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Old 06-28-05, 05:54 PM   #1
stokell
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I've done a couple of short tours recently in Southern Ontario. One around Paris, the second near Port Hope.

I stealth camp using a Hennessy hammock so I am suspended less than a metre from the ground. Both times I was awoken around 4:00 in the morning by the smell of skunk. To our European, African and Australiasian members, a skunk is a small mammal, black in colour with a white stripe up the centre of its body. It is quite timid but is capable of projecting a musky smelling fluid which is quite offensive. You can smell the skunk if you are within close proximity. They usually only spray when challenged.

The question to my North American members is this:
Is there anyway of making your camp site less attractive to skunks? If one is nearby what are the best practises?
http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/animals/skunk.html

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Old 06-28-05, 07:02 PM   #2
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Skunks love garbage, table leftovers and all kind of food in general... The only way I know to avoid trouble with them is the same most of us use to avoid problems with bears and racoons... put your food and garbage away from your tent/hammock and suspended in a tree.

Otherwise, I never heard of anyone getting sprayed by these cute animals... only dogs.
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Old 06-28-05, 08:08 PM   #3
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I almost ran one over on a MUP once. I was cycling along on my way home from work, going about 20mph when a skunk starts trotting across the trail. About the only knowledge I have of skunks is that their spray smells very bad and it comes from their butts. So I was very concerned when the skunk heard me jamming on my breaks and shouting "CRAP!!" and turned around with it's tail in the air. I was goin to fast to stop outside of stink-spray range so I had to just keep going. Lucky for me it was only turning around to go back into the tall grass where it came from. I count myself as being lucky. I guess if you run across one try to shoo it away, but if it turns around and points it's butt at you RUN!

Sorry I don't have any real knowledge or advice stokell, but seeing that picture reminded me of that incident.
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Old 06-28-05, 09:46 PM   #4
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Skunks are virtually blind, not being able to see much beyond 15 feet which is also the limit of their spray. Before they spray they will usually stamp their feet, raise their tail, and make sounds like a very mad cat.

I was able to trap 1 that was living under my garage. I thought we were all in trouble when my cat decided to investigate the caged animal, but the skunk never sprayed. I picked up the cage (placing a piece of cardboard between the skunk and I just in case) and released it in the back yard.

I see them walking down the road occasionally (during the day this can be a sign of rabies since they are nocturnal). They don't seem to be too scared of anything.
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Old 06-28-05, 10:07 PM   #5
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Make friends with a squirrel?
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Old 06-29-05, 10:33 AM   #6
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Ditto what was said before me. Also the fact that you were awaken by the skunk smell dies not indicate that the skunk was close by. If a skunk sprays, you can smell it quite a ways off. It does not take much skunk scent to wake you up. I have been woken up at night in my house because a skunk let one go somewhere off in the woods.
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Old 07-11-05, 12:40 PM   #7
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Just an update on skunks. As stated before, they rarely spray humans. One expert told me that because the spray orfice is near the anis, you are in trouble if the skunk turns so you can see both its head and tail. Also I am told, although tomato juice seems to be the traditional way of cleaning up, vinegar and water seems to work quite as well.
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Old 07-11-05, 12:57 PM   #8
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Anyone seen Mythbusters?
They tried to get "skunked" but the ones they got refused to spray!
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Old 07-11-05, 01:23 PM   #9
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A lesser know fact about skunks is that they are weasels, hense why weasels stink as well. That also means that they prefer meat and are excelent mousers. Of cource they like garbage too. You got lucky to see that many skunks. I've seen one and its rear end while hiking... That'll scare you. I thought the first skunk I ever saw was a cat at first... Luckily it did not want to get petted.
Since we are on the topic of usless knowledge of skunks... Does anybody know the only preditor of skunks (asside from cars)?
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Old 07-11-05, 01:40 PM   #10
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"Ahh, the sweet smell of skunk..." -Edward Abbey

At a distance, I don't think the smell is that bad. It brings back good memories of times spent where I would rather be right now. I wouldn't wear it out on a date or anything, I'm just saying I've smelled far worse things. As far as avoiding skunks, I don't have anything to contribute. If you get sprayed, just look on the bright side, at least it wasn't a bear/mountain lion(skunks don't eat people), or a rattler/scorpion(skunks aren't poisonous). Also people probably wouldn't notice your BO anymore.
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Old 07-11-05, 01:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkmartin
I was able to trap 1 that was living under my garage. I thought we were all in trouble when my cat decided to investigate the caged animal, but the skunk never sprayed. I picked up the cage (placing a piece of cardboard between the skunk and I just in case) and released it in the back yard.

I see them walking down the road occasionally (during the day this can be a sign of rabies since they are nocturnal). They don't seem to be too scared of anything.
When I was a young kid, I saved my chore money and bought a Hav-A-Hart live-catch trap (we lived in a rural area). I was excited about catching a young raccoon, baby crow, etc., that I would then train to be my buddy and pet extrordinaire.

I baited the trap with some barbequed chicken and could hardly wait until the next morning to check it. The first night, I caught the neighbor's cat. The second night, I caught a skunk.

It turns out the skunk was pretty friendly and I was able to approach the trap and feed it all kinds of stuff from the 'fridge (it LOVED hard-boiled eggs). I talked my dad into buying a big wire cage so I could keep "Sweet Pea," my new pet.

My folks contacted the local vet to see if we could get it de-scented and learned it was against the law to keep wildlife as pets. Then, by some coincidence, there was a big article about rabies in the newspaper the next day. Skunks were high up on the list of rabies carriers. Mom said the skunk had to go, immediately.

When I opened the cage, Sweet Pea wandered around the yard a bit, probably not too anxious to leave the supply of good chow I was providing. Eventually he/she ambled off into the woods and never stopped back by to say hello.

Good riding,
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Old 07-11-05, 02:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncscott
Since we are on the topic of usless knowledge of skunks... Does anybody know the only preditor of skunks (asside from cars)?
IIRC, it's the Great Horned Owl (which has no sense of smell).
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