Wildlife enthusiasts will tell you that a skunk is one of the most difficult animals to trap. It is common in many areas for skunks to go out on the prowl at night seeking treats left by humans. Make sure to secure your trash bins especially when you know there is food dumped in them or you may have a mess on your hands the following morning.
But if you come face-to-face with a skunk, make sure never to attempt to pick it up, even if it appears injured. Sometimes a mother skunk is killed leaving babies to fend for themselves. In such a case as this you still should never go near them. Skunks, raccoons, and foxes are a few of the leading carriers of rabies. Skunks can also carry several other diseases like canine hepatitis, canine distemper, Q-fever, listeriosis, leptospirosis, and tularemia.
But you can attempt to capture them by using a live trap and baiting them with oily meats like sardines or canned tuna. Other common baits you can use that work well are fresh insect larvae such as may beetles. Also try: chicken entrails, cat food, crisp bacon, marshmallows, or bread with peanut butter. To increase your chances of trapping a skunk, leave a trail of bait leading out from the trap in order to help lure it in. It is considered good practice to anchor your trap with something heavy, preferably by placing a brick on top. This will keep it secure and prevent other stray animals from knocking the trap over.
But is it legal to trap skunks? The short answer is depends. Read further. Many states have a designated hunting season for skunks where they are considered a “game” species. You can look online or contact your local Game Warden to determine if there is a hunting season and when it’s legal to trap them. However, in certain states like Illinois, a property holder needs a NAR/Nuisance Animal Removal Permit to legally trap plus remove skunks and extra species of wildlife. Sometimes there needs to be proof of property damage or some level of threat to human health or safety before a property owner can obtain a permit for trapping them.
After you request a permit, a District Biologist can offer assistance and further supervision on suitable trapping techniques and even methods of relocation and disposal. Unfortunately, they are not permitted to trap the skunk for you. In the chance that you need assistance, or simply want someone else to do it, one option is to hire a NWCO//Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. By certain state laws, NWCOs are required to euthanize any skunk they trap. So keep this in mind if you decide to go this route.
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