Book Review: Rob Erickson. Innovative Skunk Control. (DeKalb, Ill: R.J.E. Publications, 2005.) paperback pp. 1-79. $15.95
Cage-trapped skunk. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
This review was originally published Vantassel, S. (2005, May/June). Book Review: Innovative Skunk Control by Rob Erickson. DeKalb, IL, RJE Publications, 2005 1-79pp. The Probe, 3, 5. It has been edited slightly from that earlier posting.
For many years, Rob Erickson has been a leader in helping NWCOs broaden their wildlife control techniques. So it should come as little surprise that his latest book, Innovative Skunk Control, continues that proud tradition.
As the title suggests, Erickson doesn’t cover every aspect or technique of the skunk control business. He assumes that his readers are well aware of the basic principles of skunk handling. So he doesn’t bore them with information that they have received elsewhere. Erickson just wants to tell his readers about some methods he refined for handling skunks. In short, reading Innovative Skunk Control is how NWCOs around the country can get specialized skunk training from an industry leader without having to take time off for on-site training.
Written in a no-nonsense style, Erickson opens with some basic skunk biology that NWCOs need to know to resolve skunk problems. You won’t find any dry Life-history information here, just the facts relevant for nuisance work. Chapters 2-3 cover skunk problems typical for residential areas. Erickson describes control techniques using the William’s gravity door cage trap (a favorite cage trap of his) and touches on the use of footholds, snaring and gas cartridges. NWCOs would do well in following the simplicity of his equipment choices and avoid adopting newer models too quickly. Erickson’s equipment list has been refined by years of field experience. If wildlife laws in your state model those in Illinois, one would be well advised to consider mirroring his equipment choices.
To my mind, the most valuable portion of the book is found in the second half. It is well known that Rob Erickson has been a leading proponent of using an over-the-counter product, sold under the brand name ‘Nity-Nite’, for euthanizing skunks. He has perfected the technique and even developed a specialized injection tool to administer the fluid that reduces the chances of breaking needles. I think wildlife regulators should look into this technique and consider legalizing it in their respective states. With the number of skunk rabies on the rise and the public’s concern about odor-free removal, Erickson’s injection method provides a responsible and effective way for NWCOs to satisfy a variety of interest groups. It is time for regulators to be pro-active and at least give this technique a fair hearing.
In my opinion, Erickson’s description of how to control skunk and raccoon damage at golf courses is the most valuable portion of the book. With the explosion of golf courses around the country, NWCOs should read this book just to see how they might be able to service this lucrative market. I won’t describe his techniques except to say that not every safari takes place in Africa.
I have two criticism of the book. First, I would have liked to have seen more cautions included with the recommendation of gas cartridges for skunks. The photo was unfortunate because the label, as pictured, doesn’t list skunk as a target species from that angle. Erickson should have noted that users may need to have a pesticide applicators permit to use gas cartridges in their state. Additionally, warnings concerning the cartridge’s risk to non-targets should have been mentioned. I also think Erickson was ill advised to state that the gas kills the animals “painlessly” (p.19). Second, I wish Erickson wrote a longer book. I suspect that there are many more informational gems that he could share about the ins and outs of controlling skunks. But I guess we will all have to wait until his next book.
Innovative Skunk Control is a fast read. NWCOs should be able to finish it in about an hour. It is filled with good quality black and white photos. If you want to learn how to use lethal injection and control skunks (and raccoons) on golf courses, this is the book for you.
You can order the book from the publisher. Send check or money orders for $19.80 (15.95 + 3.85 shipping-continental U.S.) to On Target A.D.C. POB 480 Cortland, IL 60112. Visa and Mastercard orders can be phoned in to 815-286-3073. You can also learn more about Wildlife Control Technology by visiting their website http://www.wctech.com by e-mail email@example.com.
When I originally wrote this review, I had a longstanding relationship with Rob Erickson. I was a frequent contributor to his magazine, “Wildlife Control Technology” and was its assistant editor for two years. I also considered myself, his friend. Unfortunately, Rob no longer considers me his friend. Nevertheless, my review remains essentially unchanged.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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