Kathy Bassett: Why were skunks created?



Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.

— My poor momma cat is wearing herself thin moving her newest batch of babies here and there.

First they went in the haystack, then under a big stock tank and then under the house, just to keep them safe from the skunks, coons and coyotes.

Jesse and Russell saw a coyote by the house the other day, but the coyote just thumbed 'em cuz he knew they didn't have a rifle. I just know he was sneaking in to eat some more cat food or find a baby kitty.

Cat food is expensive enough, and I don't like buying it for the critters who come uninvited every night to help eat it.

So, at Senior Dinner the other day, this person was jaw-waggin' to a couple of us about how she had a skunk in her trap that had been there six days and didn't know what to do with it.

Grandma told her just to reach in there, grab its tail and pull it out. I don't think the woman was impressed with that idea.

I told her just to shoot it. She said she couldn't do that because she had company coming and didn't want to smell up the place. I now know what she meant!

So what happens? I went home and found a skunk in my trap. I can prove it - just smell my truck! When we drive down the road, other vehicles cringe and move over.

My beautiful truck. Oh, it is awful. It gives me a headache just to walk past the poor thing whom I've always fondly called "Lil Miss Gitty Up and Go!"

Yeppers, I actually do talk to my truck.

I encourage her during the rough muddy/icy times and compliment her in the good times. I pat her on the dashboard just so she knows how much I appreciate her. She treats me right, and I make sure she gets her oil changed every 2,000 to 3,000 miles. But I'm almost sure I heard a little gasping whisper when I walked past her this morning, "How could you do this to me?"

Well, it wasn't hard. First of all, everyone kept telling me that if you shoot a skunk in the back, it won't smell cuz it can't lift its tail. So, I decided that now was about as good a time as any to try that theory out.

I took aim and the stinky critter rolled over and went to the land of permanent sleep. And best part of it all, it didn't raise its ugly tail and didn't spray anything. So, I picked up the trap and placed it in the back of my truck.

Peeeeeeeeeeee yuuuuuuuuuu!

Maybe it didn't raise its stinkin' tail and spray, but all the muscles relaxed and from that point on, what difference does it make? It's all the same. I drove on down to the lower pasture, dumped the stinky thing out of the trap and went back to the house.

The stink crawled off the bed of my truck and then sneaked inside and embedded itself into the upholstery. I tried spraying it with Lysol. No good. I went back to my ol' faithful way of getting rid of skunk smell - baking soda and peroxide. That worked 99.5 percent.

The next day, when I checked my trap, yeppers, another skunk. Boy, was he on the fight. Tsk, tsk, shouldn't of got in my trap, then. I remembered the day before and dumped him into a plastic sack, tying the top tightly closed.

He joined the other skunk down in the lower pasture.

He paid me back, though, because the plastic sack idea didn't work. He relaxed all his muscles 10-fold over what the first skunk did. My truck is worse and my clothes are worse'er, and my boots are beyond mention. And he didn't even spray!

I re-set the trap over in the hay stack yard and so far have caught three more skunks and two barn cats. One skunk did "point and shoot" and Ani caught it! I got her cleaned up, though, so we could stand being with her.

The trap sure smells awful. I thought that would keep the regular kitties away. I guess not because I usually put awfully good food in the trap and always catch myself something.

I've been baiting it with chicken, dumplings and noodles because I figure the skunks are getting really full of regular ol' cat food every night. Grandma wanted me to add some mashed taters with it, but I told her I didn't think skunks probably liked mashed taters.


Colette Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

Why not just take them out and release them (the skunks?). They are God's creatures just as you are.


awintrode 7 years, 6 months ago

When you and your cats get bit by snakes, you'll know it's only because you killed the skunks, who would have eaten those snakes. When you get stung by a wasp next spring, it will also be because you killed the skunks, who would have gladly taken care of any wasp nests over the winter months and into the spring before the wasps reproduced. When your flower beds are taken over by bag worms, aphids, and slugs, you'll get to look back and smile at the fact that you killed one of the only animals on the planet that would have solved that problem for you too. And when your cats decide to try the chicken and dumplings and get caught in that same sort of trap in someone else's yard, then the cat gets shot, because that person happens to think that stray cats are just as bad as skunks, I'm sure you won't fault them for it, because after all, you'll both be on the same level when it comes to killing creatures for absolutely no good reason. God forbid you actually MOVE your cat food into a barn or shed where wild animals can't get it, or heaven forbid move the cat food to a whole two feet off the ground where skunks can't climb to get into it, but cats can. I'm sure killing living things is much more reasonable than raising a dish off the ground.


grannyrett 7 years, 6 months ago

You can walk up to a trap holding a tarp in front of you and put it over the trap. Then pick it up and put it in your truck. It won't spray. Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen my nephew do it in Arkansas. And, here is where I am gonna really make all the animal lovers mad--he took it to a pond on his property, and put the trap in. Problem solved. No more skunk, and no stink.


als362 7 years, 6 months ago

Doesn't make me mad granny, sounds like a good treatment for stray cats to me. Thanks for the tip!


Colette Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps granny and als would like to pick up today's copy (Sunday) of the Denver Post and read Amy Dickinson's column. Her opinion about those twisted folks who gratuitously kill animals is relevant to this discussion. Killing for the sake of killing. How very sad.


als362 7 years, 6 months ago

Not killing for the sake of killing.
Killing to rid ourselves of useless pests.


carn 7 years, 6 months ago

One word: rabies

It's made a recent comeback in Colorado in the past couple of years, so far on the east side of the mountains, but creeping westward. Skunks are very efficient at spreading the virus and so far most rabid animals tested had the skunk strain.


Colette Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

Who's to define "useless"? The post by "awintrode" raised many interesting (and correct) points. Nothing in the eco system is "useless". There is a web, everything is related, is here for a reason, and serves a purpose. The term "wildlife management" is an oxymoron.


als362 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know about the "oxy" part, but I am convinced that 3canines has the moron part down pat.
If it weren't for wildlife management, there would be no buffalo, flamingos, egrets, otters, seals, whales, or fish left in the world. Nor would there be places for these animals to live, feed and roam.
Wildlife management is an essential part of living in the world as it is today.
Elk, deer and antelope, are managed every day, not just during hunting season as some people think.


slipknot 7 years, 6 months ago

Further clarification: during the hunting seasons it's people management, the rest of the year it's wildlife management. Skunks have their place in the grand scheme of things but we as humans at the top of the food chain, make the choice to feed or not to feed, to attract or not attract and unfortunately, kill or not to kill. Remove the attractant/bait and you remove the choice of kill or not to kill. I've lived in some towns where I'd rather have skunks as neighbors, than the humans that lived near by.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.