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We’ve All Met a Skunk

We’ve All Met a Skunk

We’ve All Met a Skunk

STORY BY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY

We’ve All Met a Skunk

STORY BY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY
‘‘

If you are an upland hunter and do not  have a skunk story, please consider buying a lottery ticket immediately. We’ve all met one in the fields or forests, a time or two, and some encounters are certainly worse than others.

Skunks can ruin an afternoon’s hunt and force both hunter and dog to seek the nearest lake or stream for cleaning. Instead of chasing some type of fowl afield, you must resort to scouring a scent so foul that it is almost impossible to describe with these words.

Andrew Bogan, in his article “Hunting the Hashknife” in the Aug/Sept issue of Covey Rise, describes a periled encounter of his own with his bird dog while on a Valley quail hunt in Oregon last fall. Here is an excerpt:

At the very first rose thicket, Tacktor (author’s pudelpointer) snapped into a quick point, then burst forward and belly crawled under the brush to flush the quail. I yelled below for the rest of the hunters to ready their guns for a covey rise as I moved in close behind the excited dog, but unexpectedly no birds flew out. My confusion was then resolved by the shocking image of my pudelpointer proudly emerging from the opposite side of the rose thicket with a dead skunk hanging from his jaws. Luckily, he heeded my command to “drop” and left the fetid skunk on the ground at my feet. While no skunk encounter in the field ever goes well, this one could have been far worse. Had Tacktor not dispatched that skunk before it sprayed, he and I both would have been covered in that sulfurous stench from head to toe.

We kept hunting the hillside for quail, but every time Tacktor quartered across the wind, I got a nose full of skunk from 20 yards away. I could close my eyes and point right at him with my finger whenever I was downwind—amazing, and disgusting, all at once.

We figured out that the main covey had moved far back behind the barn into thicker vegetation after two days of hunting pressure. Once we crossed the fence and ventured behind the barn, the points started again, and now it was hard-flying birds with dry wing feathers, so we got into some terrific shooting. The first bird I flushed went flying straight up the hill toward thicker juniper cover, but Mark dropped it before it got there with a single report from his shotgun. The bird fell out of sight behind a huge rose bush. Then the entire covey fled, and a dozen more birds went the opposite way, tearing down toward the horse pasture below us, down behind the old barn. One of those fell, too, this time to an excellent shot from Clay.

We knew roughly where the tiny little birds had gone down, but nobody had seen either one actually hit the ground, and the scattered blue-gray rocks, each about the size of a Valley quail, made the search by sight all but impossible. We did eventually find one bird by sheer luck, and as we were feeling somewhat defeated, having almost given up, Tacktor came up from behind us with the missing quail in his mouth. “Good dog!” I exclaimed, receiving it from him while carefully avoiding his reeking face with my favorite pair of bison leather hunting gloves.

To read the full story, subscribe and get the August-September 2019 issue.

WHEN your next skunk encounter happens on a hunt—because it will happen, we promise—it is crucial to be prepared. Below, please find a recipe and process to deal with this notorious smell, which seems simple, but it can save you precious time afield:

INGREDIENTS

1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (Use of other strengths is not recommended)

¼ cup baking soda or sodium bicarbonate (Do not use washing soda, which is much stronger and could burn your dog’s skin)

1 to 2 teaspoons liquid detergent (Softsoap or Ivory is preferred)

EQUIPMENT

Bucket

Rags

Rubber gloves

Clean water (if available) or access to water.

Consider carrying a skunk kit that includes all of the ingredients and equipment listed above on all of your hunts.

PROCESS

DO NOT premix ingredients. After skunk encounter, in bucket, mix all ingredients. Use rubber gloves and rags to thoroughly wash dog with mixture. Leave mixture on dog for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off dog with clean water.

Skunks can ruin an afternoon’s hunt and force both hunter and dog to seek the nearest lake or stream for cleaning. Instead of chasing some type of fowl afield, you must resort to scouring a scent so foul that it is almost impossible to describe with these words.

We’ve All Met a Skunk This article is published in the issue.
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We’ve All Met a Skunk

If you are an upland hunter and do not  have a skunk story, please consider buying a lottery ticket immediately. We’ve all met one in the fields or forests, a time or two, and some encounters are certainly worse than others.

Skunks can ruin an afternoon’s hunt and force both hunter and dog to seek the nearest lake or stream for cleaning. Instead of chasing some type of fowl afield, you must resort to scouring a scent so foul that it is almost impossible to describe with these words.

Andrew Bogan, in his article “Hunting the Hashknife” in the Aug/Sept issue of Covey Rise, describes a periled encounter of his own with his bird dog while on a Valley quail hunt in Oregon last fall. Here is an excerpt:

At the very first rose thicket, Tacktor (author’s pudelpointer) snapped into a quick point, then burst forward and belly crawled under the brush to flush the quail. I yelled below for the rest of the hunters to ready their guns for a covey rise as I moved in close behind the excited dog, but unexpectedly no birds flew out. My confusion was then resolved by the shocking image of my pudelpointer proudly emerging from the opposite side of the rose thicket with a dead skunk hanging from his jaws. Luckily, he heeded my command to “drop” and left the fetid skunk on the ground at my feet. While no skunk encounter in the field ever goes well, this one could have been far worse. Had Tacktor not dispatched that skunk before it sprayed, he and I both would have been covered in that sulfurous stench from head to toe.

We kept hunting the hillside for quail, but every time Tacktor quartered across the wind, I got a nose full of skunk from 20 yards away. I could close my eyes and point right at him with my finger whenever I was downwind—amazing, and disgusting, all at once.

We figured out that the main covey had moved far back behind the barn into thicker vegetation after two days of hunting pressure. Once we crossed the fence and ventured behind the barn, the points started again, and now it was hard-flying birds with dry wing feathers, so we got into some terrific shooting. The first bird I flushed went flying straight up the hill toward thicker juniper cover, but Mark dropped it before it got there with a single report from his shotgun. The bird fell out of sight behind a huge rose bush. Then the entire covey fled, and a dozen more birds went the opposite way, tearing down toward the horse pasture below us, down behind the old barn. One of those fell, too, this time to an excellent shot from Clay.

We knew roughly where the tiny little birds had gone down, but nobody had seen either one actually hit the ground, and the scattered blue-gray rocks, each about the size of a Valley quail, made the search by sight all but impossible. We did eventually find one bird by sheer luck, and as we were feeling somewhat defeated, having almost given up, Tacktor came up from behind us with the missing quail in his mouth. “Good dog!” I exclaimed, receiving it from him while carefully avoiding his reeking face with my favorite pair of bison leather hunting gloves.

To read the full story, subscribe and get the August-September 2019 issue.

WHEN your next skunk encounter happens on a hunt—because it will happen, we promise—it is crucial to be prepared. Below, please find a recipe and process to deal with this notorious smell, which seems simple, but it can save you precious time afield:

INGREDIENTS

1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (Use of other strengths is not recommended)

¼ cup baking soda or sodium bicarbonate (Do not use washing soda, which is much stronger and could burn your dog’s skin)

1 to 2 teaspoons liquid detergent (Softsoap or Ivory is preferred)

EQUIPMENT

Bucket

Rags

Rubber gloves

Clean water (if available) or access to water.

Consider carrying a skunk kit that includes all of the ingredients and equipment listed above on all of your hunts.

PROCESS

DO NOT premix ingredients. After skunk encounter, in bucket, mix all ingredients. Use rubber gloves and rags to thoroughly wash dog with mixture. Leave mixture on dog for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off dog with clean water.

Skunks can ruin an afternoon’s hunt and force both hunter and dog to seek the nearest lake or stream for cleaning. Instead of chasing some type of fowl afield, you must resort to scouring a scent so foul that it is almost impossible to describe with these words.

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