Monday, September 8, 2014

Summer of the Skunk


I set out last week to write this post, but realized that I hadn’t set the stage for it, much like Sarge posting about mowing the yard, when he’s really setting the stage for a posting on drinking Beer.  So last week, I posted on not growing grapes, but raising Cabernet and Merlot, and, to a lesser extent, living out in the Country in Flyover Country. 

Living outside City Limits imparts some freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility and a requirement to do it yourself because ain’t nobody gonna do it for you.

So,  There I was……* It’s Sunday morning in October, Mrs Juvat and I are returning to our house after Church and Brunch.  It’s fairly warmish, mid 80s or so.  Open the door to the house and get a whiff of something foul.  I think to myself, I’ve got to take out the trash, so march over, pull the bag and march out to the truck and take it to the dumpster.  Come back in the house, and Mrs Juvat is cloroxing the garbage can with no effect.  Walk into our closet to change clothes and the smell seems to be strongest there.  It’s a kind of a green onion, coffee and something cloying smell.  Skunk!   We do have doggie doors, so it is feasible the bastidge got in the house.  Do a fairly quick sweep, and can’t find him anywhere, so figure out that he’s probably under the house.  The wife has to be at work, so I’m on my own.

Our property has a fair drop from west to east, and the Eastern edge of the house is about 4’ off the ground.  The western edge is about a foot.  I call a friend who also happens to be a Texas Parks and Wildlife Officer and ask him if he’s got any tips on how to get a skunk out from under a house.  He mentions something about a can of Tuna and a string.  I ask him how I’ll know if the skunk is rabid.  He says he’ll either be very lethargic or very active.  Perfect!  I’ll be in very tight quarters with a charging skunk.  He then wishes me “good day.”  Yeah, right!

I plan my assault with great attention to details and put on my uniform.  Old Levis, Old Denim Shirt, Old Boots, Gimme Hat, Welder’s gloves, and top it off with an old swim mask.  To round out my outfit, I’ve got two 35 gallon garbage bags tucked into my back pocket and an old flat blade shovel. Open up the access door to get under the house and start working my way around inside.  Hope for a quick extraction with the skunk walking out as the door opens is quickly demolished and I start moving toward the smaller tighter quarters.  As I make my way over and around plumbing and electrical fixtures, I see a creature in the farthest corner of the house.  Find a small stone and pitch it at him, no reaction.  Ah well, it’s never easy.  Move within shovel distance, and give it a poke.  No reaction, it’s dead.

I get out the garbage bag and get it laid out.  Turn the shovel over, and the angle between the blade and handle is such that I can’t get the blade under the body because the handle is hitting the bottom of the house.  I’ve got to do this by hand.  I am cursing a blue streak by now.  Finally get the carcass into the bag tie it shut and start making my way out from under the house.  Took me 15 minutes to get into that corner, took me 3 minutes to get out.  Stomp around the front of the house and throw the bag into the back of the truck,  Stomp back around the back of the house take off all my clothes and throw them in the second garbage bag. 

Pause for a second here.  Anybody tells you anything about skunks and tomato juice, punch them in the nose!  The real solution is Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and some form of grease repelling dish detergent (such as Dawn).  So, I’m on the back deck with a foaming bucket of skunk smell removal stuff and am lathering myself furiously.  Finish that, put on some fresh clothes and take the carcass out  to the dumpster.  Call the wife at work and tell her that “Yes, there will be wine with dinner!


It’s now the following Saturday, and the sun is mostly up, when our 4 ship of ferocious canines decides to alert on something in the dog pen.  The wife gets up and goes out to see what’s going on.  I doze a bit and suddenly am aware of loud yelling.  Race out back in time to see my wife with a broom swatting something.  The dogs are all behind her providing vocal encouragement.  By the time I get out there, the skunk is slinking off somewhere.  Since skunks are nocturnal, I’m a bit concerned that this one might be rabid also, so check the dogs and the wife.  The dogs had been sprayed, the wife managed to avoid it.  Break out the Skunk smell removal kit and make our dogs a bit blonder.

I’m a bit concerned that this skunk will be back, so convince my wife to allow me to buy a pistol, a .22 revolver, made by JP Sauer and Sohn in West Germany.  I take it out into the stock pond which has no water in it (still!) and practice a bit knowing the showdown is coming.

It’s now almost sundown and I’m prepping dinner, when I look out the kitchen window and catch sight.  The skunk is huge! He’s walking down our rode towards our house like some gunslinger in an old western.  His skunk mullet is flowing in the breeze, and I swear, I could almost hear the kaching, kaching of spurs as he was walking.  The theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” is reverberating through my mind as I grab the pistol and walk out to meet my fate.

The wife and dogs remain behind, somewhat teary eyed.  I reassure them that I’ll be ok and the wife reassures me with a heartfelt, “You’re an idiot.”  Just like a Western!

I step out onto the front porch, and survey the yard.  Don’t see the skunk.  There’s a small stand of bushes to the left of the sidewalk and I think this is where he is.  I’m walking slowly down the sidewalk looking left.  Kaching! Kaching!  I see nothing.  Suddenly, I hear a frantic banging on the window behind me,  I spin to the right and see the skunk charging me from about 6 feet away.  I raise the pistol and fire off a round.  Skunk falls over dead! 

I am victorious. 

As I replay the scene, there appears to be a discrepancy in my memory.  I distinctly remember the Skunk charging me, but the site picture as I took the shot was of the skunk body being closer to me than the head.  HMMM!   

Walk back towards the house only to be met by my wife who hands me the mixings for another round of Skunk Smell Removal.


Over the next week or so, I ended up shooting a total of 10 skunks, making me a double ace, I believe.  Final tally was Juvat 10, skunks 2, dogs -5.  We cornered the market on Hydrogen Peroxide.

*What's the difference between a Fairy Tale and a War Story?  A Fairy Tale begins with "Once upon a time"  a War Story begins "So, There I was!"

14 comments:

  1. Great story. You had me ROFLing with your description of the great western skunk standoff.

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    1. The SOB strolled up our road like he owned the place. The outside Cats were bailing left and right to get out of his way. It's humorous now, but he was clearly in the aggressive stage of rabies, so not quite so funny at the time.

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    2. ...he was clearly in the aggressive stage of rabies...

      Not funny, indeed. Rabies shots HURT.

      Great post!

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    3. Not getting bitten was #2 on my priority list at the time. (Not shooting myself being #1.)

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  2. Brilliant!

    The image of a skunk charging will stay with me a long time. Hysterical.

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    1. Stayed with me a while also at least until the Hydrogen Peroxide took effect.

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    2. juvat, yer supposed to drink the beer, not h2o2! Funny story though. And a sea story starts;;"Now, this is no s#$t!"

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    3. By that time, Beer wasn't going to cut it. Whiskey, barkeep, Whiskey and keep it flowing!

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  3. In the rural part of Louisiana where my Mother-in-Law lives one sees "dead skunks in the middle of the road" (h/t Louden Wainwright*) all the time--it's tough to escape the odor as they're ever-present, because they fear nothing, so saunter across the road taking their own sweet time and thus become N#1 objects of road-kill.

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    1. Yeah, and after my crawl under the house adventure, I find that odor particularly loathsome.

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  4. Interesting 'body count' there... One wonders if they are looking for water or what???

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  5. We've been in a drought for five or six years , so, yeah, hydrophobia is a factor. The second one I shot was probably the mama and she was very lethargic. In the middle of the car port, surrounded by fuel and machinery. Had to do some cyphering on how that shot would occur. The rest were offspring. Not one of those easy decisions, but...Rabies...

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  6. Hehehehehehe..... Next time I get one here, I'll call you...or maybe not.

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    1. I'm not cheap, but I am easy. Will shoot skunks for a ride in an airplane. Crawling under houses however, may be more expensive.

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