View Full Version : We had a scary critter event yesterday...

Jan. 4, 2009, 02:47 PM
An apparently rabid skunk.

It was running up and down the road, chasing cars. I recieved a call from my elderly neighbor while I was at work. Nothing I can do, I'm 10 miles away and don't handle guns. I try to find other neighbors who do know how to handle and have guns, nobody is around.

Meanwhile, my 17 year old is out on the 4-wheeler and is chased home by the skunk. Skunk was doing his best to keep up with the 4-wheeler and is now on my front lawn. My son and husband, who is disabled, are hunkered down in the house. Fortunately, it's very cold out and all my kitties and the dogs are in the house.

This year my son took an interest in hunting and was taken under the wing of a hunting neighbor. Son took hunter safelty courses and got his first deer. It was a very clean kill, thank goodness and 2 weeks ago won a $1200 gun in a raffle. Other than that we have no firearms.

Skunk leaves my front yard and heads for the road, apparently in pursuit of more cars. My son takes his new shotgun, stands on the doorstep and blows the skunk away but not before the skunk leaves his stinky mark.

This was scary and my son will probably be off and away in another year or less. This makes me think I really need to learn about firearms and learn how to shoot. I'm talking to the hunting neighbor today and taking some lessons. I never in a million years thought I'd be handling a gun!

Have any of you ever been in such a situation?

Jan. 4, 2009, 04:49 PM
Scary! I would have called animal control which you might still need to do. I wouldn't want to handle it. Can rabies still be spread by it even though it is dead?

Jan. 4, 2009, 05:13 PM
With that situation, you really should report it.
Here, when we have a skunk or coon that are acting oddly, the game warden makes a report and in some cases, where we suspect rabies, they send the head in to the lab.
Since there is only money in the budget in our county for a few of them a year, they try not to send but those that are very clearly off.

For that, you have to shoot them in the body, as the head has to be intact for examination.

Rabies is a virus that lives only in warm animals, so if a carrier is dead and cold for long, it is not infective any more.
Why take any chances?
Let the experts handle those, police, sheriff, animal control, animal health commission employees, whoever is in charge there.

Evalee Hunter
Jan. 4, 2009, 05:14 PM
. . . . I wouldn't want to handle it. Can rabies still be spread by it even though it is dead?

I have been told, "Yes".

Jan. 4, 2009, 05:25 PM
I did report it though the sheriff's department who had a rep from the county health department call me.

I was told how to dispose of it(lots of Clorox). They were not interested in testing it which I found very strange as there was an article in the Saturday paper about a rabid cat found in a trailer park about 10 miles away.

Jan. 4, 2009, 06:37 PM
I would push to have it tested. Could have been some other disease, but you really want to know if it was rabies.

The spray can carry rabies, just so you know.

Grannie's Grey
Jan. 4, 2009, 09:03 PM
Around here Animal control and the police and DNR will not touch a wild animal. I had a very sick raccoon and then a mangy fox. Could not get any help, had to find someone to shoot them.

Our tax dollars at work.

Jan. 5, 2009, 08:55 AM
Holy Moly. That's scary. I'm glad your son was able to safely dispatch it. Can you imagine if some kids had been playing in their yard or something?

If you feel that owning a firearm may be appropriate, I'd suggest taking courses at your local gun range. Your game department may have a Women in the Outdoors program and I'm sure that even if you were not interested in their activities, they might be able to provide a referral. This will probably get me flamed but I think the NRA has safety courses but I don't know details. Maybe it's on their website.) You can become familiar with different types of firearms and then decide which one is right for you - if any.

You may decide you want nothing to do with them, but knowing how to safely load and unload and store one is pretty benign knowledge to have.

(I'm not intending to promote "guns" or hunting or any other political hot potato!!!!)

Rabies is a tremendous problem in my state, and it's on the increase. I don't blame you one bit for being worried.

Good luck.

Frank B
Jan. 5, 2009, 09:26 AM
If you're thinking of a rifle, consider the Marlin 917V bolt action (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/17HMRMagnum/917v.asp).

The cartridge is essentially a .22 Magnum necked down to take a .17 caliber bullet. It packs plenty of wallop for varmint control, yet lacks the recoil of the center-fire rifles and shotguns. The .17 HMR round has a very flat trajectory, making it suitable for a variety of distances.

The rifle has a heavy "bull" barrel and no sights. Instead, it comes with 'scope rails to accept an optical sight (gun-nut speak for 'scope). For not much money, it's a real "tack-driver". And yes, WalMart has it. It's a heck of a lot of fun for serious target shooting. It's overkill for simply "plinking" tin cans.

Gun safety courses are an excellent idea, especially the NRA-sanctioned (http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/basictraining.asp) ones. The NRA website or any sporting goods department or store can put you in touch with the proper people.

Incidentally, target shooting may be an activity your husband could participate in. Most gun clubs have at least one shooting position to accomodate disable persons (think war-wounded veterans.) It's great fun, he'd meet a lot of friendly, interesting people, and get some outdoor activity to boot.

Jan. 5, 2009, 10:11 AM
Yes, rabies can be passed by a dead animal - especially fresh kill. Whoever is disposing of the dead carcass should be double gloved. When I was in Germany in the Army, all hunters were immunized against rabies. There was no season on foxes as there was a high prevalance rate of rabies. Rabies is carried in the saliva and in nerve endings. All potentially rabid animals require very careful handling of the carcass to prevent infection.

Jan. 5, 2009, 02:34 PM
What Frank B said. Also I'd consider just getting a .22 rifle. I learned on one when I was 12 so it's hardly a large gun, but still big enough to be used for pest control (pests being raccoons, possums, etc.) The NRA has a lot of good programs, including ones specifically for women.

Calling AC after the fact is good but honestly, if it's like where I'm from they're way too far away to be effective as responders.

Double-glove, double-bag, LOTS of bleach....yes, eventually the virus dies without a live host but I wouldn't be waiting that long.

Frank B
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:09 AM
Incidentally, that rifle I mentioned is also available in .17 Mach2, .22, and .22 Magnum. They cost about the same because they're essentially the same machine, just different bores in the barrel.

The magnum rounds cost roughly twice that of the conventional rounds, which still isn't much.

If you're considering other brands/types, stick with the bolt action. As a rule, they're generally more accurate.