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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Well, don't that stink!

I'd mentioned that I suspect there are skunks living around my house (even though I live in the center of a city of 50,000). Well, a few days later, I got proof.

I'd set this big live-trap I have, hoping to catch a raccoon -- if my house ever burns down, it will be because some damned raccoon has shorted out some electrical wiring. And, for instance, the wired-in fire alarm system is already pretty much useless because they've chewed its wiring.

Imagine my surprise one morning when (expecting the trap was still empty, since the raccoons are pretty adept at taking the bait without springing the trap) I opened the basement door ... to be greated by a skunk!

What to do! How does one deal at close range with an animal (even if it is trapped and thus cannot bite one?) which employs chemical warfare?

[If Gentle Reader can deal with the ignorance and vituperation, here are some interesting comments and moral assertions about my character, made by folk who tend to deny actual morality ... this link being the reason I've classified this post under "liberalism" and "morality." And, for instance, one of the at least civil suggestions was that I drown the animal. Let's see, my issue was how to get near the animal, and the suggestion was to chuck cage and all into water to drown it because that would be more humane than just letting it slowly die.]

In the end, I used a friend's gun to shoot the skunk. So, I'm technically a criminal, since it's illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits. Also, I'm guilty of the crime of "public indecency," as I'd removed all my clothes (except for goggles to protect my eyes) before I opened the basement door.

As I said, I shot the skunk, and from within three feet ... I was right down there at ground level. I saw it spasm, so I was sure I'd hit it with at least one of the two shots I took. Then, within minutes, the entire house was enveloped with skunk stench, at an almost unbearable level, and the stench was strong for hours; at times, I could still smell it the next day. The area around the basement door stank for days.

I'd shot it first thing in the morning, and I knew I'd hit it (and from within very close range). So, (once again) imagine my surprise when I went down that afternoon to dispose of the carcass and found that the animal was still alive! Now, on the one hand, the gun is a .22 caliber, so the bullets are small; but on the other hand, this was a small animal, no bigger than a half-grown cat.

So, I put four bullets into it, fired in quick succession. I've fired this gun before, and I fully expected it to jam (which was another component of my initial conundrum), but for once it worked properly.


MathewK said...

Stank the whole house up! Bloody hell, i'll be sure to remember that if a skunk ever comes my way.

Ilíon said...

Keep in mind, the skunk was on the ground at the basement door (the back side of the basement is at ground level), so in relation to the skunk, the bedrooms were two floors higher.

If a skunk ever comes your way, you'll want to stay well clear of it, 'cause you certainly don't want to get *hit* by the spray.

cathy said...

Ilion, I'm sorry -- that must have been pretty awful, finding the beasty hadn't died right away. I realize this was ages ago, but I know you wouldn't take that lightly.

Ilíon said...

This evening, driving to the grocery store, I had to slow down for a small animal crossing the road. It was whitish and kind of waddling, so at first I thought it was an opossum. But it was a skunk! It was mostly white with some black on its spine. It wasn't quite the total opposite in color of a normal skunk, since the black wasn't a stripe. But, it was close.

cathy said...

I had heard there were variations in the coloring -- I don't know whether there's any difference in stinkiosity!