Gut Rumbles

January 25, 2007

My advice? Leave it alone

Originally published June 23, 2006

This friend of mine has a serious dilemma on his hands. I don't fear many wild animals, especially not if I'm holding a loaded shotgun at the time, but Jim has found one of my exceptions to that rule in his yard.

Somewhere buried in my tangled archives is a post about MY Close Encounter of the Skunk Kind when I was camping on top of Blood Mountain with my partners Cop3 and Steve Hamby many years ago. I pitched my hammock between two good trees, put a plastic garbage back over my pack, and secured it up in one of the trees that my hammock was tied to. I hung the pack on a broken limb as high up the tree as I could reach.

I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of that garbage bag rattling (and not from any wind), then starting to tear. I heard that noise and figured that a hungry racoon was attempting to feed himself a midsnack on MY tab. I've seen those clever bastids to THAT kind of thievery more than once before.

I always slept with a flashlight in my sleepinbg bag with me, for just such occasions. I knew that it wasn't a bear I heard, because a bear would NOT have been that subtle. A bear would simply snatch the pack out of the tree, swipe me right out of my hammock to roll halfway down the mountain, and then rip my pack to shreds while stuffing his mouth with anything he could eat.

Naw. That wasn't a bear I heard. Probably a racoon. I just hoped that the thing was NOT rabid as I rolled over in my hammock, shined my flashlight at the intruder, and slapped my hand on the ground. "GEDDOUDAHERE!" I yelled, in my most fearsome, macho voice.

I almost screamed like a girl and pissed my pants next, as I quickly turned the flashlight off and pulled my sleeping bag quietly over my head, until I was fully cocooned. That was no racoon. That was a SKUNK!!!! A BIG, FAT, honking, wildcat-sized, whipe-striped, grinnin' bastid standing there on its hind legs looking like Pepe le Pew hisownself as it grabbed for my pack with its most terrible and frightening business end pointed right at meeeee!, less than two feet from my farookin' FACE!

I would MUCH rather have see a bear.

The damn thing gave up on my pack, but must have become curious about that trembling, gasping creature cowering in the sleeping bag, because it gave me a most thorough and terrifying examination. It hopped up on its back legs again, started pawing at the top of my sleeping bag and making loud SNUFFLING noises as it checked my scent. That skunk never new just how close it came to getting a blast of its own stink-medicine right then. I almost shit my pants.

The skunk did that paw-walk all the way down my body to the other end of the sleeping bag, dropped to all fours, walked UNDER my hammock and hopped back on its hid legs repeated the pawing, snuffling process back up the other side of me. I don't believe anything else so incredibly... uh... thrilling has EVER happened again in my life.

The skunk finally became bored with attempting to scare me to death and wandered down the slope to where Cop3 had gotten drunk on Scotch that night and left HIS pack just layin' on the ground. He turned on HIS flashlight once, too--- but made a sound kinda like a squeaky hinge on an old, wooden door and put that light out fast. The skunk cleaned him out. Ate EVERYTHING!!!

The next day, I investigated a Wilderness Shelter on top of the mountain and discovered a wire-bound notebook that campers had been making diary entries in for a little over a month. Almost EVERY ONE mentioned the skunk waddling through the front door and making itself at home while everybody in the room suffered massive heart attacks.

It was a female with a litter of at least TWO skunklets, because Mama took her young'uns inside the shelter with her on a couple of occasions. I'm glad I never saw THAT!

So, based on my vast experience with skunks, I'm gonna offer Jimbo this expert advice. DON'T FUCK WITH IT!!! If it wants to live under your shed, let it. In fact, if it wants to walk in your front door and raid your liquor cabinet--- LET IT!!!

It'll leave you alone if you leave it alone, and I think that's a damn good deal, especially for a lawyer, because I believe that you have to be related to such animals to pass a bar exam. But trapping it??? I don't think that's a good idea.

Not unless you can hire a got-dam fool to do it FOR you, while you go out of town for a few days...


Turned out that Rob's advice was exactly right. I sure miss the guy.


Posted by: Jim - PRS on January 25, 2007 07:51 PM
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