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The Outdoor Journal: Skunks and Spring

We will conclude the three part series on otters next week. We need to take time out this week for a timely announcement. The skunk mating season will commence this week, so plan accordingly. If you have a hole under a step or back porch that you have been meaning to plug up, better do it this week. You don’t want amorous skunks bumping around under your house or barn if you can prevent it.

How do we know that this week is the week? Each spring about Valentines day, striped skunks come out of their winter dens. The forecast looks decent this week, so by the time you read this, it will be underway.

You will know when the skunks urge to roam and find mates has begun when you begin to see the unfortunate, distracted victims along the edge of the highway. Actually, you may not even see Mr. skunk, but you can’t miss smelling the unmistakable odor released by the deceased fur-bearer.

Skunks eat large numbers of mice and rats as well as moles,shrews,ground squirrels, young rabbits, and chipmunks. During different times of the year, they will also eat lizards, salamanders,frogs, earthworms, crayfish, clams, minnows and turtle eggs, plus fruit of many kinds, some grasses, leaves, buds, roots, nuts, grain and even fungi are eaten on occasion.

The trapping of skunks has almost become non existent in recent years. Skunk pelts reached their peak value in 1979 when the were worth $3.45. The white part of the skunk pelt is trimmed out and sewn back together leaving the black fur to be used for coat collars and other fur products. Skunk “essence” is still valuable and is sometimes extracted and sold by trappers and purchased by the ounce by buyers for use in perfumes and trapping lures.

If you think it has been a long winter, cheer up. The first of the “signs of spring” will be be out there, along the side of the road for all of us to see, and smell,probably this week.

We will conclude the three part series on otters next week. We need to take time out this week for a timely announcement. The skunk mating season will commence this week, so plan accordingly.

collecting skunk essence

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Post by sthet on Aug 15, 2011 21:38:53 GMT -5

I started to collect the essence from the nuisance skunks I’ve been catching. My friend Night Owl showed me the proper methods for removal. The first one I tried was in my side yard. I live in a house with four apartments. The guy that lives in the apartment opposite of mine freaked out from the smell as I was removing it from the skunk. He called the land lord who also wasn’t very fond of the smell. I don’t mind it and didn’t think it was all that bad. I figured I could hide the fact that I was still going to remove the essence by putting all the skunks in my freezer and removing it all at once when I had a bunch saved up. That was a bad move as the smell came through the freezer and filled the cellar and my apartment. I still didn’t think it was that noticeable but my girl friend did. I removed the skunks and buried them and the smell went away.

Does anyone have a way that I could still collect and store skunk essence that wouldn’t offend the neighbors or could I keep it at your house?

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Post by frankd on Aug 16, 2011 4:32:20 GMT -5

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Post by adksasquatch on Aug 16, 2011 14:17:05 GMT -5

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Post by bigriver on Aug 16, 2011 15:32:19 GMT -5

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Post by milkie62 on Aug 16, 2011 17:24:44 GMT -5

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Post by bobsamuelson on Aug 16, 2011 21:23:33 GMT -5

Scott, welcome to the “Collector of Essence” Association!

When I collect the essence, I do it different than most. After dispatching the skunk, I remove the glands (yes there are 2). I then trim any remaining tissue from around the nipple of the gland. I then place the nipple into the mouth of a bottle and gently squeeze, squirting the yellow/orange liquid into the bottle. I squeeze a little bit more to get the “mustard” out of the gland. This is really the good stuff as it contains most of the odor.
For storage, I have a 3 inch pvc pipe with a flat bottom cap on one end and a threaded cap with the clean-out cap on the other end. All told, this only stands about 6 to 7 inches tall. I place the bottle, I use 1 ounce lure bottles, into the pvc and will pack paper or some other fill to keep the bottle from moving during handling. You can now bury in your back yard & no one will know where it is! I have 2 pvc “safety containers” that are inside a plastic tub with a snap on lid. They sit out side my garage. You can smell it if you are in the area, but for the most part, there is very little odor!
Hope this helps!

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Post by sthet on Aug 16, 2011 22:58:09 GMT -5

Bob I will try the safety container idea and maybe go a little overboard on that concept. I guess That I’ve paid my dues to the C.O.E.A. but haven’t received my magazine yet.

Milkie I grew up in a small town that had three marinas. I had many fine summer girl friends until trapping season came around. They never came back. My wife couldn’t stand the fact I was a trapper. I gave her everything I owned and left so I could trap in peace. This one likes to go out trapping with me she puts up with all that goes with it and doesn’t complain much. There are trade offs to everything.

collecting skunk essence « Prev 1 Next » Post by sthet on Aug 15, 2011 21:38:53 GMT -5 I started to collect the essence from the nuisance skunks I’ve been catching. My