© 2010 Aaron Atkinson

Even the Best Laid Plans

A half dozen Ontario deer hunters emerged from the station wagon for their annual week at deer camp and they were immediately overcome by the unmistakably ripe aroma of skunk. The stench of the under-the-cabin-resident certainly wouldn’t do. And while the first reaction of “just shoot the bugger” was met with initial approval, it didn’t take long to realize that this would leave camp drenched in skunk spray. Yes, the skunk would have to go, but it would have to go without the opportunity to fumigate.

A variety of skunk extermination strategies became quite the fodder for conversation. After much debate, a suitable elimination plan was agreed upon.

That evening our enterprising woodsman build the following trap….

They found a flat piece of ground, close enough to their cabin to lure out Pepe la Pew. In that location, they placed a sheet of plywood atop four coffee cans arranged in a square. This would be the Killing Ground. Directly in the middle of their KG, they used scraps of food and meat as bait. As a signal of their quarry’s arrival, they tied empty pop cans to fishing line and affixed these alarm bells around the outside of their coffee can posts.

It would work as such…

Lured from the safety of his den under the cabin by the inviting aroma of waiting table scraps, Mr. Skunk would proceed to crawl underneath the horizontal sheet of plywood so that he might indulge in the culinary delights set forth. While bellying up to the dinner table he would jingle the cans, alterting our hunters of the arrival of their unsuspecting quarry. Upon being summoned by the jingle, one hunter would shine a flashlight on the skunk while a second would shoot the skunk with his deer rifle. Thanks to the sheet of plywood overhead, said skunk would be unable to lift his tail, a known prerequisite to spraying.

That evening at dinner there came an unmiskable tinny jingle from the yard. Ever so quietly, steel forks clinked against china and chairs skidded on the dusty wooden floor. A rifle round was gently chambered, and with a flick, the camp flashlight shone to life. When the beam of light illuminated the shaded space under the trap, a beady pair of yellow eyes glowed back. Wasting no time, our gunner let loose his round.

The mortally wounded skunk shuttered, and in it’s final act, laid on it’s side, lifted it’s tail and let loose one, last, potent spray.

That year, the deer hunting stunk.

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