When and where do skunks become a problem? P.2

Business

  • Author Dan Frankian
  • Published July 19, 2022
  • Word count 1,043

SKUNK CONTROL METHODS AND SOLUTIONS

Once a skunk has dug a den on your property, it is difficult to remove them. However, Hawkeye employs multiple methods to provide exceptional skunk control and removal solutions that allow them to be permanently removed.

One-Way Exits

One-way exits humanely remove an animal from an enclosed environment, such as underneath a porch or a shed. A door is fitted over the entrance hole; it is designed to allow the animal to leave the inhabited space but not to re-enter. These are usually used when the operator does not want to be sprayed, as they do not require anyone to interact with the animal. One-Way Exits are somewhat limited in their effectiveness because a skunk will usually dig a new entrance right beside the blocked one. One-way exits can ONLY be used if there are no babies or young still relying on their mother’s care.

Skunk Trapping

Trapping is one of the most common and effective ways of getting rid of skunks. If the skunk is known to be hiding in a confined space with only one entrance, such as a shed, a positive set trap can be used. The den’s entrance hole is covered in a sturdy mesh that connects to and funnels the animal into a spring-loaded trap. This ensures the skunk’s capture, as the only way to leave the den is by going into the trap. If this is not possible, a trap can be baited with a fruit paste and set out near the entrance hole. Once the skunk steps into the trap to eat the bait, the door springs closed, and the animal is secured. Another type of trap available for this situation is called a Comstock trap. Very similar to the positive set trap, it is placed and secured directly over the entrance that the skunk has created. The key difference is that this trap remains open on both sides. The benefit of this type of trap is that it can catch a skunk entering or exiting the den. When kits are present, we will wait for them to become independent before trapping the mother. Therefore, during all of May and June, we try to avoid setting traps for skunks so as not to abandon young underneath inaccessible structures. Once a trap has been set, it must be checked at least once every 24 hours, and more often in severe weather conditions.

There are multiple types of spring-loaded traps available for skunks. Cage traps are simple wireframe boxes. Box traps and Z traps are solid plastic containers with small ventilation holes in the door. Though many people may prefer to use the box traps or Z traps to prevent getting sprayed in the face, these are considered inhumane. Both have insufficient ventilation holes, and on warm days, the traps can quickly overheat and give the animal inside a prolonged and painful death. Cage traps allow for unrestricted airflow, and its loosely fitted panels protect the animal from rain or snow. At Hawkeye, we only use cage traps, as the animal’s humane treatment is our top priority.

Once a skunk is trapped, it can either be released or euthanized. When a skunk is released, it must be done in a suitable habitat no more than 1 km away from the original trapping site. Keep in mind that the skunk will be placed into an entirely new environment where it will struggle to establish a new territory and find resources. The relocation of a trapped animal is considered inhumane for this reason. More often than not, however, the skunk will traverse the distance and find its way back to your property. Additionally, once an animal has been trapped and released, it becomes trap-smart and is much harder to catch in the future.

Alternatively, the animal can be humanely put down. Here, the animal’s permanent removal is ensured. Hawkeye is licensed as a fur-bearing animal trapper under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which means we are uniquely qualified to euthanize nuisance animals caught on your property. Further, we can harvest and sell the skunk’s hide to approved fur managers, so no animal goes to waste.

Skunk Exclusion

When a skunk has been excluded from its den by way of a one-way door or trapped and released, the area around the den must be reinforced. Otherwise, the skunk will simply find its way back to the den or dig another hole into the same place. While skunks may seem to lumber about in a clumsy fashion, they are voracious at tearing into areas to find a home or food. Preventing skunks from getting back under your deck, shed or other areas in your yard will require serious reinforcement. Hawkeye will achieve this by installing an underground fence that prevents the skunks from digging underneath the structure. The bottom half of a 2-foot tall length of galvanized steel wire fence is buried vertically around the structure’s perimeter. The top foot is folded outwards, on top of and horizontal to the ground, in an “L” shape. This completely prevents skunks from digging underneath the excluded structure.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I stop a skunk from spraying me?

Do not approach it. Leave the animal control to professionals.

Are skunks dangerous when living on my property?

Usually, skunks just smell bad. However, skunks can carry diseases and parasites that cause serious illness in humans and pets that can be transferred through direct contact or their feces.

Do I need a permit to get rid of skunks?

Only if you plan on euthanizing the skunk; otherwise, trapping and releasing fur-bearing animals on your property does not require a permit.

What time of year do skunks become a problem?

Skunks start looking for winter dens around mid-autumn, which they will use until they emerge in late February/early March. Breeding females will continue to use the den to raise their kits until mid-July.

Skunks are an irritating pest not only because they will dig in your garden and make dens in your shed but also because of their awful (but effective) defence system. If you have a skunk living on your property, Hawkeye has the tools to quickly, humanely, and permanently remove the animal.

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