Courage in the Face of Skunks: How to Catch a Skunk

I read a post on here a few weeks ago about a person who had a skunk in their trap and needed help. I wanted to share my recent experience about how to catch a skunk too…with the help of the Havahart® Feral Cat Rescue Kit.

First of all, I must admit, skunks scare me. When I was a kid someone told me that skunk spray can blind a person. This is actually true although the effects are temporary. Still. The thought of smelling like a skunk for a week or two is not my idea of a good time. (If it happens, take a bath in ketchup.) Second, I have never had a problem with skunks at my house. I am very, vigilant about trash and never store garbage any place animals can get to it. My neighbor, just down the road, however, is less careful. When he came over to our house and told us about a mother skunk and her 4 little babies who had taken up residence under his porch I had to roll my eyes a bit.

I said, “Oh, back by where the garbage cans are?”

He said, “Don’t give me that look?”

I said, “What look?” and at that point I do believe I rolled my eyes.

I Needed Expert Advice for How to Catch a Skunk

Well. Somehow my attitude got me signed up for Skunk Capture duty, but I didn’t know how to catch skunks. This “duty” took place at night, as skunks are nocturnal. I had, as is my way, called up the Havahart company and asked for instructions for how to catch a skunk. They recommended the feral cat trap, as the size is about the same and the cover is darn handy.

How to Catch a Skunk with a Havahart Trap

So there we were, my friend, his 10 year old son and me. In the moonlight, watching for skunks. Now any skunk that saw us, or in fact any human being that saw us, would have been scared because we were dressed in an odd and eccentric fashion. We had raincoats on with plastic trash bags on our legs and arms and a paper bag over our heads with holes cut out. If we saw a skunk we were to duck down so the spray wouldn’t hit us in the cut out eyes. We looked like big lumps of left-over Halloween costumes about to learn how to trap a skunk.

Knowing How to Catch Skunks with “Skunky” Bait

The trap was set out with sardines (stinky to catch stinky). We placed the bait just beyond the trigger plate to make sure that the skunk would step on it so the doors would close. The mama skunk came out and we didn’t see what happened as we were shielding our eyes in the paper bags but after a while we heard the snap of the trap.

I did not go to release the skunk into the wild blue yonder but my friend followed orders and went with a covered cage (that comes with the trap), wore his raincoat and paperbag, carried the trap very low and slow, waited until the skunk was quiet and then released it and froze like a statue of a crazed skunk releaser.. And that is how you trap a skunk!

Image: jeeked

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  • Mr. Bill

    I am curious as to how you transported the skunk to the release zone? I have a pickup, but not sure if I should use the utility trailer. Certainly can’t use my wife’s Grand Cherokee.

    • 12:52 pm - July 8, 2010

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  • Mr. Bill

    Just don’t want to set the skunk off from bouncing in the back of a pickup….

    • 12:53 pm - July 8, 2010

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  • Deborah Bremer


    Thanks for commenting!

    It was just an old pickup truck and we put a tarp over the top and tied it down!

    Good luck! Deb

    • 9:57 am - July 13, 2010

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  • Sharon

    Just wanted to say ‘thank you’…Deborah Bremer, from Vermont for sharing your skunk story. Without question, one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. Hilarious!( AND informative!)

    • 1:36 am - September 3, 2012

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  • SJ

    just discovered (the hard way, of course) that a skunk has set up residence under out house in the country. omGOSH what a stink!!! we got a trap at the local feed store and set it out with dog food for bail (will use sardines next try). our armadillo raided the trap and dragged it 10 feet (he’s huge and a bit of a nuisance as well but at least he doesn’t stink). last night we tied the trap in place. no skunk, though.

    • 12:09 am - October 13, 2012

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  • Bill

    I’ve caught around 20 in my trap through the years. I hate skunks. I use peanut butter and dry cat food, works everytime. Usually they won’t spray if they can’t get their tail up in the trap, but, there is one once in a while that can…. If you drop the trap in water, you don’t smell and you don’t worry about the skunk coming “home” from wherever you turn him loose at… 🙂

    • 9:28 pm - October 15, 2012

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  • Ann

    We have a skunk in a suburban environment, possibly living under my neighbor’s house, and the skunk has sprayed in their yard. They have domesticated rabbits in an outside cage and I feed a feral cat (we caught her and spayed her) outside, so I’m sure we’re feeding it. Is there any way that is not cruel to the skunk? I guess we could use the same safe trap we used for the feral cat, but what to do then? OK, talking to myself now! Will have to get my brother’s truck and drive it out to his semi-rural area. Will skunkie make it 30 miles of mostly freeway? If I can get it out to his house, there are some wide open spaces – acres and acres. Am aware that skunks can carry rabies – advice appreciated.

    • 10:39 pm - March 28, 2013

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  • maria

    I have skunks under the back porch. Had them last year too. They ran right over my feet running back to their hideout. I screamed and braced myself for the spray that , thankfully never came. I love possums and raccoons, but I am scared of skunks. Loved the story about covering with bags. Great idea. I am hoping that they will notspray my cats.

    • 5:32 am - April 11, 2013

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  • Kody Loveless

    Thaks for the information. I have had a skunk coming into my yard and keeps spraying my dogs. I really need to catch the stinker. I do not want to hurt it just catch it and remove it from my yard. I think I will get my pest control guy to come set some traps. I do not want to have to dress like a crazy person and wait all night. I think I could get a pro to handle it for me.

    • 2:49 pm - July 13, 2016

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    • kait

      Be careful, most times when you get professionals to catch them for you the skunk doesn’t end up getting released ever again…at least in my area that is the way it goes with all wildlife caught. They are all caught and then dispatched, or they tell you how to catch them and “humanely” kill it. We have three baby skunks and three adults, all traps are being set this weekend and hopefully I get the majority of them since the neighbours are resorting to using shovels.

      • 1:22 am - September 17, 2016

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