The stink rises after dogs encounter skunksEach night before going to bed, we let our dogs out for the last time in our fenced backyard to take care of their doggy business.
Each night before going to bed, we let our dogs out for the last time in our fenced backyard to take care of their doggy business. Most nights the dogs return to the back door in a matter of minutes having accomplished their goal.
On this particular August night the dogs raced down the hill after what I assumed was a raccoon that had made its way over or under the fence to partake on some sunflower seeds from our ground bird feeder. We have a variety of animals that regularly visit the area under the pine trees at night.
Immediately following a single “yip” from Tyson, our yellow lab, all the dogs were back on the deck. From the pungent aroma that permeated the air, I understood what had transpired. Instead of a raiding raccoon, the dogs had intercepted a striped intruder.
Only Tyson had the telltale fragrance associated with a close encounter of the smelly kind, however. The skunk-like odor told me that Tyson had not gotten a full dose.
I can tell you for certain that a full hit produces a smell that is nothing like the aroma one associates with a road-kill skunk. A direct application from a skunk’s anal glands produces an intense sensation of nausea. It is a thousand times worse than what one experiences with a drive by “run over skunk encounter.”
Even a dog running through a grassy area where a skunk has “let loose” recently can apply a distinctive application of scent to its fur.
I had seen skunks in our backyard before. I have also seen the small impressions dug into our neighborhood yards by skunks dining on emerging June bug beetle larvae. During certain times of the year these larvae provide a good food source for these very opportunistic omnivores.
Years ago, I had a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Cocoa. He was a great hunting dog and wonderful family pet. One of his bad habits, however, was his intense love of skunks. At any opportunity he would seek one out and dispatch it.
More than once, while out pheasant hunting, he would tangle with one. After a direct facial hit, his eyes would swell shut and the stench that replaced his normal wet dog smell was horrific. It was then my job to get him home so that my mom could administer the universal tomato juice remedy. This treatment supposedly neutralized the smell.
Seeing him sitting in the backseat of my 1958 Chevy Bel Air, eyes swelled shut with a doggy grin on his face, and me driving down the road with my head out the window to maintain consciousness, must have been quite a sight. Thinking back, he may have had the skunk encounters just to be able to lick off the tomato juice as he sure seemed to enjoy that part of the procedure.
While on the subject of dogs, an interesting canine feeding experience took place a couple of days ago.
Normally, we feed our dogs in the afternoon, just before we eat supper. The dogs know what time it is and will let us know if we prolong their meal time. They truly have a biological clock when it comes to food. When the weather is nice, we will provide their food to them on our deck so that they can have a “picnic,” as we like to call it. For them it is a very exciting time of the day.
On this particular day, Xena, our Lab/Weimaraner mix, got her food at the regular time on the deck along with Tyson. Xena is a real food monger and will eat just about anything that remotely resembles nourishment. She is a “good eater!” Each dog also has its own dish, which it consider its personal property, and each eats on a particular part of the deck.
I set the full dishes on the deck in their appropriate place and returned to the kitchen only to see Xena sitting in the middle of the yard and her still full food dish on the deck. I have never seen her retreat from a food dish without it being emptied. After much coaxing and having to put her food into another dish, she instantly emptied her bowl consuming it in the kitchen.
The next day I repeated the feeding procedure but this time stayed on the deck to watch. As I put Xena’s dish down in the appropriate spot, I noticed she shied away from it. I then noticed a wasp fly out from a covered electrical plug-in box that is situated a foot or so from where her food dish sat. She immediately ran off the deck.
Looking back on the incident, Xena must have started her regular feeding routine and was interrupted by the wasp which probably stung her. She now associates the food dish with the pain and, in her dog brain, will not eat out of that item because of that unpleasant experience.
I dispatched the wasp and removed the nest. Xena still will not eat out of her old dish, however. She now requires a new one that has no resemblance to the one that she associates with her dilemma. Dogs sure are interesting animals!
Warden Paul’s Corner
Early Goose Season
With fall right around the corner, many people are ready to go afield in pursuit of game. The early Canada goose season starts Sept. 1 and goes through Sept. 15. The daily bag limit is five geese with a possession limit of 10 geese. Only approved non-toxic shot may be used. All shotguns must have a plug so the shotgun cannot hold more than three shells (including the chamber). Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. When a goose is harvested and before it is carried by hand or transported in any manner, the hunter shall validate the permit by slitting or punching holes in the permit accordingly.
To participate in the early goose season, all hunters must possess with them in the field a valid small game, sports or conservation patron license. All hunters must possess a current early September Canada goose hunting permit. All hunters must be HIP registered each year (no charge and acquired when purchasing a license). Persons 16 years old and older must also purchase a state and federal waterfowl stamp to hunt geese during the early season. First time Wisconsin Hunter Education Course graduates may use their hunter safety card in place of a small game license and state waterfowl stamp (if 16 or older the hunter would still need to purchase a federal waterfowl stamp). Persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have a hunter education certification to purchase any hunting license. Persons 12 and 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian while hunting. Persons younger than 12 cannot hunt nor purchase a hunting license. All hunters must possess these requirements when hunting and the federal waterfowl stamp must be signed in ink across the face of the stamp by the license holder.
For additional regulations, read the Wisconsin Early September Canada Goose Hunting regulations.
For any questions or to report a violation, call Conservation Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120.