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The adventure with the skunk
Judi Tabler color mug

The unthinkable happened to us last week. It happened right after I wrote the article about our country life of catching and releasing animals that invade our premises. That article was tame, I assure you. I had another subject in mind for this week, but then, it happened.

I can’t believe it happened.

What is the greatest fear you have of a wild animal other than getting cornered by an alligator, or stepping on an angry, poisonous snake, coiled to strike? Well, actually, when I think about it, there are others in the animal kingdom that might compete for first place in my imagination. How about you?

However, one of my personal, most frightening animals is a skunk ... a lowly skunk. A “Pepe-LePeu” type-skunk.

Customarily, I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning looking out the window. But, our summer routine is different. I peek out the patio door to see what we have snagged. It’s rather like going fishing. What have we caught today?

Looking out. Oh no. The cage, which sits about 8-10 feet from the back door, is now a residence for a skunk. A frightening, black and white, tail down, unsuspicious at this point, skunk!

Fred! Had to tell him now. This minute. “We have a skunk in the cage!”

Now, what does one do? Well first, it’s Saturday morning, and we already had decided to go out for breakfast. We left by the front door to avoid it, and walked around the house to get to the car. As is the custom, a group of businessmen meet for breakfast at this restaurant. They will tell us what to do, won’t they? They are opinionated on a variety of subjects.

“Throw a blanket over the cage so the skunk can’t see you, and then you can carry the cage away. (To where?” I think).

Another adds, “the cage will hold the tail down so that he can’t squirt.” 

No. The cage is roomy, and Mr. Skunk, sure as sun rising in the east, can lift his tail. One small raised tail for mankind, one big squirt for Fred!

We return home, a cloud of doom looming over our heads. The plan. Fred will shoot him. He gets his double barrel 12 gauge shotgun, opens the sliding doors a crack, and bam bam. I can’t watch. I am so thankful for Fred.

Fortunately, the cats have the sense to get away from this potential olfactory crisis that is impending! The skunk is blown to smithereens. Icky. Blood, guts, and stink everywhere. Shut the door, shut the door!

What else could we do? How could we approach the cage? If it were a day skunk, he would have been carrying rabies. This fellow was a nocturnal wanderer, but he wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Fred dragged the cage (holding the pieces of skunk) further out in the grass. And soon loaded him in the truck. The stench was now everywhere in our house, garage, patio and it was wafting down the road to the neighbors. How can one little critter do that much damage? EUUUUUU!

It’s been a day and night. The smell is still in our nostrils.

Since this little adventure, many of our Facebook friends have offered advice; good advice. But mainly, they have reacted the way you are reacting as you read this. 

Oh, and John B? Thank you so much for the advice to not shoot a critter with a shot gun; use a rifle or a small handgun. You said, using a shotgun blows them up. Yup. Too late. Didn’t know. Oops.

And for the rest of you, you are glad its us and not you aren’t you?

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at or juditabler@awomansview.