I was walking my dog this morning when I noticed a neighbor of mine acting peculiar. She was wearing full rain gear. Maybe she's cold, I thought.
Belle and I turned around down at the cemetery after she did her business and headed back. My neighbor was standing next to the road, slipping her cell phone into the pocket of her ridiculous getup.
"Do you know how to get a skunk out of a trap without it spraying?" she asked.
"I don't know. Shoot it?"
"My husband said he'd shoot it when he got home. I want to let it loose before then."
I thought for a moment and shrugged my shoulders. "Let's see that trap," I said.
My neighbor explained situation as we walked. "Squirrels have been getting into our chicken feed for weeks so my husband got the bright idea of putting a trap out. So far, we've gotten two squirrels and this skunk."
She led me through a yard littered with children's toys and pine needles. Sure it enough, it was the kind of live trap I was familiar with, the same one I tried to catch a flying squirrel with that crawled down my dryer vent. Long story.
The skunk's face was toward the mouth of the trap. At least we had that going for us. Remembering my Mythbusters, I got down to brass tacks. "How many times has it sprayed? It might be out of juice."
"None, that I know of," she said.
My neighbor had a fireplace poker and a golf club nearby. "Do you want to push down the latch or pull up the plate?" I asked.
"I'll pull," she said.
I secured Belle's leash to a tree well away from danger. No sense in both of us getting sprayed if this went south. I turned the poker around and pushed the latch down. My neighbor hooked the plate and started pulling.
"Wait," I said. "The skunk is probably scared and won't come out. I'm going to find something to wedge the trap open so we don't have to stand here all day."
"... okay," she said.
I broke a stick in half and looked at the trap, feeling like we were trying to defuse a bomb.
"Okay. I'll push the latch down, you pull, and I'll shove this under the plate."
"Then what?" she asked.
"We run like hell," I said.
"Sounds good," she said.
I'm proud to say the operation went off without a hitch. After a cooling off period and a lot of dogs barking, the skunk was last seen waddling off into the woods, ready to terrorize chickens another day. I received a dozen of the morning's eggs for my troubles.