I do, though, I’ll open it up for one last round of suggestions.

How do you stop a skunk dead in its tracks?

26 comments:

MysterLynch said...

Libby,

What have you done to these guys? You must have pissed them off something fierce.

Marcia said...

I know you said "animal control", but did you try Critter Control? Good company. Have helped us out. I think all the skunks here in nw suburbs have decided to hit the north shore. They don't seem to be perfuming the air here as much. I probably shouldn't say this because they may decide to make me a liar. Good luck!

Dana King said...

I don't know if there's a skunk conspiracy, but something definitely stinks.

One thing to consider before taking lethal action. Skunks often spray when they die.

I hate to speak ill of those who have departed, but your beloved Shiloh was dumb as a roofing nail. I had a dog once who tangled with a skunk. After that, just the scent of skunk down the road (I lived in a rural area) would bring Tiger running for the house to hide.

Laurie King said...

Was your skunk guy using proper skunk traps, with solid sides rather than wire sides? If not, he might not have been too experienced with skunks.
And what kind of bait was he using? My skunk guy (who looked as if he lived in the woods under a tree, himself) swore by marshmallows, or if you want to get fancy, a marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich, with the 'mallows as the bread.
Another thing I've found helpful are those motion-triggered sprayers left on at night (and turned off in the morning, or you'll get a surprise when you walk by)--all kinds of beasties get nervous when noise and water come flying out of nowhere. The first couple of times you might get a small burst of skunk-spray, but mine here (in CA) didn't, just moved on.

Chapman said...

Before you start going all Sarah Palin on the little guys why not try fighting wizz with wizz. Here's a company that sells predator pee. A little Wile E. Coyote scent might keep them and the deer out of your yard.
http://www.predatorpee.com/

jnantz said...

What's the first thing you feel after murdering an innocent skunk?




Recoil.

Libby Hellmann said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Laurie. Have called the wildlife people, and they're supposed to show up this morning. With jelly. We'll see. I was told coyote pee doesn't do much, Chapman. But I'll ask again. So far so good this morning... he (or she as the wildlife guy thinks) was bothering someone else last night.

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