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Hand To Gland Combat - The Unwanted Neighbor
By David L. Falconer

I woke one morning and as I walked into the living room I thought I smelled the faint smell of skunk. I had seen one or two in the yards at night here in the little town I live in so I figured one had sprayed outside my house when one of the loose neighborhood dogs jumped it. Wrong!

That evening after working at my stone business, we came home and it was a little stronger. I walked all the way around the house and there was no skunk smell, which meant, yep, the little son-of-a-skunk was under my house!

You never heard the likes of growling and cussing and gnashing of teeth, but once I got my wife calmed down I decided there was really no need for her to slide through the vent hole under the house and go hand-to-gland with this stinky rodent after all. (Hell, I can't fit in the vent hole and besides, Iím kinda scared of spiders.) I had an old Koni-bear trap in the storage building and some aluminum sheeting panels to funnel that little critter right into the waiting jaws of death!

My wife and I created the funnel necessary to bring the skunk out from the house and it looked pretty darn good! Then I found my trap. Hmmm. Seems I had forgot that the one I brought here from my grandparents was for beaver and about 3 times larger than what I would need for a skunk. With the jaws on it, you could easily catch a Rottweiller! I don't want a Rottweiller or any other dog harmed in my yard so we called a friend and asked him if he had any traps. He did. It was a live trap.

One problem with live traps though. Live trap equals live skunk and I can't shoot a .22 in town! Okay, I know they aren't loud, but the city police had threatened me with harsh punishments if I shoot another gun in the city limits! (Wasn't my fault that the best dove flight pattern was right over the top of my house and I did have a license.)

The trap had some bent wires that worked the trap doors and we had to repair them. Since the idea behind the funnel was to catch him coming or going from his new domicile, I did not see any sense in baiting it. Donnie decided that he did not bring over a can of sardines for nothing and he proceeded to open the can as we stood there beside the open vent and funnel.

Suddenly my eyes got watery and I couldn't breathe. I thought I might throw up or faint. Donnie ate half the can of those oily sardines with his fingers. That's right! He tested the bait on himself! While I held the flashlight, Donnie put the rest inside the trap and we left it in place.

I would like to note for everyone Donnie did not seem to be harmed by his sardine consumption. He went home and I went in the house.

Needless to say I put a lot of thought into what I was going to do if I had a skunk in that trap the next morning. Dreams of Pepe-LePew filled my nightmares and I almost got up twice in the middle of the night to see if I had been fortunate enough to entrap that stink spewing rodent with the enticement of half-eaten sardines.

Part of me thought what if he had not been under the house. Suppose he had been under the brush-pile I needed to burn and was right now traipsing around my yard waiting for someone unsuspecting to wander through in range of his stink gun?

I did not get up with the chickens, but I did rise before 9 AM. Despite the threats from our local law enforcement I decided it best to arm myself with a reliable rim-fire rifle before checking the trap. I loaded it with .22 short hollow-points and walked to the back yard.

The trap was empty and either Donnie had returned to finish off his snack or the skunk had dined on left-over sardines before making an escape that would have made Houdini proud! The door pointing toward the vent was closed solid, but the other door had failed to trip all the way, giving just enough space for a nose to lift it up. Anyway, the trap was empty and the fish was gone and there is no skunk within a million candle power spotlighted area under my house. (That spotlight was so bright I could see everything.)

I set the trap again, but did not put any sardines in it. How will this saga end? Iím not sure, but if I catch him, Iím sure hauling him off without being sprayed will be a story all to its own.

About The Author: David is an avid outdoorsmen who grew up in eastern Oklahoma. He has hunted, trapped and fished his entire life. David also has a love of writing and has written two novels, The Realm Of The Wolf and The Realm Of The Wolf 2: Law Of The Wolf. David and his wife Sheila live in northeast Texas only a couple of hours drive from his hometown and his ranch. He has a daughter that is attending college.

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