When Skunks Are a Problem: How to Trap Them

At a rendezvous at Fort Washita in Oklahoma–oh, it must have been around 1999 or 2000, I talked with one of the sutlers there who made skunk caps (like a coonskin cap that David Crockett is pictured as wearing).  I asked him how he got his hides for the skunk caps–which he sold out of at every rendezvous, and they were high dollar items–and he shared with me the secret of trapping skunks. He had been often hired by schools and churches to trap troublesome skunks. If you can imagine a church or a school with a surfeit of skunks living there, you can see the problems that would create. Here’s how he said one should trap a skunk.  The problem with skunks is that no one in the city or county government wants to help you trap them. If you do find somebody, you’ll pay big bucks. Now, if you’re too sensitive and don’t see skunks as a pest, and are willing to live with their threat of rabies and odious odor should they choose to set up residence near you, and think of skunks only as love-lorn Pepe le Pews, you should probably not read on:

1. Buy a wire box trap from True Value Hardware. They’re not too expensive and you can use them for other pests such as coons and possums (I live in the garden district in Monroe, Louisiana, and have had to trap and execute 6 raccoons and one possum. They were literally EATING my house!)

2. Insert all but the entrance into a thick garbage bag.

3. Bait the trap with sardines. He said skunks loved sardines.  For coons I use a package of cat food.

4. If/when the skunk is trapped, scoop up the trap, tighten the end of the trash bag and pick up the trap. That way, you won’t get sprayed.

5. Have a 50 gallon barrel filled with water waiting nearby. Open the top of the bag enough to slip the wire cage containing the skunk into the barrel. The skunk will drown, and according to the mountain man who trapped skunks and other critters for a living, will not spray anything. You can then bury the dead skunk, dispose of him in some other way, or skin him and sell the hide (for a very good price) at the next rendezvous.