Trapping skunks (Mephitis mephitis) cage or box traps is one of the easiest tasks a beginning trapper can accomplish as skunks are not known for being trap shy and are readily attracted to fatty baits. Of course, the challenge with skunks is not the trapping but the handling of the trap.
Before You Begin Trapping Skunks
- Check the wildlife laws in your area. Typically, state divisions of wildlife (where someone would purchase a hunting license) will be the governing authority on the trapping of skunks. You need to have the following questions answered:
- Is it legal to cage or box trap skunks? Colloquially this is known as live trapping. I don’t use the term live trap because it is not accurate because footholds are live traps.
- Is it legal to cage trap skunks at this time of year?
- How can the skunks be disposed of?
- Can it be killed? If so, what are the legal or recommended methods? You may be required to kill the skunk if it appears sick or injured.
- Can it be relocated (transport and release of skunk within its home-range (often a mile or two). What locations constitute a legal release site?
- Can it be translocated (transport and release of skunk outside its home-range (10 miles or more). What locations constitute a legal release site?
- Gather skunks trapping equipment. At minimum you should have:
- Protective gloves
- Fried chicken scraps (note house cats are attracted to this bait)
- 1/4-inch hardware cloth two-inches wider on all sides (except the trap entry) than the trap’s footprint (the part that sets on the ground. This screening is to protect the turf/soil beneath and around the trap from being dug up by the trapped skunk. If you use professional style traps with 1/2-inch by 1-inch mesh, this material can be skipped.
- Cage traps that are at least 7- x 7- x 24-inches in size (single door).
- Trap covers large enough to cover half the length of the trap on three sides and the rear. This cover gives the skunk a place to hide and you a blind spot to approach the trap without fear of being sprayed. Covers can be made of durable cloth (e.g. old bathroom towel, hardened cardboard, or even plywood.
- A large trap cover capable of covering the entire trap length and sides. This cover will be used to keep the trapped skunk in the dark before you pick up the trap to move it.
- You must have enough time each day to check the trap, preferably in the morning. Never set a trap unless you can check it. Checking means, every day, including holidays, when the weather is bad, when you don’t feel like it, etc.
- Ideally, close the door during daylight hours. This way you won’t catch animals during the day. But you will need to return at dusk to reset the trap so it is available to catch a nocturnal skunk.
Trapping skunks requires preparation in both your attitude and in equipment. But careful preparation will assist you when you do have the skunk in possession but that will have to wait till the next blog.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel) along with several books (https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com/store-2/). Listen to his podcast at PestGeek Podcast (https://pestgeekpodcast.com/). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. If you would like to have Stephen speak at your event or use his consultation services, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.