"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Skunk Trapping

 Here's what we woke to on Saturday morning.
We've had traps set to catch whatever it was that killed all 48 of our week-old chickens. We had caught and dealt with three racoons and one 'possum so far. The skunks were a whole new experience.

Since we'd never dealt with this before and it was just us girls at home, we called our pastor, who has been a Yukon wilderness fishing guide in a previous life, and asked him what we should do.

He said we should sneak up on them, quietly talking to them like we would cajol our kitties and cover them with an old blanket which would discourage them from spraying. Turns out they really don't like to spray and will mostly avoid doing so. So Sweetie and Precious got brave enough to be the sneaker-uppers and they got them covered safely. (Yes, they were still in their sleepwear.)

They then grabbed the handles of the cages and carried them across the 225 yards (or so) of hayfield to a corner of our swamp, giggling and heart palpitating all the way. We made it safely there and wondered how we were going to retrieve the live traps after we'd tossed them into the swamp. Fortunately, we were right beside Precious's hunting stand tree whereon was tied some nylon clothesline. So Sweetie tied a six foot or so length of that to a bar of the trap, holding her breath all the time since she had to lift a corner of the blanket.

Then she whipped off the blanket and tossed the trap/cage into a deep part of the swamp all in one fluid and very quick motion. I held the end of the rope. We left it in there (not looking at it much so we wouldn't feel too cruel at the drowning) for ten minutes and then I pulled it out. Not a delightful sight, but you do what you have to do.

As Precious picked up the cage to prepare to open it and dump the carcass in the swamp, she thought it started moving, but thought maybe that was just the cage getting bumped. As she looked closer, she was sure she saw it breathing. She dropped the cage excitedly and started to run off, leaving me standing right beside the reviving skunk, shrieking, "Help me! Don't leave me here with it!" since I was kind of stuck in the grasses with the rope end in my hand, not knowing how to open the trap to dump the beast.

Fortunately, Sweetie had presence of mind to come get the cage and dump the skunk into the swamp. She then tossed a small log over it to help keep it down.

The second, smaller skunk was easier to deal with because we were now experts, having studied in the school of hard knocks. We left the trap in the swamp five minutes longer and were confident of its demise.

During all this, Princess had climbed up into the hunting stand/seat in the nearby tree and was shouting the play-by-play to Roo and Peanut who weren't allowed too close. We all marched triumphantly back up to our breakfast amidst much excitement and giggles.

Beware chicken thieves!

1 comment:

  1. oh my, glad it wasn't me having to do that! Foxes are the ones that get our chickens mostly in Australia. Lots of people go fox hunting, but I could never kill an animal... not a chicken or even a mouse.. I can however pluck a chicken if someone else has chopped the head off first :)


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