Getting out and earning my stripes
THIS MORNING I WAS looking at trail camera photos I downloaded from the weekend. And it didn’t take long for me to see a very worrisome image of a fearsome beast that walked under my stand at last light. And, I’ll tell you, I just might change my hunting location because of it.
Look, except for that one time I was almost railroaded into watching The Bridges of Madison County, I don’t scare too easily. That’s because I realize that most animals are far more afraid of us than we are of them. And who can blame them? After all, our species invented such unnatural horrors as Say Yes to the Dress, Cake Boss and Keeping up with the Kardashians.
But the animal in question is different. They slip into the stand area silently and blend into the shadows with their mostly black coats. And while they would probably run if they saw you first, they don’t take kindly to being surprised when they detect a hunter, who is trying to remain silent, in close
So, yes, I am not a fan of skunks.
The truth of the matter is whenever a skunk and an outdoorsman are in the same vicinity, nothing good ever comes of it. Most times, when you walk away from an encounter like that, you can’t even make it through the backdoor without your spouse holding her nose and yelling, “Dear God! You can’t come into the house smelling like that!”
And, trust me; it’s even worse if the skunk has sprayed you.
Skunks really bother me. Mostly because they make me quickly realize that I have wasted $10 on a cover scent that camouflages my human odour and makes me smell just like acorns, when all I really had to do was jump out from behind a tree and yell “Boo!” just as the skunk was passing.
Do that once and you won’t have to buy cover scent for the entire season. Or perhaps even next season, if you live alone and work from home.
Aside from that, skunks present nothing but problems for the average outdoorsman. For one thing, they love bait piles and have very healthy appetites, so they cost you money. For another, no one wants 400 trail camera photos of a skunk in various poses – or any poses, frankly.
Perhaps that worst part of having a skunk become a regular at your deer stand is the fact that they are primarily nocturnal and you might find yourself trapped in a tree stand or a ground blind all night. Sure, you could try texting your spouse and asking her to walk into your stand in the dark to scare up the skunk that treed you, but only the strongest relationships survive this sort of thing.
The only other option is to call the fire department and try to remind them that they rescue kittens from trees all the time. Again, only the strongest relationships survive this sort of thing.
That’s why skunks are so problematic to the bow hunter.
It is for this reason, I believe, that every hunter ought to have a skunk emergency plan. Mine goes something like this: skunk shows up; I leave. Unless of course I am running out of that expensive cover scent, in which case I yell “Boo!” as I jump out from behind a tree.