Guidelines for Catching Skunks

Skunks are usually mild tempered, nocturnal creatures, moving about at night. They are sensitive to light so days they stay in their dens. Skunks, for the most part, don’t spray unless they are cornered or attacked. If they are sick, there’s a greater chance to get sprayed. If you see a skunk in the daytime, this is cause for concern as the skunk is probably diseased. During mating season, you may see an occasional male during the daytime. Skunks go through a series of warning motions before they spray. They will erect their tails and stamp their feet and hiss. At this point, move, walk away fast as the skunk is going to spray. A skunk can spray as far away as 12 feet and as many as 8 times. When dogs come home full of spray, they’ve usually been sprayed more than once. Skunks will go under out buildings, houses and porches to den and have their young. You might see holes where they have dug under a building or smell the musky odor of the skunk as they do mark their territories. Lawns will have holes in the morning from the skunks digging for grubs and other insects. Skunks will usually ignore people and other animals unless they are disturbed. As the human population moves to more rural areas, into the skunks territory, more people are having to trap and remove the creatures.

Choosing the right animal trap.
An enclosed trap is preferable to catching skunks. Make sure you check the trap often, trap at night when they are out and the weather is cool. In hot weather, any animal caught in an enclosed trap can become over heated and can die very quickly. There’s no guarantee that the animal in the trap is a skunk. It might be your neighbor’s cat, so please check often.

The smaller the skunk trap, the less chance you have of being spayed. Shunks need to raise their tails to spray. Many people use a water hose in warm weather to spray the skunks tail to keep the skunk from spraying.

Baiting is very important. Skunks are omnivorous but their diet mostly consists of insects. They also like fruit and bird eggs. They are scavengers and will eat almost everything, dog and cat food outside will draw them in. A boiled egg is a good bait to use, the scent draws them in. Bacon grease is another good bait but will bring in other animals ,too.

When transferring the skunks to a new home, make sure that there’s a food and water supply available. If not, you might have your uninvited guests back. If you can relocate them near a river or reservoir, the chances are less they will be back. Don’t be surprised if the skunk doesn’t run right out of the trap when released, it needs to feel safe to leave the trap. You can use a long pole to turn the gravity trap over onto its top, the door automatically opens allowing the skunks to walk out.

If you chose a spring load skunk trap, other precautions need to be taken. They are more difficult to use as the door must be manually manipulated to be opened. You should place a piece of canvas over the one half of the trap so the skunk does not notice you approach the trap. Make sure you cover the opposite half of the trap, leave the end that you need to open uncovered. The skunk will try to hide and will stay under the covered part of the trap. You need to be able to open the door quickly to reduce the risk of being sprayed. Approach the trap with a large piece of canvas. Canvas is quieter than using a plastic tarp and affords protection from spray. Gently place this large canvas over the entire trap. If you can, take a quick peek to see if the skunk is at the opposite end of the trap before you open. After you open the door (use gloves), quietly get up and walk away taking the larger piece of canvas with you. The skunk will leave the skunk trap when he feels it’s safe to do so.

Try not to intimidate or threaten a skunk. Crouch to make yourself small, sometimes talking gently will calm them down. Skunks tend not to spray if they can’t see. Shaking, bumping, banging, handling the trap in a rough matter will encourage the skunk to spray.

This information is only a guideline and is not all inclusive about skunks or trapping. We encourage you to research more about skunks and wish a happy trapping experience.